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(Updated April 17 with Reader Guide & Video Part II covering chapters 4 – Epilogue.)

Hi book club friends!

Watch the video kick-off for the second half (chapters 4 – epilogue) of How Full is Your Bucket? below! Also, don’t forget to download your Reader Guide Part II – share your thoughts in the comments section below!

Here’s the video kick-off for How Full is Your Bucket? chapters 1 – 3:


Here is your book club checklist:

1) Watch my two-minute video (above) for an intro to book club and our first book!

2) If you haven’t yet: order your copy of How Full is Your Bucket? today.

3) Download the Rising Above Reader Guide Part I and Reader Guide Part II.

4) Read through the end of chapter three by April 15, posting all of your thoughts, insights questions in the comments below!

On April 15, I’ll post a second video sharing everyone’s insights form the first half of the book, the reader guide for the second half of the book, etc.

Happy Reading!

In the comments below, please share your thoughts, questions and insights while you read this book (also share ideas on how to m

ake book club even better)!

0 replies on “April Book Club Discussion”

Sweet Karen! Thank you for your kind words and for all that you do! Let us know how it feels when you give the letters to your friends – then our buckets can be filled too! Enjoy it. J

This is the response I received from the colleague who had written the note to me over 12 years ago: “Hi Karen! The book arrived from St. Louis and was a wonderful and most welcome surprise. I am looking forward to reading it, but your note has already filled my bucket to overflowing. I can’t believe you saved that note for all these years and love that you are now returning it.
Any senior management role is often thankless. your note is a great reminder that little things do make a difference; I will endeavor to do more in the future.
Thanks again. You really made my day!”

Received this response today–made my week!! John, can’t wait to about the presentation you are giving with your mom.

Karen, thank you so much for sharing this experience with us! AND most importantly: for taking your opportunity to fill others’ buckets seriously. Thank you for all you do. Look for this post on my Facebook page later this week 🙂 J

I just finished this book. I have three letters that I want to write to fill the buckets of others. One letter will include a copy of a letter (I want to keep the original.) written to me by a colleague 12 years ago!! More than a decade has passed and it still fills my bucket. I plan to include a copy of this book and while I’m at it I’m buying a copy for myself since I checked mine out from the library! Then, I can share, share, share! Can’t wait! Thanks for all you and Abby do.

Great book John, enjoyed it in conjunction with the THI work I’m doing as well. This book has given me a positive mantra for when I’m not present in my daily life. That mantra is to remember how much positivity is gained from being kind to others. Can’t wait til May for the next book…

Russ, great to hear your are able to tie your Tom Hill Institute work with the book club read – I love when things naturally work together like that. I’ll post May’s book tomorrow or Thursday – so check back in on the blog, Facebook or in the newsletter. Enjoy your day and thanks for all you do, brother! J

I recently had a mentor of mine review a project that I was working on. After going over it for a few days he sent me an email that was very positive of my work and also encouraged me to keep pursuing my project. Talk about ‘bucket filling!’ See my friends we have many opportunities to do the same thing everday. Raise the Praise!!! I like what Mark Twain once said, “I can live for two months on a good compliment.” How true…have a great weekend!

I am enjoying reading this book and have shared some of the ideas with co-workers. I have used many of the concepts within my own family. Some of my family members are negative and never see the positive. They are quick to see the fault in others and seldom find a compliment for those around them. I have found that I try to fill their buckets but they tend to fill my bucket with negative thoughts. When I find my bucket getting low in supply I find other people with positive thoughts and dip into their buckets – might even have to put a lid on my bucket when I am around the negative family members.
My husband has PTSD so I am constantly filling his bucket with lots of positive thoughts as he is my love for over 30 years. When I am overwhelmed with his health problems I find my bucket getting low – this book has helped me replenish my bucket and find reading time for myself – which I desperately needed.
Keep the good book reading coming my way – I love to share smiles and laughter with others. John’s words of wisdom each month has helped tremendously. Keep up the good work.

I’m glad everyone is enjoying the book! Isn’t it easy to get caught up in the negativity of our world? It’s all around us and unfortunately it has become who we are as a society. I challenge everyone to not give in to this way of thinking. Believe that you can make a difference. Keep shining the light on what is right!!!

