When Drew Dudley was a student at college, he changed one girl’s life without even realizing it.
The girl was intimidated to start college and told her parents she couldn’t do it. They ended up convincing her to go to her first day, but said that they would fully support her if it didn’t feel right and she decided to quit. So she went the first day and, sure enough, she felt intimidated as she was standing in line to pick up her room key. Just as she was about to turn to parents to tell them she couldn’t do it, she saw Drew come out of the student union building. He was dressed like an idiot with a stupid hat on and was handing out lollipops to raise awareness for a charity. He came up and stopped near the girl.
He then confronted another nervous freshman guy standing next to this girl, telling him, “You, you need to give this lollipop to the beautiful girl standing next to you.” The freshman guy turned beet red, took the lollipop and awkwardly handed it to the girl next to him. Drew then turned to her parents and said, “Look at that, look at that! First day away from home, and, already, she’s taking candy from a stranger!” Everyone in line burst out laughing, and the girl finally felt a bit at ease and decided to stay .
Four years later, on his last day, the same girl came up to Drew and told him the story. She told him that it was the most important moment of her life, that she was felt intimidated and was ready to quit school before it even started. She told him she couldn’t have been happier that she stayed at school and it was all because of his little joke that made her feel welcome. And, she also told him that she was still dating the boy who gave her the lollipop and that they were getting married in a year!
Drew racked his brain and couldn’t even remember telling the joke and giving out the lollipops.
We’ve all probably had lollipop moments in our lives. In Drew’s words, perhaps we need to redefine leadership as being about lollipop moments – how many of them we create, how many of them we acknowledge, how many of them we pay forward, and how many of them we say thank you for.
Changing the world simply means affecting the people we come across in our everyday lives, because that literally is all “our world” is.
HT Jim and Drew Dudley’s talk on Everyday leadership