Running on Empty

Are there times when you feel as if you are running on empty? Operating in automatic, tasks are done but they have become so routine that there is no longer fulfillment at there completion.

Work no longer offers the challenges it once did; it's a drag to get yourself there every day. In fact even the things outside of work that were once pleasures are becoming burdensome.

It's time to ask when did you last take time for a refill?

Running on empty damages the vehicle and is unnecessary, if there is a regular four-point maintenance check:

1.TUNING-SELF AWARENESS - To reach your full potential you need insight into yourself and this can occur in different ways.

Firstly, how aware are you of your strengths and weakness? When was the last time you did a ten-point check? Identifying the five areas of strength that make you an excellent product and the three areas of weakness that distract from your resale value.

Evaluate the feedback you receive from others both through the formal performance appraisal system and the informal comments from other team members or clients. What is consistent between your self-analysis and the feedback of others? What are the development strategies that can overcome the gaps, is it experience or training?

Being able to recall your five assets instantly can assist when you are lobbying for a new project or role for they are your unique selling points.

Secondly, various personality or temperament profiles are tools that complement the picture by helping you understand your style, its effect on others and preferred environment. For example is your strength in the area of feelings, but not facts and figures and while you can balance the budget, to do that type of work month after month becomes very draining and this impacts others areas of your life. The Myers Briggs Type Indicator is one that with an experienced facilitator will provide helpful personality and operating style insight.

2.SERVICING-CAREER INVESTMENT- What has been your recent career investment?

The changing world of work means that you are responsible to investment for your future employability. A key investment area is ones profession, being aware of current trends, seek variety in your learning style, reading the journal/magazine, conference attendance, networking, searching the net, move beyond your old groove and try the adventure of a little off road driving. Remember that learning is a continuous process not a one-off event.

3. IDLING-BALANCE - Those who break away come back enhanced, those who stick with it burn out.

Check that there is balance in other areas of your life e.g. family, spiritual, lifestyle, and take time out to have fun and reflect on God's creation. Consider scheduling into your calendar, breaks that provide nourishment in different areas of your life for instance in the space of a year, commit yourself to three days with family, friends and by yourself and God, all of whom will provide different inputs and it still leaves space for the relatives and painting the house.

4. DESTINATION-CAREER DIRECTION - Every two years or at a time of major change either job or family related, time should be taken to reconsider ones career direction.

It could be that your feeling of running on empty is caused by a lack of challenge in your current role, and you need to be considering your next destination and the route you will take to get there. In the plan identify whether it is training i.e. a computer coarse, tertiary study or experience i.e. leading the project team, writing the reports that is required. Discuss with your boss or if inappropriate seek a career coach with whom you can discuss the route, and who will support you through the rough terrain, suggest manoeuvers for the flat and cheer your success.

As if in your car manual circle what areas have you serviced in the last three, six or twelve months?

  • Self awareness
  • Career investment
  • Balance
  • Career direction

    It would seem that those areas that are uncircled are in need of urgent maintenance, which should be scheduled immediately. If one area is out of balance, other points can suffer wear and tear from trying to compensate for the additional load.

    Our careers require regular maintenance in all four areas to be effective and allow fulfilling lives.

    - Merilyn Hill

    For further information, contact Merilyn on (03) 9563 9975 or email


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