The Journey from Reflection to Gratitude

Posted on February 24, 2023

Light pink background with four lollipops sticking up from the bottom, in orange, green, blue, yellow colors.

Today’s Morning Buzz is by Cassie Johnson, Police Operational Support Director for the Scottsdale Police Department. Follow Cassie on LinkedIn and Twitter.

What I’m reading: I’m making my way through the Wheel of Time books, currently on Winter’s Heart (book 9) 

What I’m watching: Gym watch is Big Bang Theory, and Carnival Row is back!

What I’m listening to: P!NK just released her new album, TRUSTFALL


Have you ever thought about how you got to the place that you are? Like, really thought about the turns and decisions that led you to the place and the position that you currently hold? What about the people who helped you along that journey? Taking time to reflect helps us grow. While teaching a leadership course at ASU School of Public Affairs, I talked weekly about the importance of reflection as it relates to growth and understanding…so much so that it made several appearances in post-semester course evaluations (love that).

As part of a particular lesson, we spent time watching this Ted Talk about Everyday Leadership with Drew Dudley. It’s brief, so I encourage you to watch it. The premise is this…he shares someone’s moment with him that happened in passing that literally changed the trajectory of her life. The story involves lollipops, so class, of course, included a colorful lollipop for everyone, and when teaching and since, I refer to these seemingly insignificant, yet vastly significant moments as the lollipop moments of our lives. Every semester, I asked the same questions of the class after watching the video:

How many of you have a person who has offered you a lollipop moment?

And then the follow-up question for those (almost most) who raise their hands….

Did you ever say anything to them about what that moment did for you? 

That question is usually met with far fewer hands. And why? It’s simple…we get caught up in the journey and making our way through the day-to-day. And I know I can say in my own experience, we may not even see where that moment leads until sometime down the road. By then, that person may no longer be in your orbit to say anything. Because of what lollipop moments have done for me and because of what I’ve seen them do for others, I’m a big fan of trying to recognize and value those opportunities when they arise. 

Here are a few ways that we can put gratitude into practice, not only for the big life-changing “momentous” moments but also for the little daily things that sometimes get caught up in the shuffle of our lives.

  • In my city, we have a public page where we can give a shout out to employees, both publicly and privately, that tie into the City Values (Check out the Podsdale on the process we went through to establish our values launched last year).
  • It doesn’t always have to be big, or public. Sometimes the quickest in the mix of the day is sending an email to the person (and sometimes including their boss) to provide a note of gratitude and good work.
  • Hand-written thank you cards aren’t everyone’s favorite, but I really love them. It’s great to receive, and therefore, I believe it’s great to give! I always have a drawer of options in my desk. I’ve sent them for big projects and little moments of joy, and I’ve found that people really enjoy that quick word of positive snail mail. 
  • Bigger options include nominations. January was spent reading the amazing things that folks do every day to support their communities through their work. And we got to read about it because someone took a few moments to write a nomination to highlight the work that people in their orbit are doing. 

So now I ask you, do you have a person who has offered you a lollipop moment? And did you ever share what that moment did for you?

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