Designing a Life that Embraces Your Differences

Agile Life Design is about adapting your life as it changes and establishing flexible expectations, goals, and standards for designing environments that support you in fulfilling your needs.  

why-be-normalIt’s about understanding and accepting yourself.  It’s owning your power to negotiate expectations, rules, standards and commitments.  You don’t have to blindly conform to expectations without questioning them.  

You have a right to co-design your life based on understanding yourself, respecting yourself, graciously insisting on respect and consideration from others and offering respect and consideration.  Keeping in mind that respect does not mean “compliance without asking questions or having input into the agreement.”

If you feel deeply misunderstood by others, it’s because you are deeply misunderstanding yourself  and therefore – you  are not easily able to help others understand you – even if they truly want to understand you.  

Wanting to understand is not enough to become CAPABLE of understanding your way of thinking or being.

Understanding yourself is about cultivating Agile Self-Leadership and teaching your Inner Leader and Facilitator to become able to see and listen to yourself with curiosity and compassion instead of with judgement and criticism.

Becoming capable of negotiating with yourself and others requires deep self-understanding.  Becoming capable of designing solutions that meet many seemingly conflicting needs is the key to getting unstuck and freeing your creative and cooperative mind to from assuming there is only one “right” answer or one right way.

Becoming agile is about focusing on “fit” rather than on whether or not something is “good” or “bad” just because it’s different from you or your way of thinking.

The Agile Mindset and AgiliZen Mantras are a set of skills you can learn that empower you to cultivate the 8 Habits of Personal Agility and lead yourself with agile goals, agreements and agile commitments that allow you to change as needed to respond to a world that is constantly changing.

Life is rarely going to be predictable.  People (including ourselves) will rarely live up to our ideals of what we want, or wish, or expect, or thing they should be.

Becoming agile IS the journey that enable us to master the chaos and disruption that comes along with growth, change, transitioning, and transforming our lives from one level to the next.

Being different from the majority in fundamental ways is not an easy life. People are naturally quick to “judge” things that don’t conform to their idea of what normal is. But we don’t live in a natural world…we live in societies that demand us to override our natural instincts. Societies (and species) that don’t embrace diversity in all it’s forms eventually become extinct.

Diversity is a strength.  But living with neurodiversity requires some fairly advanced skills which are included in the 10 Mantras of Agilizen.

So what do I mean by “different” or neurodiverse?  To me, neurodiversity means having uncommon brain-based or neurologically-based personality and thinking traits.  You may be born with these traits or you may have acquired them through learning, or as a result of trauma or injury.  For example:

  • Extraordinary intelligence and/or creativity
  • ADD or ADHD
  • Forming deep attachments to “things” – to the extent that you struggle to let them go, even when your life is no longer functioning well
  • Difficulty managing time or organizing – to the extent that it causes tension in your relationships, work, and self-confidence
  • Enjoying starting new projects, but having difficulty finishing them
  • Chronic dissatisfaction such as feeling like you are not living up to your potential, or like you never are, have or do “enough”
  • Feeling like things that seem so easy for other people are difficult for you even though you are extremely bright and capable
  • Difficulty conforming to other’s expectations and rules – even in work and school settings when the consequences are high and part of you REALLY wants to
  • Difficulty with day to day routines like sleeping, eating regularly, cleaning, and organizing
  • Difficulty making decisions because you prefer to keep options open
  • Getting high on ideas, information, and learning

These are only a few of the ways you might be “different.” Being different in an environment that doesn’t encourage you to play to your strengths can be a painful life. Designing an agile lifestyle that is based on self-acceptance and designing your relationships, career, environments and systems to fit your changing needs, strengths and personality is the key to getting the “results” you want in your life.



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  1. Pingback: The Truth about Chronic Disorganization: What Causes It and How to Heal the Trauma of Lifelong Overwhelm and Frustration | Ariane Benefit, M.S.Ed

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