How do you recharge/take care of yourself as you hold space for your team and move them?

Kiat Lim
Product Team Tonic
Published in
3 min readNov 4, 2021


In your current role/organisation, do you feel:

  • Exhausted even after taking breaks and wonder if going on a cruise trip to disconnect would help at all
  • Low energy, lack of motivation/drive
  • Overwhelmed while trying to balance your energy output and your commitments
  • Unfair that you are the only person doing all these “work” and others should play their part as well
  • That product vision and leadership is missing: There are people who care about making more money but not how to make the product better (or care how the product should deliver value to the customers).

This topic was discussed during the Product Tonic Unconference 2021, and needless to say, it got my attention.

If you are wondering how you can continue to bring your best self to support your team each day without burning out, read on.

The scribed board for the topic

1. Ask yourself: What am I holding on to, and why?

One of the first questions that came from the group was this. When we are vested in the organisation we work in, we invest our time and energy in the hope that we get the same or more value in return. Sometimes, the returned value becomes diminishing or even negative. To keep ourselves going, we have to understand:

What is it that is so valuable that makes me hold on to this? Is it the people? or the product? Is my ego holding me back?

Holding space for others can be a glorified act that makes us do it for the sake of being heroic, but if we are not clear about what and why, the action becomes meaningless and we lose it eventually when another shinier object comes along.

Knowing the purpose can help us stay focus on the outcomes we want to achieve.

2. Establish allies that you can lean on

When the purpose is clear, it’s time to bring in support. Grappling with leadership issues can feel lonely and helpless. It is likely that the symptoms are not just felt by you alone.

Is there someone else who feels the same way as you? Someone you can lean onto, internally or externally?

Finding our ally in this “war” can help to make the journey less lonely. When more people band together as one, it becomes a really powerful driving force for change.

3. Conserving energy and draw boundaries

When it comes to energy levels, having a strong self awareness about where we are investing your energy is crucial. Think of it like a power bank, charging others drains our battery. When necessary, conserve your energy and use it wisely, recharge it once the light blinks low. Note: Not every battle needs to be fought.

Just like the pre-flight safety advisory: put on the oxygen mask first before helping others. As we put our best selves outwards to be the instrument of change, we need to be mindful of the energy we bring along as well.

With the whole pandemic and work from home (WFH) over the last 2 years, drawing the right boundaries has been a huge challenge for many. Are we drawing enough boundaries around where it matters?

Perhaps it’s time to darken our greyed out boundaries so we can spend time on things that recharge our energy.

4. Does the organisation’s values align with mine?

We talk a lot about things we can do ourselves but sometimes it’s not us but them. Perhaps its time to revisit the organisation’s priorities and values, evaluate and see if they align with our own beliefs.

This is extremely crucial because why spend time on something when two sides have contrasting values? We can see if the organisation is paying us a lip service simply by seeing where they invest their money and resources.

Be prepared, our best intentions may not be well valued after all.

5. Letting go of the brakes?

And when things doesn’t align with your value anymore or when its no longer worth it to hold on anymore, are you ready to…

let it go?

This is a summary reflection for Product Tonic Unconference 2021 that took place on 23 Oct 2021. The sessions were facilitated through Open Space Technology (OST) and was attended by over participants working in the Product space.

Thank you for everyone who contributed their valuable wisdom to help all of us become better product leaders.



Kiat Lim
Product Team Tonic

Senior Experience Consultant @ EPAM Continuum. IxDA Regional Coordinator for APAC. Sometimes I create bad puns.