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4 Ways to Refill Your Cup

water cup

There isn’t a day that goes by in the work of a school leader that is free of challenges.  The never-ending stream of problems that flow across our desks during the course of a school year can leave even the most positive and passionate leaders exhausted and depleted.  Those of you who have ever served in a leadership role in any capacity know exactly what I am talking about.  It is easy to get sucked into the minutia of the daily grind and fall into the trap of dealing with trivial things that drain our energy and overfill our cup.

So what can you do to provide yourselves with a little bit of reprieve and keep yourselves fresh and energized?

Empty your cup, shift your focus, and dedicate your time and energy to filling the cup of those who you were relegated to serve – your students, your staff and your community.  When you fill the cup of others, your cup is filled.

I recently ran across this visual that was shared by @justintarte that reinforced how valuable the work we do can be if we are willing to look at things from a different perspective and shift our mindset.  If we can learn to approach our work by thinking about how we conduct ourselves as leaders by seeing things through a different lens, then we can serve as an example by refilling our cup with what really matters in a more positive and effective way.




  1. Reflect vs. Deflect – At the heart of every problem is a conversation to be had. We cannot fall into the trap of deflecting conversations about concerns or issues that are brought to our attention.  All problems can be resolved if we are willing to have more dialogue and take more time to reflect on what is really being said.  Only by taking time to pause and reflect can we truly grow as problem solvers.


  1. Reinvest vs. Invest – Take time to reinvest in your veteran staff members. As leaders we often get caught up in the excitement of hiring and investing in our new teachers that we forget about our veteran teachers. We must not neglect our existing staff that carry with them years of valuable experience, knowledge and wisdom that can be passed on to our next generation of teachers.  Be sure you are providing meaningful, ongoing, professional development opportunities for them as well and using their talents to help grow and develop your new teachers.


  1. Aspire vs. Inspire – If you set out to inspire others to be great, you will not be successful unless you yourself aspire for greatness. You must aspire so you can inspire!  Often times as leaders we desire to make an impact on those around us, but we find ourselves falling short. The truth is it takes courage and a willingness to be vulnerable to make the impact we truly wish to make.  To be exemplar, we must model what it means to exist and risk if we aim to aspire so we can inspire.


  1. Act vs. React – The surest way of losing the confidence of your team is by failing to act. Often times we fall victim to not making a decision for fear of making the wrong decision. The irony is that by not making a decision, you are making a decision – the decision to not act! Unfortunately, we then find ourselves in reaction mode based on initial indecision. This can create a feeling of frustration on the part of your team and if done with regularity, damage your credibility as an effective leader.  There is nothing wrong with doing your due diligence (in fact I recommend it) in gathering information before making a decision, but then act on it so you don’t find yourself reacting unnecessarily.

As leaders, we feel a tremendous moral obligation to work until the work is done. We worry about what others will think about the quality of our work or whether or not we are the right person for the job.  But perhaps we should quit worrying about what the attitude of others is about the work we do and shift our focus to our own attitude and our own mindsets.

After all, leadership is not about what others expect of us, but rather what we expect of ourselves.

I think it’s time for a refill……

“Remember, alone we can be an exemplar, but together we can be exemplary.”

  • Jon Harper
    3 years ago

    Jimmy first of all I love the new look of your blog. Awesome! Totally! (sorry, love Spicoli). The suggestions you give for refilling our cups are great and, as always, centered on building others up. I love the play on words for each tip. Anytime you give advice I am going to listen and listen well. I will use these tips and if I have any questions I always know I can count on you. Thanks for being such an inspiration and so real. Have a great summer!

  • I love your posts, Jimmy. They are very real and applicable. Thanks for sharing. You make a difference.


  • Jen Houlette
    3 years ago

    Wow – #4 really speaks to me. I think too many times we find ourselves waiting for the “perfect time” to make a decision, act on a thought, or go ahead with a plan. I love what you said about not acting being a decision too. Definitely a good thing to keep in mind.

  • Lisa Schwartz
    3 years ago

    #2 speaks to me because as a veteran teacher I often feel like my administrators know I will “take care” of things, but I often don’t get the feedback to know if I’m going in the right direction, or affirmations for the job I am doing. It is important to me to get some sort of feedback as to whether I am making postive contributions to the school communities I serve, or what I can do to help grow others I come into contact with throughout my day.