Keep shining that light! Keep filling those buckets! I love it, Jeff. And hopefully, our little book club can keep having conversations here, and then bring those conversations into their work places, homes and neighborhoods and before you know it…we kind start a movement. Igniting possibility and changing our worlds simply through filling buckets. Thanks again for your recommendation on the book. Great choice.

John, I just wanted to say thank you for posting a reminder on Facebook (which is News Central for me) to participate in the book club discussion! I tore into the book and read it in two nights without ever downloading the reader guide. When all else fails, read the directions, huh?

Regarding small ways to show gratitude, I can personally vouch for the effectiveness of cards — little handwritten notes. I can’t tell you how many times over the years employees have commented on how good it made them feel to receive a simple note of gratitude. One employee who had worked for me for years told me once, “I want you to know I’ve kept every card you’ve ever written to me because they meant that much.”

One employee loooooved ice cream. So, I put a $10 gift card to her favorite ice cream shop on her desk with “thanks for your consistently good attitude” written on a post-it note. She told me, “I called my husband and said ‘Honey, guess what? We’re having ice cream for supper tonight!’ You made us so happy!” It’s making me laugh just remembering it.

Hi Mary! Thank YOU for connecting with me on Facebook! I am guilty of not always following the directions either – but you are in luck, you can still download the reader guides and dig in now even though you’ve already read the book. Feel free to post a question you’d like to get other community members’ thoughts on. And how neat that she kept each of those cards you gave – sometimes we don’t realize the deep impact of each of our actions… Have a beautiful night!

Colleen, I love that this book is making you realize you are already a natural bucket filler! I hope it gives you energy to keep filling those buckets with your smile and positive attitude…your coworkers will be better off for it and so will you! Next reader guide will be posted this week – thanks for caring and for ALL that you do. J

This is a wonderful book that has come into my view at the right time. I work in a rather negative environment and, as a social worker, try to get along with everyone. I can see interactions throughout my day in which my own bucket is emptied. However, I tend to walk through the hallways at the VA (where I work) with a smile on my face. I’m often asked why I’m smiling and/or find people tend to smile back and say hello. I hadn’t really thought about this before but this is certainly a way in which I can have that positive impact- or “add to the communal bucket”- here at work. I’ve also noticed how it does help to fill my own bucket as I tend to be re-energized for a period of time after these interactions. Thank you for this selection and I am eager to see the next Reader’s Guide. Thank you!

My pleasure, Amy! Looking forward to your joining the discussion too! Note above, Michelle would love some insight if you’d like to share 🙂 Have a WONDERFUL day and enjoy getting into the book – can’t wait to hear what you think!

I read the entire book also! Quick read! I enjoyed it and have been thinking about it. The power of this book for me, is that the visual of a bucket and a dipper keeps the idea of building others up top-of-mind. Each day since I finished reading, I have made a conscious effort to fill someone’s bucket.

I would like to get a discussion going on one of the points from Chapter 1 in the Discussion Guide: Think about one specific area in your life right now that has a negative environment, and what you can do to make it more positive – or “add to the communal bucket.”

That was one thing the book didn’t articulate very well. What do you do when you’re being depleted by someone, for example at work or within a family situation? Sometimes it isn’t possible to walk away. And, sometimes it doesn’t work to say something. I have this situation at work. I try to lead by example and fill buckets of people around me including the negative people. I try to have compassion and understanding for they must be unhappy! And, I try to fight the bucket depleting I feel. But it takes a lot of energy! Any thoughts?

Hi Michelle, thank you for initiating this discussion! I am going to give a short response, and then include your question in the kick-off video for the second half of the book to make sure we get to hear from community members too (or chime in now, guys! Come on, give Michelle some of your beautiful insight!).

Michelle, have you ever read “The Five Love Languages”? The (very) general concept is that there are five different ways that people want love to be expressed to them – (Words of Affirmation; Acts of Service; Gifts; Quality Time; Physical Touch). With this in mind, you could take time to observe which of the five languages this person responds to and try to give him the “language” that fires him up. So if you have stuck to primarily bucket filling through positive affirmation, but notice he appreciates Acts of Service – maybe you can add in a few acts of service so that your bucket filling continues to make traction. Let me know your thoughts!

Yes. I am familiar with the book. I read it several years ago. (For those of you who have not read it, I highly recommend!) It has guided me in many interactions and helped me to meet others where they are so I can better understand and support them (in other words — love them). For the next few weeks, I will observe my colleague and consider your suggestion. Thanks John.

