Dont’ Forget To Fill Both Gas Tanks

Gas tanks are wonderful things. They hold the fuel we need to drive our cars to the places we need to be.

Your car probably has one gas tank. Did you know that you have two gas tanks you have to watch the gas gauge for?

It’s true. In a recent interview Nick Vujicic mentioned this principle.

I really liked this idea and wanted to share it with you. It’s an area leaders really need to be cognizant of.

Your First Gas Tank

The first tank you need to be aware of is one you use to feed your followers.

This one is used to give of ourselves to those that we serve. We’re pouring our time and energy into giving them the information and leadership they deserve.

It’s spending time one on one with individual team members. Encouraging them. Mentoring and giving growth.

It’s an important gas tank, that’s for sure. But it’s not the most important.

Your Second Gas Tank

Our second gas tank is the most important, yet often neglected gas tank. We’re often running on empty and don’t even realize it.

Gas tank number two is the gas tank you fill for your family and yourself.

You’ve got to be pouring into your own life and your family’s life. Sharing and guiding them in the direction they need to go.

In much the same way as you fill your followers tanks, you fill your family and yourself.

You meditate on good books. You share experiences with your family. You take time away and rest. You exercise and take care of your health.

This refills your tank and keeps you going strong.

Now, can you see why this is so important?

The Takeaway

Much like your Attitude Indicator, you’ve got to be intentional and watch the level of fuel you have in each tank. If you let your tanks get too low, there’s trouble.

Remember, your followers are important. They’re looking to you for guidance and direction.

But they’re not going to be helped if you’re tank is empty. Keep both tanks filled and you’re on your way to being a great leader.

Question: Have you ever let one of your two tanks become empty? What happened? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Good post, Joe.  I tend to catch myself when I let either tank get a title too empty.  It’s all about balance.  This is an act I’ve improved at the older I get.

    • That’s great Dan. Catching yourself early enough allows you to make the course corrections needed. How do you decide when one or the other tank is getting a little too empty?

  • DS

    No one is too strong or too big to fail.  It takes discipline and consistency to be relied upon resource.  If our goal really is to help others, we absolutely have to help ourselves first.

    • Exactly DS. If we’re not watching where we’re going and how we’re doing, we can’t ensure the safety of others.

  • I think it’s easy to let either tank go empty when we don’t build margin into our lives and into our schedules.  This is definitely something I need to work on as I tend to call all out from 4:30AM until 10:45PM.

    • You’re right Jon. Margin is important. Without it, we’re struggling against the current.

  • I’ve been guilty of letting one or the other run out from time to time. The key is to wake up and refocus. I like the analogy Joe. 

    • We all have Kimanzi. It’s recognizing it and moving forward that has to be the key to overcoming this trap. How do you refocus in the mornings?

  • Nice post Joe – Personally I think the second tank needs filling first. When your tank is filled  you have much clearer focus and energy to expand it in other areas. It’s like a domino effect…when you are empty it moves to every other area of your life.

    • I believe you’re right Cindy. The second tank is usually filled once the first tank is full and overflowing. How do you keep your first tank full?

      • Two things I really enjoy are hiking and reading. There is something very energizing about being out in nature; the smells, sounds, just an overall good feeling. I also enjoy reading. Every evening before retiring for the night I read for awhile. It helps to relax my mind and body.

  • Joe,

    It’s so essential we make sure our personal “gas tank” is full. It’s only then that we can really pour onto others.

    The book I’m writing is essentially talking about the different ways a leader can fill themselves. It first start with self-leadership. Great post and topic!

    • So true Dan. It’s about filling the cup to overflowing and letting it pour into that second tank.

      I’m excited to hear about the new book. Sounds like it’ll be a must read!

  • David

    Not being a “leader”, I can’t speak much about the 2nd tank. But the 1st tank definitely needs to stay well above the 1/2 empty mark. So that is my challenge. And since I’m running near empty so often I’m grateful I only have the 1st tank to worry about, else I’d crash and burn for sure …..

    • Sorry to hear you’re running low in fuel. Keep in mind the level of the tank and ensure you’re filling it on a consistent basis. Is there anything I can help you with in that regard?

    • David,

      If your filling a gas tank then your a leader.  You are influencing someone I promise you!  I also encourage you to take time for yourself and refuel.  Remember, you must take care of yourself before you can take care of others.

      • David

        Thank you, TJ, for the encouragement. I realized when I reread Joe’s post that I had the 1st & 2nd tanks mixed up but you got the point. I don’t have the “leader” tank outside my home to worry about, but I am still a husband & father and that is what I was referring to when I mentioned running near empty. It is demanding and sometimes it feels like a steep uphill climb in the desert with no water, but we press on …..

  • When you dont fill the 2nd take you burnout.  

    I have spent the last three weeks writing about Burnout on my blog.  Check it out and give me some feedback if you get a chance.

    • David

      First, TJ – a sincere THANK YOU for your service! And God bless you and your family for your sacrifice.

      I just read you post about the journey from burnout, I’ll be going back and checking out some more posts. I think I am in a season of burnout and I need to refuel. I’ve kind of begun shifting gears here in 2013 and am realizing that I do need some time of refreshing. We’ll see where it goes …

    • Exactly TJ!

      I’ll check in at your site later today. I’ve really enjoyed reading your writing, it’s good stuff.