  • Shawn Blankenship
    3 years ago

    Excellent post Jimmy. I especially like the visual and the importance of maintaining a positive perspective. It’s important as a leader or at any level. I’m currently reading “The Noticer” by Andy Andrews and this book provides many examples about the importance of one’s perspective. Thanks for sharing and the new blog looks fantastic! Stay connected, Shawn

  • Albert Canales
    3 years ago

    Great post. I really like everything you wrote. Thank you for sharing. I really like you quote at the end. It takes a team to really move the system forward.

  • Barry Saide
    3 years ago

    It’s funny. As I read each word, I find myself thinking about the complexities of leadership, and how you communicate it so simply and straightforwardly. Perhaps that is your genius. Inspired by your ability to find the right words, and make the complex easily understood. Love you, buddy!

  • Marc
    3 years ago

    Great post Jimmy- especially as leaders work towards 2015-16 being the best year yet!

  • Bill Powers
    3 years ago

    Love the new website Jimmy!
    Great post as always.
    You make great points and always leave me thinking about ways to be a better leader. I fall short daily, but strive to improve daily as well.
    Thank you for being such an inspirational role model.
    I appreciate you!

  • Paul Walker
    3 years ago


    I really like Numbers 3 & 4. I agree that we can’t expect greatness from our staff if we do not have the same goal for ourselves. We must model or exhibit the behavior or standards that we expect from others.

    Number 4 also speaks to me in that we can’t get caught up in “paralysis by analysis”. We must have the courage to make what the best decision possible based on the information we have on hand.

    Thanks for the great thoughts and I love the book, “What Connected Educators Do Differently”!

  • Ann Feldmann
    3 years ago

    Your post is spot on. I agree with your quote, “It is easy to get sucked into the minutia of the daily grind and fall into the trap of dealing with trivial things that drain our energy and overfill our cup.”

    There is always more work than time and it is in how the time is spent that is crucial. So often, the events take over and it is a challenge to keep moving forward. The four ways to fill your cup that you suggest are great leadership actionable ideas!

    Thanks for taking the time to write the post and inspire me!

  • Kristen Eriksen
    2 years ago

    “Perhaps we should quit worrying about what the attitude of others is about the work we do and shift our focus to our own attitude and our own mindsets.”

    A little late reading your post but I so needed this now! Thank you!

  • Dan Kenley
    2 years ago


  • Sarah Weber
    2 years ago

    As a teacher leader in the middle of the school year, I couldn’t have come across this article at a better time. Especially when you are in the “heat” of the work, the task before us can sometimes feel daunting. Teachers are feeling overwhelmed and discouraged (and in some situations a little crabby:), but as a leader I know I need to support the teachers I work with. This article speaks to ways that I, myself, can regroup and truly refocus the work I signed on to do when I became an instructional coach–to help, guide and inspire others to be better. Thank you for bringing it back and helping me recommit to the “why” I became a leader.

  • Derek Dixon
    2 years ago


    I am really glad I was able to read this blog post, especially at this time of the school year. I loved when you said “when you fill the cup of others, your cup is filled” because it is a true reflection of what being a leader really means. Putting yourself in other people’s shoes and worrying more about lifting others to meet their potential is such a crucial aspect of leadership. I also agree when you say that you need to aspire to be great first before inspiring others. Great thoughts by someone who is so passionate about learning and growing for all stakeholders.

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    A boiler is a closed vessel where water or other liquid is heated. The fluid does not boil. (In North America, the term “furnace” is normally used if the purpose is never to boil the fluid.) The warmed or vaporized fluid exits the boiler for use in various procedures or heating applications,[1 – [2 – including water heating, central heating, boiler-based power era, cooking food, and sanitation.

    The pressure vessel of a boiler is usually made of steel (or alloy steel), or historically of wrought iron. Stainless steel, especially of the austenitic types, is not found in wetted parts of boilers due to stress and corrosion corrosion breaking.[3 – However, ferritic stainless is often found in superheater sections that won’t be exposed to boiling water, and electrically heated stainless shell boilers are allowed under the European “Pressure Equipment Directive” for production of steam for sterilizers and disinfectors.[4 –
    In live steam models, copper or brass is often used since it is easier fabricated in smaller size boilers. Historically, copper was often used for fireboxes (particularly for steam locomotives), due to its better formability and higher thermal conductivity; however, in newer times, the high price of copper often makes this an uneconomic choice and cheaper substitutes (such as metal) are used instead.

