One evening as I was breathing a sigh of relief at having made it to the gas station before the fumes ran out, I recalled an idea from Master Coach Thomas Leonard — building a Super Reserve. Why was I waiting until the stressful low gas light came on before filling up? Why not start the habit of filling up when the gas tank was at half full? Wouldn’t this be an easier, calmer way to live.
Building a Super Reserve is one of the many practical chapters in Leonard’s book, The Portable Coach.He says, “when you have enough time and resources to respond to the opportunities that are always waiting in the wings, you have a Super Reserve.” He further explains that “building a reserve is an integrated process that strengthens your foundation. Stockpiling is an exercise in accumulation, which is a step toward building a reserve.”
When I was a new, single mom with a preemie baby, one of the best things my sister-in-law, Allison, did for me was to get me a boatload of diapers and I mean a boatload. At first I was overwhelmed having my laundry room filled with diaper boxes, thinking “this is crazy.” But when told by the doctors and nurses to keep my son at home as much as possible that first year (no store, no church, no nothing), those diapers became my Super Reserve. I stressed a lot that first year of motherhood, but I never worried about needing to run to the store for diapers. A seemingly small thing, but wow, was I grateful to Allison for her foresight. That boatload lasted me for almost the entire first year — a Super Reserve and peace of mind.
Now Leonard was a single man with a full-time assistant (aren’t you drooling at the thought of a full-time assistant for your life?), but as busy moms and working women, let’s look at this principle and see where we can start with small steps to work our way toward building a Super Reserve. Here are some ways to start: 1. Pick a single area in which you can develop a huge reserve in a week. Ideas: Buy a year’s supply of stamps; stockpile toilet paper, tissues, light bulbs or laundry detergent. 2. Become an investor instead of a spender. Ideas: The essence of this change is to redirect your resources (time and money). An investor reaps a long-term benefit; a spender gets immediate gratification that fads. Can you make money from a hobby you enjoy? Try saving $5 bills toward a goal (Disney vacation, upgraded technology, etc.) 3. Hand over big chunks of your administrative/management tasks to experts. Ideas: Hire a lawn service, a cleaning service, a personal chef, a gardener (unless of course, those activities bring you enjoyment). I’ll even offer two resources I use — Chris from Summertime Lawn & Landscape, (517) 668-0946 and Lisa from Lisa’s Cleaning Services, (517) 202-9935. 4. Get a lot more space. Ideas: What we’re going for here is roominess — in our physical spaces and in our lives. This could mean cleaning out those closets, giving up those “shoulds,” or abandoning roles you never chose. Arrive early to every appointment. Let other cars “in” when driving. Take more vacations. So, in this summer of abundance — abundant fresh food, abundant sunshine and time — start building a Super Reserve in at least one or two areas of your life. Start the new habit now so that when September rolls around and we’re back on the hamster wheel juggling work, kids’ school/activities and those wonderful college football games, you’ve got Super Reserves built up. Schedule that vacation, fill up the gas tank and enjoy the rest of summer!
Susan Combs, MBA and Professional Certified Coach, works with coaching clients to create fresh starts, enhance their leadership skills and increase their confidence. She is an authorized licensee of the Fit Leader's Program. Susan provides one-on-one coaching, DiSC team-building training and manages corporate mentor programs. She lives in Lansing with her son, Max, and their golden retriever puppy. Visit SusanCombsCoaching.com or MentorRoadmap.com for more information.