Hi Michelle! Regarding your request for thoughts on fighting your bucket being depleted by others, this quote has encouraged me greatly over the years:

“Give the world the best you have and it may never be enough. Give your best anyway. For you see, in the end, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.” ~Mother Teresa

When my so-called bucket is depleted by someone of something in particular — a kind word, for example — I deliberately share kind words with others. Before long, I’m full again. There will always be bucket depleters in the world (sadly). I think the trick is to not let them rob us of our peace. Ultimately, we’re in charge of our own buckets. As much as possible, surround yourself with positive people who care about you, will give you objective feedback and lift you up during difficult situations. Prayer, meditation and chocolate also work wonders!

I’m not sure how long you’ve been running around filling others’ buckets, but I encourage you to keep dipping away! Bless you for that servant heart of yours!

Thank you Mary. Yes, I have always been an avid bucket filler, I just never thought of it that way until I read this book. : ) I am also a fan of Mother Teresa as well. I have learned a lot from her example (as well as Blessed John Paul the Great). What resonates most with me in your reply is that ultimately we are in control of our own buckets! That means that despite our best efforts to fill a negative person’s bucket, it is up to them to allow their bucket to be filled! As you said, sadly, there will always be depleters; not letting them rob me of my peace and full bucket is key. Thanks so much. Thanks to you I now have a new way to look at it!

Hi John ~ My sister and I met you at the TS conference in Columbus, OH last year. I want you to know that I feel you are a beautiful man inside and out. Thank you for all of your encouraging words through your rising-above website. I’ve never been part of a book club; this is my first shot at it. I ordered the book and read through Chapter 3 in one sitting. Big for me! So, the next day I paid particular attention of interactions between others and how I chose to interact with those I came in contact with. I was truly touched by the gentleman in JC Penney who made it a point to ask me if I was OK as I sat on the floor outside of the dressing room as my 10-yr old tried on his clothes (I was actually really sick and needed to sit vs. stand and wait for him). First, this gentleman did not need to make it a point to check on me….could have walked on by. Second, although he probably doesn’t even remember his concerned words, here I am typing them to you. Just that one small gesture lit up that moment for me. One never knows how much of an impact you make on another person. Are you “filling their bucket or emptying it”. Love the concept! One person at a time…I hope we all make a positive difference in this world. Thanks again John!

Hi Tina! Thank you so much for your kind words. YOU are a beautiful person inside and out too – thank you for sharing your story about the man at JC Penney – it is pretty amazing to hear how our reading this book together can begin making real change in small ways…I hope you are feeling well today. Get ready for the second half of the book! (And I am so glad I met you through Tastefully Simple – you all have such a WONDERFUL organization you are part of. I am excited to be part of the TS sponsored Impact Alexandria event later this year! I hope to see you there!)

John, I got the bucket book. sorry, but I went ahead and read the whole book. I love the concept here, I have some negative people in my life, going to work on that, and giving everyone I come in contact with a possotive experience. great choice, look forward to the next book.
thanx,Ken

I read the whole book last night in less than 2 hours! It was amazing and resonates with everything in my personal life and work life – brings everything 360 for me! I shared it with my manager and my co-workers – what an amazing way to live!! Thank you!!

Dawn, so glad to hear you are sharing with your coworkers – you have to tell us what they think of it too! And, since you’ve read ahead a little bit 🙂 would you want to share your thoughts on one of the reader guide questions? You can download the reader guide in the link above! Have a wonderful day!

I just got the book. It’s an easy read and great reminder to focus on the positive. Who doesn’t t love a sincere compliment? Yet we sometimes find fault as if there is a reward for it! There’s also often a gap between knowing and doing. Thanks for a great reminder to focus on filling those buckets. I’m looking forward to continuing the book. Good choice!

Hi Maureen! It is a great reminder isn’t it? It’s so simple yet – dedicating yourself to reading 130 pages about filling others buckets (and in turn your own!!) is a GREAT reminder of the impact we all have on each other. Keep sharing your thoughts! Thanks for ALL you do. Have a wonderful day!

Book club friends, let’s be each other’s accountability partners to ensure we really get something from this book! Let’s talk about reader guide chapter 1 question:

How meaningful to spend your last months with your grandson writing a book that people had been asking you to write for years. Take a moment to reflect: if you knew your days were limited how would you choose to spend them? With whom and doing what? Share your thoughts below – I can’t wait to hear! J

If I knew my days were limited I would make sure that everyone I loved knew how much God loves them. I would fill their days telling them how precious and wonderful they are to me and to their creator. Guess I should start now!

