Welcome to Agile Living and AgiliZen!
NOTE: This site is currently being updated. In the spirit of agile and practicing what I preach, I’m making the updates iteratively and, hopefully, with a minimum of frustration and disruption to visitors. Things will be changing often in the next few months as we reorganize and update the content. : )
Thanks for understanding!
My life’s work is helping creative and neurodiverse people cultivate the self-leadership mindset and skills needed to
- Get unstuck from unhelpful behavioral and emotional patterns such as chronic overwhelm, clutter, and disorganization.
- Design your life and spaces to fit your unique needs
- Optimize your overall wellbeing and quality of life.
How I serve you is constantly evolving as I discover ever more powerful ways to accelerate personal transformation and cultivate human potential.
The website resources here are continuously being upgraded, streamlined, edited and reorganized. The mission is to offer high quality information and educational learning resources that go far beyond just providing tips that may or may not work for you.
I’m using my 30+ years of experience in the field of adult learning, motivation, cognitive, learning and personality style diversity, skills training, performance coaching, systems design for performance improvement, change management, and leadership development to…
evolve a revolutionary set of tools
that empower creative, gifted, ADHD and neurodiverse people
to experience the adventure, freedom and power of
living in your own personal Agile Zone.
The goals include:
- Learn about the benefits of cultivating the Agile Heart, Mind and Body.
- Learn Agile Self-Leadership and Agile Self-Advocacy
- Cultivate and master the 8 Habits of Personal Agility
- Practice the 10 Mantras of AgiliZen
- Make peace with the Dance between Order and Chaos
- Design the 8 Dances of Life to fit you
I looking forward to sharing the next generation of my work with you as it evolves and would love to hear any comments or feedback you have as you browse. For now, I thank you for exploring this site and wish you much peace and success,
Stay in Touch
To receive updates, sign up for my mailing list and receive a complimentary AgiliZen Toolkit.
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In the meantime, you may also:
- Read a selection of my Best Articles by Topic
- View AgiliZen eZine Back Issues (The ezine is currently on Hiatus as I work on this site and developing the AgiliZen book and curriculum.)
- View my videos on the ArianeBenefitsU You Tube channel
- Listen, watch, download free recordings of classes here:
Presentations and Classes
Who needs Agile Self-Leadership and Personal Agility?
Everyone can benefit from cultivating Agile Self-Leadership and Personal Agility and agilizing skills, but if you answer yes to any of the following, the impact on your life will be profound. Do you often feel:
- You are on a roller coaster between too much and not enough?
- You can’t have, be, or do enough no matter how hard you try?
- Deeply misunderstood by the people around you?
- Exhausted from the stress of trying to keep up with the demands of life, work, home and relationships?
- Your high potential and capabilities are overshadowed by your challenges with making decisions, letting go of things, and / or getting things done?
- Stuck in painful patterns of overworking, fits of frustration, impatience, anxiety, depression, addictive behavior, compulsive apologizing and explaining, or “OCD” (overwhelm, clutter and disorganization)?
- You could be doing so much more with your life if only you could:
- manage your time better?
- have better people skills?
- be more patient?
- go to bed or get up earlier?
- eat better? exercise more?
- pick one thing and focus on it till it’s done?
You are not alone. There are millions of people suffering from feeling stuck in a perpetual cycle of debilitating stress,dissatisfaction, overwhelm, frustration, and/or chronic disorganization. When 2, 3 or more of the 8 Dances of Life have become a source of chronic stress and overwhelm, our capacity for self-respect, self-confidence, health, and quality of life becomes significantly impaired.
If you have tried reading books, getting coaching and / or therapy, taken lots of classes and somehow, your efforts are not translating into improved performance, greater emotional satisfaction, less overwhelm and enhanced quality of life…that’s a major sign that you may REQUIRE the agile life design approach to create the life you want for yourself.
You are exactly who I created this for — You won’t just benefit from AgiliZen – you REQUIRE the advanced concepts and skills practiced in AgiliZen to fill in the missing ingredients of your personal empowerment foundation. For you, AgiliZen will be like finally getting the owner’s manual and pilot’s license you need to confidently navigate, live with, care far and make the most of the powerfully supercharged and uncommon brain you were born with. It’s like all this time you had a plane at your disposal, but you’ve been trying to drive it as if it were a car. Isn’t it about time you learned how to fly it?