    For much of the Victorian “age of steam”, the only materials used for boilermaking was the highest quality of wrought iron, with set up by rivetting. This iron was often extracted from specialist ironworks, such as at Cleator Moor (UK), observed for the high quality of their rolled plate and its own suitability for high-reliability use in critical applications, such as high-pressure boilers. In the 20th century, design practice moved towards the use of metal instead, which is stronger and cheaper, with welded building, which is quicker and requires less labour. It ought to be observed, however, that wrought iron boilers corrode significantly slower than their modern-day steel counterparts, and are less susceptible to localized pitting and stress-corrosion. This makes the durability of older wrought-iron boilers significantly superior to those of welded steel boilers.

    Cast iron might be used for the heating vessel of domestic drinking water heaters. Although such heaters are usually termed “boilers” in a few countries, their purpose is usually to produce warm water, not steam, and so they run at low pressure and try to avoid boiling. The brittleness of cast iron helps it be impractical for high-pressure steam boilers.
    Boiler Repairs East Sheen, SW14, Boiler Breakdown Emergency Service – Boiler Repairs East Sheen, SW14, Boiler Breakdown Emergency Service!..
    The source of heat for a boiler is combustion of some of several fuels, such as wood, coal, oil, or gas. Electric steam boilers use level of resistance- or immersion-type heating elements. Nuclear fission can be used as a heat source for producing steam also, either straight (BWR) or, in most cases, in specialised high temperature exchangers called “steam generators” (PWR). Temperature recovery vapor generators (HRSGs) use heat rejected from other processes such as gas turbine.

    Boiler efficiency
    there are two methods to gauge the boiler efficiency 1) direct method 2) indirect method

    Immediate method -immediate approach to boiler efficiency test is more useful or more common

    boiler efficiency =Q*((Hg-Hf)/q)*(GCV *100 ) Q =Total vapor circulation Hg= Enthalpy of saturated vapor in k cal/kg Hf =Enthalpy of give food to water in kcal/kg q= level of fuel use in kg/hr GCV =gross calorific value in kcal/kg like pet coke (8200 kcal/KG)

    indirect method -to gauge the boiler efficiency in indirect method, we need a following parameter like

    Ultimate analysis of fuel (H2,S2,S,C moisture constraint, ash constraint)
    percentage of O2 or CO2 at flue gas
    flue gas temperature at outlet
    ambient temperature in deg c and humidity of air in kg/kg
    GCV of gas in kcal/kg
    ash percentage in combustible fuel
    GCV of ash in kcal/kg
    Boilers can be classified in to the following configurations:

    Container boiler or Haycock boiler/Haystack boiler: a primitive “kettle” in which a open fire heats a partially filled drinking water box from below. 18th century Haycock boilers produced and stored large quantities of very low-pressure steam generally, hardly above that of the atmosphere often. These could burn wood or frequently, coal. Efficiency was very low.
    Flued boiler with one or two large flues-an early type or forerunner of fire-tube boiler.

    Diagram of a fire-tube boiler
    Fire-tube boiler: Here, water partially fills a boiler barrel with a small volume still left above to accommodate the vapor (steam space). This is the type of boiler used in almost all steam locomotives. Heat source is inside a furnace or firebox that needs to be kept completely surrounded by water in order to maintain the temperatures of the heating system surface below the boiling point. The furnace can be situated at one end of a fire-tube which lengthens the path of the hot gases, thus augmenting the heating surface which may be further increased by making the gases invert direction through a second parallel pipe or a bundle of multiple pipes (two-pass or return flue boiler); additionally the gases may be taken along the edges and then under the boiler through flues (3-move boiler). In case there is a locomotive-type boiler, a boiler barrel stretches from the firebox and the hot gases pass through a lot of money of fire tubes inside the barrel which greatly increases the heating system surface compared to a single tube and further enhances heat transfer. Fire-tube boilers have a comparatively low rate of vapor production usually, but high vapor storage capacity. Fire-tube boilers mainly burn off solid fuels, but are easily adjustable to people of the liquid or gas variety.

    Diagram of a water-tube boiler.
    Water-tube boiler: In this type, tubes filled up with drinking water are arranged inside a furnace in a true variety of possible configurations. Usually the drinking water pipes connect large drums, the lower ones containing water and the top ones water and steam; in other cases, like a mono-tube boiler, drinking water is circulated with a pump through a succession of coils. This kind gives high vapor production rates generally, but less storage capacity than the above mentioned. Water tube boilers can be made to exploit any high temperature source and are generally preferred in high-pressure applications since the high-pressure water/vapor is contained within small diameter pipes which can withstand the pressure with a thinner wall.
    Flash boiler: A flash boiler is a specialized type of water-tube boiler where pipes are close collectively and water is pumped through them. A flash boiler differs from the kind of mono-tube vapor generator where the tube is permanently filled with water. Super fast boiler, the tube is kept so hot that water feed is quickly flashed into vapor and superheated. Flash boilers had some use in automobiles in the 19th century which use continued in to the early 20th century. .