Beautiful, Tammy! I hope you do start NOW and share with us what that experience is like if you can 🙂 we’d love to hear about it! Enjoy sharing your love and God’s love today!

Tammy, on Facebook we mentioned that everyone who answered this would be entered to win a copy of next month’s book free. Since you were our only brave responder: YOU WIN. Thanks for your participation. Can you send your mailing address to abby@risingabove.com – she’ll ship out next months book to you next week 🙂 Have a WONDERFUL day & thanks for all that you do!

Great read – thank you! It usually takes me forever to read a book and this one was a breeze and so true!!!

Another one I just finished (for future consideration) is Anne Lamott’s Help, Thanks, Wow: The Three Essential Prayers

Megan, glad you enjoyed this book and that it didn’t take you forever! Maybe you’d like to take a stab at starting a discussion around one of our questions from the readers guide (the link to download the readers guide is above)? Here’s my question from the intro, in case you’d like to answer:

How meaningful to spend your last months with your grandson writing a book that people had been asking
you to write for years. Take a moment to reflect: if you knew your days were limited, how would you choose
to spend them? With whom and doing what? (Now, consider doing that activity with that person TODAY.)

I read this book probably 7 yrs ago. Looking forward to reading again. I noticed they have a How Full is Your Bucket for children. What a great idea!

I was deeply impacted by the part about the Korean War POW’s. I have been listening to the book “Unbroken” about a WWII POW. Even though the WWII POW’s were horribly abused they could at least have their buckets filled by the camaraderie with their fellow prisoners and with the feeling that even minor acts of defiance let them still feel that they were still able to fight the enemy. The Korean veterans had to try to cope with perpetually empty buckets when they were cut off from anyone they cared about or who cared about them. It made me wonder if the Korean POWs that survived were able to recover mentally after their return home.

Tammy, thanks for sharing your thoughts and correlation to Unbroken, I’ve heard a lot of great things about that book too. Do you recommend it? We are so blessed to get to focus on using the “bucket filling” concept for good and not for evil – the POW vignette truly shows the power of the bucket filling concept…Have a wonderful, sister, thanks for sharing! J

Gail, Tammy, Anne, Mike & Mary: thanks for sharing and please continue to do so as you dive into the book! Mike – Zig Zigler JUST came up in the Rising Above office this morning. Mary, go all in! And THEN please share how your leadership team enjoys the read 🙂

HI John,

I am excited about this. In addition to doing it myself, I am giving very serious thought to implementing it as a Leadership opportunity with my team at work and intend to discuss it with them in our upcoming leadership meeting on Tuesday.

Thanks again for your inspiration and all that you do .

Read this book several years ago and what a difference the influence made in my life…I love change and moving forward so this book put it in perspective for me. I will enjoy reading this again. Great choice!

Just read intro and it reminds me of one of my favorite Zig Zigler quotes ” to get what you want help others get what they want” and that is what you do here and in your work. I try to do it with my employees…I will keep reading more later.

Thanks for inviting me to join this journey with you. I think I will enjoy reading a book and having time to discuss it with my friends. A plus for retirement. Thank you

I hope everyone enjoys reading “How Full is Your Bucket.” I read it during the summer a few years ago and it had a tremendous impact on me. Start today focusing on your strengths and your own unique talents, gifts and passions!

Joan, it is my absolute honor! I hope you’ll invite your friends and family to join the book club too. They can get book club updates through my blog, Facebook and newsletter (sign up for newsletter on the right side of the page). Enjoy the book and let us know your thoughts as you dig in!

I just listened to the audio version of this book. It was wonderful and such a great way to look at positives and negatives in our lives and how we impact how we behave and impact others in just the way we communicate with one another. I would recommend this book to everyone.

Thanks for sharing Betty! Glad you loved the book. Thanks for ALL that you do. Have a wonderful day and keep joining the book club conversation even thought you’re a little ahead of us on this book 🙂

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Live Inspired Together is a community of friends changing the world together, starting with their own. In a world that often focuses on negativity, John O’Leary - Live Inspired shares the other side of the story through his member-supported channels (essays, Live Inspired Podcast, video, webcasts, social platforms) to connect our community and share inspiration and actions to live it. Support now.