If you are one of us – the natural agilizers of the world – most conventional approaches to reducing stress, organizing yourself and managing your time, money, paper and information have probably not worked for you, or have left you feeling like a failure, even though some part of you knows you have a lot of potential.
It’s time to rethink everything you think you know about who you are, what’s causing your problems, and what you need to do about it. It’s time to reclaim your right to be different, accept yourself as you are, and work with your strengths to develop your potential. it’s time to stop agonizing, struggling and fighting and get on with making peace with yourself, your life, and your loved ones.
It’s time to let go of trying to CONTROL yourself and focus on LEADING yourself to the successful, happy life you envision.
What is the AgiliZen approach to Cultivating Self-Leadership?
AgiliZen™ is about letting go of agonizing over the things you want to change, but can’t – and mastering the skills, habits and mindset that enable you to lead yourself to change what you can. It’s about starting where you are today, and using the brain you have to design creative, out-of-the-box, custom solutions to the challenges keeping you from feeling capable, confident and in charge of your life.
The 10 Mantras of AgiliZen
Agile Life Design™ and AgiliZen™ provide a unique set of tools for natural agilizers (people who weren’t born to be “followers” of other people’s systems nor to be controlled by themselves or others) to make life better for themselves.
The 10 Mantras of AgiliZen provide a framework and curriculum for understanding yourself and designing your life, career, relationships and environments to fit you.
AgiliZen teaches the mindset and life skills required to exercise self-leadership and self-advocacy. The classes cover skills such as emotional agility and resilience, decision-making, and designing for your brain which provide a foundation for designing agile systems for optimal functioning in each of the 8 Dances of Life.
The 8 Dances of Life
The 8 Dances of Life model was developed to help my clients clarify their challenges, strengths and resources. The model makes it easier to clearly see the complex interconnections and decide where to start making small, specific changes that will have the greatest impact in the short term while also moving you closer to reaching long-term goals like better health, less stress and greater productivity.
Life is a constant dance of deciding how to use our limited resources. Our home, things, work, relationships, time, money and information (information includes paper, digital information, email, memorabilia, etc.) are all resources we can use, but they also require work to take care of them. No wonder it’s so easy to feel overwhelmed by the 8 Dances of Life – it’s easy to feel like they are taking over your life rather than making your life more satisfying.
Sometimes it feels like the more success and abundance we have, the less time and energy we have to actually enjoy them. The additional maintenance and work that comes along with a better job, having a child, or moving into a bigger house, for example, may leave us feeling so stressed and over-committed that life can begin to feel more like a gilded cage than an adventure.
The more we have, the more easily we feel overwhelmed, exhausted and out of control. You may find yourself yearning for a simpler life but not ready to let go of what you have.
Deep down you may believe that with a little more self-control, you could make yourself do what it takes to achieve your potential. Perhaps if you had more self-control, you wouldn’t procrastinate, or get so distracted and unfocused. If you could just get yourself to do what it takes to organize, plan and finish all the chores and projects on your To Do list, you would feel better about yourself and your life. If you could just control yourself better you wouldn’t waste time being unproductive, all your email would be answered and you would actually read all those books you buy.
When self-control fails to work for you, chances are excellent that self-leadership and the ability to agilize are what the situation requires.
Self-control has been so over-valued and over-emphasized in our society, we seem to have forgotten that control is not always needed. In many cases, control is not even an option. For example, self-control is NOT always the best way to get yourself to do things like change habits and make the changes you want in your life. In fact, for some people, trying to use self-control to change habits like disorganization, being late, or overeating actually does more harm than good.
AgiliZen is about cultivating your inner leader. When you rebel against yourself, as evidenced by chronic overwhelm, frustration, procrastination and exhaustion, it’s time for your inner dictator to surrender and let your inner leader take over.
Your inner leader’s job is inspire and encourage rather than control you. When you treat yourself the way you would want a respected leader to treat you — by asking questions, listening, establishing meaningful and realistic goals, facilitating, supporting and encouraging — a whole new world of possibilities for turning your life around opens up.
