It’s actually just a simpler, more accurate and complete word to describe what I’ve been doing my WHOLE life!
Becoming Agile is about healing overwhelm, procrastination, clutter and disorganization by developing fluency, competence and EASE with rolling with life’s curve balls – whatever the source. It’s about FLOW. Agility is something everyone in life needs as a foundation for success.
Becoming Agile is about…
- Respectful Appreciation and Gratitude – Noticing our wholeness acknowledging our weaknesses and shortcoming while also appreciating our strengths and being grateful for what we have and focusing
- Resiliency and becoming a Master of the Art of Recovery - bouncing back from life’s disappointments
- Acceptance – Graceful flexibility in accepting what we cannot easily change and relaxing the struggle so that we can restore our creative ability to design new strategies and / or adapt
- Letting Go – Becoming ready to release “what is” to make room for what “could be” in our lives
- Cultivating Inner Team Leadership and Alignment and Conflict Resolution Skills - Making decisions by peacefully resolving inner conflict and integrating the wisdom of our whole self including logical, emotional, physical and spiritual selves into our decisions.
- Deep Commitment to meeting needs rather than becoming attached to specific outcomes – Committing more consciously and heartfully. Learning to say no gracefullly so that we can learn how and when to say yes wholeheartedly and without conflict.
- Self-Agilizing – Facilitating our own buy-in and ”readiness” to follow-through
- Using Emotions as a Guide to Adaptive Responding – Responding more effectively and adapting more easily to life’s surprises
- Teaching ourselves Habits – Learning from both our successes and mistakes and putting that learning to use.
- Energy Monitoring – Resting and Relaxing Often and without Guilt, Doing less to accomplish more.
- Open-mindedness and Objective, Respectful Listening – Noticing and Listening to ourselves and others with more curiosity and compassion and less criticism and assumption.
As you can see, Becoming Agile is about much more than organizing and productivity. Emotional and mental agility ARE critical foundations for impactful productivity. You can’t be productive if you are anxious, pressured, depressed, and/or emotionally triggered by your every perceived mistake or shortcoming, right?
Agililty is one simple word that encompasses EVERYTHING I’ve been working towards my whole life – both personally and professionally. In fact, I talked about Agile Project Management and design in several of my classes over the past couple years.
The Technical Connection
Many of you have asked about this. Yes! I was inspired by the “Agile Manifesto” and Agile Methodology for software design and development which I learned when I was designing performance support systems and software in the corporate world. (You can read my resume and bio here)
My hope is to translate the technical “Agile” manifesto into a simpler, easier to remember and understand philosophy, mindset, and skillset that we can use to make our personal and business lives work.
The Sports Connection
Some of you may relate to the concept of Agility as applied to athletes. Again, YES, the connection is intentional. In today’s world, juggling life’s demands requires a kind of athletic prowess, doesn’t it? We certainly aren’t born knowing how to deal easily with the complexity of life.
The sports definition works. According to Wikipedia, agility is defined as:
- Nimbleness in the ability to change the body’s position efficiently, and requires the integration of isolated movement skills using a combination of balance, coordination, speed, reflexes, strength, endurance and stamina.
- Integration of many components each used differently
- The capability of rapidly and efficiently adapting to changes
The 8 Habits of Agility
In my take on Agile philosophy, I think of Agility as the practice of 8 Habits that empower us to manifest desired behaviors in the physical world – whether that be sports success, productivity gains, better time and task management, connecting and collaborating with others more effectively or creating work we love.
Without agility in these 8 Habits, life is a painful struggle full of conflict and stuckness that shows up in any or all of the following ways, under-acheiving, under-earning, chronic overwhelm, frustration and/or resentment, isolating ourselves from others, inability to rest without feeling guilty or lazy, clutter, depression, anxiety, procrastination, and addictions – just to name a few.
1. Mental agility – the habit of mindfully adapting your strategies to fulfill the needs, functions, tasks or decisions at hand
2. Emotional agility – the habit of consciously designing the intensity of our emotional lives and utilizing our emotional energy to navigate life. We cannot fully control our emotional lives, but we can influence and facilitate our emotional well-being to support both our short and long term best interests. The habit of “agilizing” our attachments to things, ideas, information, people, solutions, systems, technology etc are all included in this. The ability to attach consciously, deeply and yet lightly so that we can detach more easily when necessary is a critical skill for the digital age or rapid change. Agile attachments are the key to emotional agility.
3. Task agility – the habit of regularly supporting ourselves in transitioning from one task, project, or function to the next without fear that we won’t get back to it. The habit of trusting that tasks can be achieved in more flexible, non-linear ways and designing task completion strategies around the ways our brains naturally work.
4. Attention agility - the habit of mindfully “paying attention to the way we pay attention”. Becoming aware of how our attention cycles work, our natural limits, what diverts it, and what helps us refuel and sustain it, so that we can facilitate our ability to focus by designing our commitments and environments with this precious resource in mind.
5. Belief agility – the habit of noticing the incomplete and inaccurate beliefs that are shaping our emotional life, our decisions and our behaviors. Understanding how our culture, language, and interactions with others have shaped our nonverbal unconscious and often self-limiting beliefs. The habit of bringing beliefs into awareness, compassionately challenging them, consciously designing our beliefs, and facilitating our inner nonverbal learner to integrate the new beliefs that support our growth, development and accomplishment.
6. Learning agility – the habit of recognizing when we have a need to learn something new, and when we need to “unlearn” something. Understanding that learning requires patience and an an open mind, we develop the habit of becoming willing to practice, to tolerate and even encourage mistakes, and the habit of acknowledging, appreciating and celebrating effort and slow progress, not just completion. The habit of advocating for our personal learning facilitation needs (learning styles) is also part of this. The habit of learning agility is what is needed to integrate and ACT on what we “know” but are still having trouble putting into action. If we aren’t putting what we know into action, some ingredient of full learning is missing, rather than “blame” or criticize ourselves that learning “should” be easy, we seek to figure out what is needed to complete the learning.
7. Commitment agility – the habit of designing our commitments to make it easier to follow-through as well as to gracefully juggle them, adjust them as needed, or exit from them when necessary. Trusting ourselves to dance with our commitments with confidence. Trusting ourselves to juggle our commitments with our basic self-care needs to ensure none of them are ritually and consistently sacrificed at the expense of our well-being. This includes the way we make decisions, say Yes, say No, and the way we focus our energy and attention so that we are not overwhelmed or debilitated by our commitments.
8. Expectation agility – the habit of articulating and clarifying the expectations and assumptions that are at the root of all inner conflict, frustration, disappointment and dissatisfaction. Once articulated clearly, we can proceed to negotiating and re-negotiating our expectations so that we can design more flexibility AND follow-through into our commitments without becoming “prisoners of our promises.” They are the basis on which we compare ourselves to others and deeply shape the way we judge ourselves. Ineffective expectations are usually too rigid or too loose. In either case, they deeply shape our ability to function in life. The habit of being able to modify and adjust our expectations to fit the realities of our present circumstances is the foundation of our ability to motivate ourselves and find greater life satisfaction.
Hope you found this article on Becoming Agile helpful. To be notified when more articles like this are published, join my mailing list here.
If you like this article and wish to share it with others I would be honored, however I ask you to only share quotes and link them back to this article as it will be updated often. If you really want to reprint it contact me to discuss how you would like to use it.