My Bucket Runneth Over

“Have you filled a bucket today?”
– Carol McCloud

As the holidays and the year draws to a close, I have much to be thankful for.
As I thought about how to best express the gratitude and thanks I felt, I remembered a quote from a client who during a team retrospective committed to always “Fill up someone’s bucket”. It was a reference to the children’s book, “Have You Filled a Bucket Today? A Guide to Daily Happiness for Kids” by Carol McCloud. The book encourages positive behaviour by using the concept of an invisible bucket that each one of us carries with us. When you express kindness, appreciation, and love towards someone, you fill both their bucket as well as your own – you become a ‘bucket filler’. When you exhibit ‘negative’ behaviour such as making fun of someone, you dip into both their bucket and your own – you become a ‘bucket dipper’. It reminds me of Stephen Covey’s concept of “emotional bank accounts” where your behaviour can either make deposits to or withdrawals from your account with someone. If your account is flush, you’ll be forgiven for the occasional transgression. If your account is overdrawn – good luck the next time you need a favour!

Where do I begin with my bucket filling?

It Starts with Me

I’ve never had so much fun and joy in my professional career. It’s been a journey of discovery and self-actualization and dare I say self-transcendence. I’ve looked forward to every single day. Every day has been a new adventure. An opportunity to co-create with others – to create something that’s bigger than all of us. There have been no ‘bad’ days. Only ‘good’ days and ‘great’ days. I’ve had plenty of teaching moments and lessons learned. But I have no regrets. I’m grateful for all the opportunities to improve my craft, lest perfection become the enemy of progress.

Grows with People

The best part is the cornucopia of people, interactions and co-creations I’ve had the privilege of being part of.

Thanks to all my Agile practitioner colleagues. I have learned so much from you.

  • From the “neophytes”, I’m learning wide-eyed courage to try new things and always question. I often feel I learn the most from those that know the least.
  • From the “erudites”, I’m learning strength in understanding theory and the bigger picture. Understanding theory means to experiment, experiment, experiment.
  • From the “internal change agents”, I’m learning what’s needed to self-sustain change and expedite my departure
  • From the “pragmatists”, I’m learning about adapting, integrating, improvising and living the motto, “I don’t do stupid”.
  • From the “luminaries”, I’m learning over coffee or beer, that one should never be too busy to personally interact and respond.
  • From the “trickster”, I’m learning to let people struggle not because we don’t care but because we do – “Don’t rob them of the struggle”.

Thanks to the early morning Flyin’ Magoos hockey club for the on-ice and dressing room banter and humour that sparks my week. They’re good old-time hockey players and better people. A shout-out to a special goalie who actually reads my blog posts! Thanks, Mike, for the encouragement.

Thanks to my family for supporting my dream and being my bedrock. For challenging me to practice at home what I preach and practice at work. I’m still working on leaving my professional and social masks off – permanently.

Extends to the Communities

My appreciation would not be complete without mentioning the impact of several communities on my journey.

First, the CGI Agile Community who have been highly supportive, collaborative and innovative in the Agile and DevOps space. Most recently sparking a large but latent Agile community into a large and active Agile community with this year’s Canadian Banking Agile Symposium (CBAS).

Second, the Client communities of stakeholders that I serve. So thankful for their courage to invest in change, let go and trust new ways of creating value.

Finally, the large, vibrant communities of Agile practitioners, including Open Space events, Agile Coach Camps, Agile Meetups and Agile Conferences. I’ve enjoyed them all and thank the dedicated volunteers that made them possible. Paraphrasing the words of several other Agile Coaches – “I’ve found my peeps and my tribe!

I’m not sure where this journey will lead. I’m just glad I get to continue. Along the way, I’m thankful for all the people, communities and places who fill my bucket and whose buckets I will get to fill.

And that is what makes all the difference.

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