Leaders we respect and admire have cultivated the personal agility needed to adapt to constantly changing circumstances. They are adept at improvising, rethinking, re-planning, and re-designing their goals, strategies and expectations to fit the realities of the current situation. They focus on the most important needs and become masters of saying no to unhelpful distractions – yet they also understand that sometimes what seems like a distraction is actually a better way. Sometimes, staying focused on a strategy that isn’t working is much worse than changing course.
When things get tough, leaders don’t get stuck in agonizing over things they can’t change, nor do they stubbornly stick to tools or strategies that aren’t working – they “agilize.”
To agilize is be ready to rethink your goals, options and assumptions to make the best of the realities of the situation at hand.
It’s about getting unstuck, and thinking differently about your situation, so that your creative mind can design a new approach. Agilizing is about taking steps in the direction you want to be going – even when conditions aren’t ideal.
To agilize something is to take the time to assess the situation, figure out what is really needed, and make tough decisions that inspire action.
What are the Benefits of Agile Self-Leadership?
Cultivating self-leadership and agilizing skills increases self-confidence and reduces fear, stress and overwhelm. The more you trust your ability to agilize, the more confident you become that you can rise to the occasion and deal with whatever challenges come your way. You become able to
- Orchestrate your most valuable resources (like time, energy, attention, and focus) to enhance your overall life satisfaction and well-being
- Reduce clutter in mind, heart, body and home
- Design simple, flexible, organizing systems to serve your optimal functioning
- Master the 8 Habits of Personal and Emotional Agility
- Establish new habits and modify existing habits
If you are highly creative, intelligent, or ultra-sensitive or empathic, or have a high level of emotional, cognitive, or sensory intensity, your brain is literally wired differently from the average brain. Chances are your daily life is far more challenging and painful than it is for others. Living in a world that is NOT designed to fit you hurts.
But that does NOT mean you are defective. To me it means you have a need to be understood, accepted, and respected. And a need for your strengths to be recognized, appreciated, cultivated and used to minimize the impact of whatever your “weak” areas may be.
Today, we all need mental and emotional agility: the ability to
- appreciate cognitive differences,
- listen and communicate in ways that respect differences, and to
- resolve the inevitable conflicts without resorting to verbal or physical violence.
Mental and emotional agility is what enables us to:
- break through stuckness,
- see ourselves in new ways, and
- use our current challenges as springboards to personal growth and fulfillment.
What is Agile Life Design?
Trying to fix yourself to fit your vision of how you “should” be, or how you “should” do things, doesn’t work in the long term. What really works is learning how to design your life to fit you as you are – AND – to grow with you as you evolve. I call this Agile Life Design.
Agile Life Design™ is about seeing your life as a learning laboratory – a kind of design studio where you get to experience life as an adventure in learning about yourself and how you organically learn, evolve, and grow.
For example, a key skill in Agilizen is learning how lead yourself to “acquire a taste” for doing what’s good for you. When you do things in a way that fits you – it naturally feels good to do it.
You can learn to like things that are “good for you” — even if you currently dislike or resist doing them. It’s a power tool we all have, but most of us don’t have an instructional manual for mastering it. Together, Agile Life Design™ and Agilizen provide that manual.
- You can teach yourself to LOVE the power of setting limits.
- You can teach yourself to LOVE saying NO to commitments that you don’t really have the time or energy to follow through on.
- You can even learn to LOVE letting go of clutter.
We emerge victorious when we feel entitled to:
- embrace our strengths
- own our imperfections
- release shame
- feel we already are good enough even as we continue to seek to grow.
We win the bigger game of life when we are able to
- see ourselves in our wholeness
- fill the holes in our souls with self-compassion
- cultivate our strengths as we create a new story about who we are.
Although our potential is not actually limitless, our potential is not fixed – it evolves and changes as often as we do. Mastering the 8 Dances of Life using Agile Life Design skills along with the AgiliZen Self-Leadership mindset, expands your potential to manifest the more satisfying life you having been yearning for and maybe even looking in all the wrong places for.
No matter where you are starting from, it is possible for you to become more confident, more comfortable in your own skin, less overwhelmed, less cluttered and more organized.
