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Be a Bucket Filler – Grow your Positivity

We all have an invisible bucket that can either be filled or emptied.

Positive experiences fill our bucket: spending time with our loved ones, doing things we enjoy, celebrating a success – to name a few. When our day has more positive experiences, we are happy and satisfied.

On the other hand, negative experiences empty our bucket. Maybe your kids are being defiant. Or you’re not seeing progress at work. Perhaps, you’re overwhelmed by a never-ending list of things to do. With negative experiences, we feel downhearted, anxious, and uneasy.

If you had a choice which bucket would you rather have? Full or Empty?

Be a Bucket Filler

Are you aware that your interaction with others can also fill or empty your bucket? Tom Rath and Donald Clifton introduced ‘the theory of the dipper and the bucket’ in the book, How Full is Your Bucket.

Similar to invisible buckets, you also have invisible dippers. You can use the dipper to fill other people’s buckets through positive conversations. Compliments, appreciation, letting your loved ones know they matter are some of the ways you can elevate their positive emotions.

You know what the beauty of gratitude for another means?   Experiencing a rush of positive emotions in yourself.  As you fill other people’s buckets, you fill your own at the same time.

Guess what happens when you exhibit negativity? When you’re unkind, condescending, and unappreciative towards another, the dipper now dips and empties another person’s bucket. And while you’re draining positive emotions from other people, you’re also draining yours. You end up with a dark cloud over your head, feeling grumpy and resentful.

One main reason people leave their job is that “They don’t feel appreciated”.  Less appreciation equals less productivity.  In fact, studies show lost productivity equated to cost the U.S. economy billions of dollars per year.  The good news is you can turn this around by injecting positivity into not only in your personal life, but also in your professional life.  The survey revealed that –

“9 out of 10 people say they are more productive when they are around positive people”.

Two Strategies to be a better Bucket Filler

Let me share with you two of the five strategies I learned from How Full is your Bucket to practice, so you can fill the buckets of people you’re surrounded by –

1. Shine a Light on What Is Right

Strive to recognize the strengths of people with whom you interact every day. Affirm and appreciate their behavior and work.

When I notice my kids playing together nicely, I let them know how much I appreciate that they’re being kind to each other and how much fun they’re having.

In coaching sessions, I ask my clients to identify their strengths as they work through challenging goals. I celebrate their wins, no matter how big or small, as they take steps towards their desired health outcomes.

2. Give Unexpectedly 

Think about the last time you got an unexpected gift. How did you feel? When you’re not expecting a gift, more than likely, you receive it with more appreciation and even excitement. And when you give generously without expecting anything in return, it can also be uplifting.

I love the example shown in the book, handing out ‘drops’ of appreciation to a person who deserves it. It’s a simple thing to do but can truly make someone’s day! Make sure your notes of appreciation are specific and personal.

Bucket Filler

Grow your Positivity

Being a bucket filler gives you an edge to experience more positivity in your life. Barbara Frederickson, who did a 25-year study on positive emotions, calculated a 3-to-1 ratio of positive to negative emotions, generated happiness and healthy behaviors. Positivity enables people to flourish, be open to change, and have the resources to change and grow.

Wellness Coaching is the perfect avenue to bring more positivity in your life as you embark on your wellness journey!  As your Wellness Coach, I come alongside you to explore and amplify your strengths to move you forward and close the gap where you are today and where you desire to be with your health and wellness.  I’d like to invite you to schedule a Healthy Lifestyle Discovery Session let’s get to know each other in this  free 30-min session.  – With much gratitude, Elaine




  1. I love the idea of writing notes as a special way to say you noticed something positive.

  2. I think this is something I really needed to hear right now. Going to write notes for my kids right now!

  3. I love the idea of being a bucket filler this week!

  4. My daughter will sometimes tell me when things at school fill her bucket. It’s such a sweet visual for anyone to work on bringing more positivity to others.

  5. I think this is a very powerful post. These are such wonderful idea’s and truths. I’m a recovering pessimist and have been working on growing my positivity as you put it!

  6. I love the positivity in this post. I need to do more to make others happy!

  7. I think one reason why I can cope with stress at work is because we pull together, take time to be nice, and express our appreciation for each other!

  8. This is great. I try very hard to fill when I can. I feel like I haven’t been able to do as much lately, because of my injury, but I’m trying.

    1. Thanks Jenn. I understand because you’re injured it’s difficult to fill yourself with positive emotions. As you said, the best you can do is try 🙂

  9. I really like that term. I try to give positive encouragement to my friends and family often. Now to work on myself!

    1. I hear you – easy to give encouragement to others but sometimes we’re tough on ourselves!

  10. I love the term “bucket filler”. Something my co-workers and I try to do is give a shot-out to a different team member every time we have a team call. We’re a relatively small team (7 people) so a little thing like that makes a big difference.

    1. A shout-out can make a difference! Good to hear it’s something you do at your workplace.

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