Posted by: ginalazenby | September 27, 2009

great leadership tips – from balloons……

the balloon was a great visual metaphor in Dave Ellis's talk

I’ve only been in San Francisco a few days and I find myself at the annual Global Gathering of Pachamama Alliance. Around the world in many cities over the weekend facilitators of the Awaken the Dreamer, Change the Dream Symposium are gathering. I’m in Oakland and I’m delighted to hear Leadership coach Dave Ellis. He particularly supports leaders in non-profits and helps make them more powerful; he’s worked with people like Lynne Twist and Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus.  What he has to say today is so what I need to hear as I start my 6-week journey here in California taking time out from normal life in England. Yes, I am filling myself up and San Francisco is my service station.

  • He says “Fill yourself up before you give yourself away”.  And he uses a balloon to aptly demonstrate the actions of taking in and letting out.
  • You can’t give yourself away if you are deflated like a shriveled balloon.  And next time you fill yourself up, fill yourself up more than the last time.
  • Then don’t give away so much that you actually get to the shriveled point. Stop before you are exhausted.
  • If you do this in cycles your capacity to be of service and give just gets bigger and bigger. Note that if you only fill yourself up without giving away any of the capacity you have taken in then you simply get dizzy!   You will also eventually reach breaking point and of course our metaphor balloon will burst.
  • Dave suggests you practice this cycle of filling up and giving away so that you get to the point where you are naturally and constantly giving to others. Fill up by making sure your needs are met. Mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually. It’s as simple as that.  Our souls need this elasticity to happier and busier.  Check out Dave’s downloadable books and his website with great short tips on video.

Make a clear plan for how to fill yourself up then another clear plan for how you will give yourself away.  Do you have plan for how you are filling yourself up?

sharing a joke with Dave Ellis



  1. Just looking at your blog and really liked the balloon metaphor,
    which is similar to the spiritual Warrior in the Book of Runes; (commentary by Ralph Blum)
    the rune Ansuz …” to experience the inexhaustable wellspring of the Divine in your nature,
    you are reminded that you must draw first from the well to nourish & give yourself,

    then there will be more than enough to nourish others”

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