You can evolve in ways you can’t even imagine right now. You can heal addictions, change unwanted habits, and cultivate and shape new habits.
AgiliZen is about adding skills and resources to your success toolkit and empowering you to agilize your own unique path to success. AgiliZen doesn’t give you all the answers, but it does help you ask better questions and become your own leader – capable of designing a life that fits and brings out the best in you.
Ready to to learn more?
Resources for Exploring AgiliZen™ and Agile Life Design™
Blogging for me is like a “lab” where I learn, create, experiment, try out new ideas and share my learning in real time. The ideas here are not always 100% polished, but since I’m always learning and growing, they are never “done” anyway. : ) I do my best to communicate clearly, but if you find something confusing or encounter a typo, let me know and I’ll correct it when I can. To help me focus and manage my own perfectionist tendencies, I purposefully apply the 80/20 rule before publishing. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t have a website or blog online at all. Thanks for understanding!
Below are some of my most popular articles…
- The 8 Habits of Personal and Emotional Agility
- Agilizing Your Mind: Unlearning Clutter Thinking Habits
- 5 Steps to Cultivating the Power of Habit
- Chronic Procrastination: How we Learn to Procrastinate.
- What Causes Chronic Disorganization – How to Heal the Trauma
- Is it Adult ADHD or Creative Personality Type?
- Also See Best of My Articles
Agile Living Reading List Offers recommendations for books that offer empowerment rather than prescribing how you “should be” or “should do” things. When you are “different,” you are vulnerable to experiencing deep disappointment in yourself when you read self-help books that target neurotypicals and offer trendy conventional wisdom and advice. Books that teach you how to design your own custom-designed, unconventional, and even counter-intuitive strategies for getting things done will be far more likely to help you get satisfying results.
Philosophical Foundations of my Approach to Coaching
I am an advocate of respect-based contextual psychology based on acceptance of individual needs, and using education and cognitive skills training, along with necessary medical support to help people live more satisfying lives with cognitive and neurological diversity.
My hope is that AgiliZen will
- provide resources for people to better understand the ways we are different from each other and promote acceptance, respect and advocacy for our brain-based differences in personality, learning styles, and cognitive processing
- teach the skills needed to negotiate and design solutions that meet the needs or people whose needs and values are different, and whose thinking, learning, information processing, decision-making and organizing styles are not easily controlled.
- make the complex concepts of agile self-leadership easier to learn and apply to our personal lives.
- challenge our cultural bias which idealizes controllist thinking as a superior way to get things done
- promote iterative design thinking and agilizing as the new “default” for how we approach complex problem solving
- encourage full spectrum thinking about attention management challenges – rather than labeling attention management and self-control challenges as personal defects, deficits and illnesses, see them as indicators of biological differences which when cultivated have valuable applications in certain contexts.Even though unusual traits and brain differences may create performance challenges in certain contexts which designed for “average” or neurotypical people, such as traditional teacher centered classrooms and workplaces that require sticking to schedules and routines, these same traits can be powerful strengths and valuable assets in contexts where improvisation and the ability to challenge the way things are, and respond to frequently changing, urgent, non-routine needs are helpful – such as in an emergency room situation, or doing creative project work.
In 2012, I became a member of the Association for Contextual Behavior Science which promotes the compassionate and respect-based application of contextual cognitive and behavioral science to alleviate human suffering and promote human well being. This includes
- ACT (Acceptance & Commitment Therapy) – Shares similar foundation to my approach to compassion, acceptance and respect-based coaching and organic learning.
- RFT (Relationship Frame Theory) (Simply put: We learn our sense of self and learn to define our likes, dislikes, boundaries, limits and more in relationship to our contexts / environments, the language we speak, the stories we tell, the metaphors we acquire for life, time, risk-taking, trust, organizing, motivation, and more. Because so much of ourselves is learned through unintentional shaping, becoming aware of how this works and mastering the ability to design experience that shape us consciously is our best hope for humanely changing ourselves and our habits.
- The philosophy of Functional Contextualism
(Our identities, emotions and behaviors are driven by our philosophical assumptions and metaphors about our contexts. Because people and behaviors change when their context or environment changes, people usually thrive and heal best when their environment fits their unique needs.)