    1950s design vapor locomotive boiler, from a Victorian Railways J class
    Fire-tube boiler with Water-tube firebox. Sometimes the two above types have been combined in the next manner: the firebox consists of an set up of water tubes, called thermic siphons. The gases pass through a typical firetube boiler then. Water-tube fireboxes were installed in many Hungarian locomotives,[citation needed – but have met with little success in other countries.
    Sectional boiler. Within a ensemble iron sectional boiler, sometimes called a “pork chop boiler” the water is contained inside ensemble iron sections.[citation needed – These areas are assembled on site to produce the finished boiler.
    See also: Boiler explosion
    To define and secure boilers safely, some professional specialized organizations like the American Society of Mechanical Designers (ASME) develop specifications and regulation rules. For example, the ASME Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code is a standard providing a wide range of rules and directives to ensure compliance of the boilers and other pressure vessels with basic safety, security and design standards.[5 –

    Historically, boilers were a source of many serious injuries and property destruction as a consequence to poorly understood engineering principles. Thin and brittle steel shells can rupture, while badly welded or riveted seams could open up, resulting in a violent eruption of the pressurized steam. When drinking water is converted to steam it expands to over 1,000 times its original quantity and moves down steam pipes at over 100 kilometres each hour. As a result of this, steam is a great way of moving energy and heat around a niche site from a central boiler house to where it is necessary, but without the right boiler give food to water treatment, a steam-raising flower are affected from range corrosion and formation. At best, this boosts energy costs and can lead to poor quality steam, reduced efficiency, shorter vegetation and unreliable operation. At worst, it can lead to catastrophic reduction and failure of life. Collapsed or dislodged boiler pipes can also spray scalding-hot vapor and smoke out of the air intake and firing chute, injuring the firemen who weight the coal into the fire chamber. Extremely large boilers providing a huge selection of horsepower to use factories can potentially demolish entire buildings.[6 –

    A boiler which has a loss of give food to water and is permitted to boil dry can be extremely dangerous. If feed water is sent into the vacant boiler then, the tiny cascade of incoming drinking water instantly boils on connection with the superheated metal shell and leads to a violent explosion that cannot be controlled even by safety steam valves. Draining of the boiler can also happen if a leak occurs in the steam supply lines that is larger than the make-up drinking water supply could replace. The Hartford Loop was invented in 1919 by the Hartford Vapor Boiler and INSURANCE PROVIDER as a method to help prevent this condition from happening, and thus reduce their insurance claims.[7 – [8 –

    Superheated steam boiler

    A superheated boiler on a steam locomotive.
    Main article: Superheater
    Most boilers produce vapor to be utilized at saturation temp; that is, saturated vapor. Superheated vapor boilers vaporize water and then further high temperature the vapor in a superheater. This provides steam at much higher heat range, but can reduce the overall thermal efficiency of the vapor generating plant because the higher vapor temp requires a higher flue gas exhaust temperatures.[citation needed – There are several ways to circumvent this issue, typically by providing an economizer that heats the give food to water, a combustion air heater in the hot flue gas exhaust route, or both. You will find advantages to superheated vapor that may, and will often, increase overall efficiency of both vapor generation and its own utilization: increases in input temperature to a turbine should outweigh any cost in additional boiler problem and expense. There may also be practical limitations in using damp vapor, as entrained condensation droplets will harm turbine blades.

    Superheated steam presents unique safety concerns because, if any system component fails and allows steam to escape, the temperature and pressure can cause serious, instantaneous harm to anyone in its path. Since the escaping steam will be completely superheated vapor, detection can be difficult, although the extreme heat and sound from such a leak indicates its existence clearly.

    Superheater procedure is similar to that of the coils on an fresh air conditioning unit, although for a different purpose. The steam piping is directed through the flue gas path in the boiler furnace. The temp in this area is typically between 1,300 and 1,600 °C (2,372 and 2,912 °F). Some superheaters are radiant type; that is, they absorb high temperature by radiation. Others are convection type, absorbing temperature from a fluid. Some are a combination of both types. Through either method, the extreme heat in the flue gas path will heat the superheater steam piping and the steam within also. While the heat of the steam in the superheater increases, the pressure of the vapor will not and the pressure remains the same as that of the boiler.[9 – Almost all steam superheater system designs remove droplets entrained in the steam to avoid harm to the turbine blading and associated piping.

