My Corner of the Web

Practicing Reflection with Rose, Thorn, Bud


Today, I'd like to share a personal practice that has made a difference in my life and helped my family, friends, and colleagues. I've written about the power of gratitude before, and now I want to take it a step further with an engaging and straightforward activity.

This practice, known as "Rose, Thorn, and Bud," first came into my life at Autodesk. The Luma Institute introduced us, and we used it for product development. According to the Luma Institute, this practice has roots in the Boy Scouts (though I was never one myself).

So, what exactly is "Rose, Thorn, and Bud?" It's a simple framework that encourages reflection and gratitude:

  • Rose: Share something that went well or felt good today
  • Thorn: Discuss a pain point or something that felt bad today
  • Bud: Mention something you're looking forward to or excited about

Our household has made it a tradition to reflect during dinner. Our five-year-old, Frances, is often enthusiastic about going first! We even invite guests to take part, who are often delighted to join in.

But why practice gratitude and reflection daily with your family? Well, there are a couple of reasons.

First, the concept of gratitude becomes normalized. When my kids are having a bad day, I can prompt them with a rose/thorn/bud to nudge their mindset toward the positive.

Second, this framework serves as training wheels for processing emotions. Asking a young child about their day usually yields little information. This activity simplifies emotional expression, helping them unpack their feelings.

Here are some extensions to consider:

  • Introduce the activity to a new group of people. I once suggested it at a conference dinner, and it brought everyone at the table closer.
  • Add a step called "Dishwasher" (courtesy of Frances), and share something silly or weird. 🙃
  • Mix up the timeline. Reflect on more than the past 24 hours – try a whole vacation, for example.
  • Remember to use this practice at work. After all, that's where I first learned it! Developing a culture of reflection takes consistency, but it's well worth the effort.

So, try "Rose, Thorn, Bud" and see how it can transform your interactions and emotional awareness. It's a simple yet powerful way to practice reflection, nurture connections, and foster growth. Happy sharing!

PS. On a related note, I've been working on a project that aims to improve decision-making and communication in startups through the power of AI. I want to make a difference in how we collaborate and grow. If you're curious, you can read more about my vision.

I'd appreciate you considering joining the waitlist. Your support and feedback will mean a lot to me as I continue this journey. Thank you!