Gifts From Empty Cups

You are never helpless even when all you can do is receive.

You can:

  1. See good in others.
  2. Appeciate being served.
  3. Respect those who serve you.
  4. Honor behaviours that demonstrate noble values.

When you can’t do big things, it’s the small things that count. When you can’t do anything, you can say something. You can see the good and say the good.


There’s pain, discouragement, and negativity in every hospital. Alongside darkness, you’ll find hope, progress, and healing. Healthcare professionals dance with darkness and light. It’s agonizing and joyful every day.

I watched them come to “work” like most do. But somewhere between their first cup of coffee and seeing me, they embraced their “calling” to serve. It’s a selfless, breathtaking transformation.


We ate breakfast together in Physical Therapy (PT) – in a meeting room with an attached kitchen. I watched PT and Occupational Therapists make eggs to order, even though food services had provided breakfast. Were they thanked for this extraordinary service? Not very often. Sometimes, discouraged patients complained. Still they went the extra mile.

I saw them grumbled at and puked on. I saw one brain-damaged patient push a therapist against the wall. Immediately several staff rushed to their aid.


I told the staff they were remarkable. I thanked them as they served me. I am an empty cup. But, honoring people for their service lifted them.

Attention, appreciation, and respect are all empty cups can offer.


  1. Feeling powerless is a decision.
  2. Power is perception. You won’t matter until you believe you matter.
  3. Affirm more. It’s likely you could affirm more and correct less.

What if you pretended you were an empty cup? How might it impact what you see and say, today?


Don’t miss a single issue of Leadership Freak, subscribe todayIt’s free.  It’s private.  It’s always practical and brief.

Go to the main page of Leadership Freak by clicking the banner at the top of this page, look in the right-hand navigation bar, enter your email and click subscribe.  Your email address is always kept private.  Note:  if it doesn’t arrive, check your spam filter for a confirmation email.