    Supercritical steam generator

    Boiler for a power herb.
    Main article: Supercritical steam generator
    Supercritical steam generators are used for the production of energy frequently. They operate at supercritical pressure. As opposed to a “subcritical boiler”, a supercritical steam generator operates at such a high pressure (over 3,200 psi or 22 MPa) that the physical turbulence that characterizes boiling ceases to occur; the liquid is neither liquid nor gas but a super-critical fluid. There is absolutely no generation of vapor bubbles within the water, because the pressure is above the critical pressure point of which vapor bubbles can form. As the fluid expands through the turbine levels, its thermodynamic condition drops below the critical point as it can work turning the turbine which changes the power generator from which power is eventually extracted. The fluid at that point may be considered a mix of vapor and liquid droplets as it goes by into the condenser. This results in slightly less fuel use and therefore less greenhouse gas creation. The term “boiler” shouldn’t be used for a supercritical pressure vapor generator, as no “boiling” occurs in this product.
    Boiler Repairs East Sheen, SW14, Boiler Breakdown Emergency Service – More info!
    Boiler fittings and accessories
    Pressuretrols to regulate the steam pressure in the boiler. Boilers generally have 2 or 3 3 pressuretrols: a manual-reset pressuretrol, which functions as a protection by setting top of the limit of vapor pressure, the working pressuretrol, which handles when the boiler fires to keep up pressure, and for boilers equipped with a modulating burner, a modulating pressuretrol which handles the quantity of fire.
    Protection valve: It is utilized to relieve pressure and prevent possible explosion of a boiler.
    Water level indications: They show the operator the amount of fluid in the boiler, also called a sight glass, water measure or water column.
    Bottom blowdown valves: They provide a way for removing solid particulates that condense and lay on the bottom of a boiler. As the name implies, this valve is situated straight on the bottom of the boiler usually, and is sometimes opened up to use the pressure in the boiler to press these particulates out.
    Continuous blowdown valve: This allows a small level of water to flee continuously. Its purpose is to prevent the water in the boiler becoming saturated with dissolved salts. Saturation would lead to foaming and cause drinking water droplets to be transported over with the steam – a disorder known as priming. Blowdown is often used to monitor the chemistry of the boiler drinking water also.
    Trycock: a type of valve that is often use to manually check a water level in a tank. Mostly found on a water boiler.
    Flash tank: High-pressure blowdown enters this vessel where the steam can ‘flash’ safely and be found in a low-pressure system or be vented to atmosphere as the ambient pressure blowdown flows to drain.
    Automatic blowdown/constant heat recovery system: This technique allows the boiler to blowdown only once make-up water is moving to the boiler, thereby transferring the maximum amount of heat possible from the blowdown to the makeup water. No flash container is generally needed as the blowdown discharged is near to the temp of the make-up water.
    Hand openings: They are steel plates installed in openings in “header” to allow for inspections & installation of pipes and inspection of inner surfaces.
    Vapor drum internals, some screen, scrubber & cans (cyclone separators).
    Low-water cutoff: It really is a mechanical means (usually a float switch) that is used to turn from the burner or shut down gasoline to the boiler to avoid it from working once the drinking water goes below a certain point. If a boiler is “dry-fired” (burnt without water in it) it can cause rupture or catastrophic failing.
    Surface blowdown series: It provides a way for removing foam or other lightweight non-condensible chemicals that tend to float together with water inside the boiler.
    Circulating pump: It really is designed to circulate drinking water back to the boiler after it has expelled some of its heat.
    Feedwater check valve or clack valve: A non-return stop valve in the feedwater series. This may be fitted to the comparative aspect of the boiler, below the water level just, or to the very best of the boiler.[10 –
    Top feed: In this design for feedwater injection, the water is fed to the very best of the boiler. This may reduce boiler fatigue triggered by thermal stress. By spraying the feedwater over a series of trays water is quickly warmed which can reduce limescale.
    Desuperheater tubes or bundles: A series of tubes or bundles of tubes in water drum or the vapor drum made to cool superheated vapor, in order to provide auxiliary equipment that does not need, or may be damaged by, dry out vapor.
    Chemical substance injection line: A link with add chemicals for controlling feedwater pH.
    Steam accessories
    Main vapor stop valve:
    Steam traps:
    Main vapor stop/check valve: It can be used on multiple boiler installations.
    Combustion accessories
    Gas oil system:energy oil heaters
    Gas system:
    Coal system:
    Soot blower
    Other essential items
    Pressure gauges:
    Feed pumps:
    Fusible plug:
    Inspectors test pressure gauge attachment:
    Name plate:
    Registration dish:

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