The Flask

You hear me refer to a ‘flask’ fairly often when talking about balance.  “What’s this flask?” you may ask yourself if you’re new to my articles.  “What’s a flask?” you may ask if you’ve never heard of one.  Wait, why don’t you know what a flask is?

FlaskAnyway, in creating Alchemy for Life, I came up with the metaphor loosely based on the thinking that we have a flask of our Time, Energy and Resources.  It’s much easier to imagine all the time and effort and money your life spends as a liquid in a flask.  Otherwise it’s hard to get your brain around that.  This way, you can picture the finite amount of liquid in there.  You can picture that you only have so much, and the things you do in life require you to spill some out into them to make them happen.  Sort of an Elixir of Life, yes?

Spill what now?

Daughter needs to be driven to soccer?  Spill out some time and effort.  Son wants karate lessons?  Spill out resources.  He wants you to take the lessons with him?  More resources, and now time and effort.  Grabbing a beer?  Time and resources (unless the beer’s on them).  Want to work out?  Time (the hour you work out), Effort (the working out, the driving there, making sure your work out clothes are clean) and resources (the cost of the membership, the fancy work out clothing, the gas to get there).

See?  That’s a lot of stuff in a very simple schedule.  Imagine a demanding job, a pretty involved hobby, lots of friends, a wife/husband that likes to over book your free time socially, kids and their demands/needs.  Imagine how complex it gets when you’re going through a transition – switching careers, going through a divorce, facing retirement, becoming an empty nester, dealing with an injury, or even a massive success/move.*

All complex, but all easily understood with the metaphor of the flask, (and the web tool I created to see it all).

So, now you know that when I say you’re “spilling some out” it means you’re taking time / effort / resources from your reserve and donating it to an event or activity or commitment in your life.  When I say you’re “spilling some back” it means you are recovering some of the same from the event or commitment and restoring your reserve.

I’m not talking about the kind you sneak into a football game. 🙂


* Look for an upcoming post on maintaining balance through transition.  I’m also giving a talk on this in November.