I get asked this question often, so I thought I’d share my response to an email I received. Hope it helps you get unstuck and decide where to start agilizing, too. Continue reading
Self-Leadership is a term that to my knowledge was first coined by Charles Manz in a article published in 1986. Manz defined self-leadership as:
“leading oneself toward performance of
naturally motivating tasks as well as
managing oneself to do work that must be done
but is not naturally motivating” 
Most of the articles and books I have read on the topic describe self-leadership in terms of taking personal responsibility and being a role model for others. As I see it, self-leadership is a whole other way to think about how we get things done, and how we grow (vs. improve) ourselves.
Cultivating agile self-leadership enhances self-confidence, goal achievement, emotional resiliency, decision-making, self-respect, self-acceptance and self-compassion.
The practice of self-leadership over time reduces stress, procrastination, anxiety, worrying, depression, as well as chronic overwhelm and dissatisfaction.
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. We all need our strengths to be recognized, appreciated, and cultivated. Agile self-leaders learn how to accept and encourage themselves and how to identify, cultivate and use their strengths to minimize the impact of whatever our “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.
If self-control has not worked for you so far, chances are excellent that you will benefit significantly from learning the art and science of Agile Self-Leadership.
AgiliZen™ is about letting go of agonizing over the things you want to change, but can’t.
Agile Self-Leadership is about 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 that keep 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 practice agile self-leadership and continuously cultivate personal agility as they grow, evolve make life better for themselves.
The 10 Mantras and Practices of AgiliZen provide a framework and curriculum for leading yourself to design your life, career, relationships and environments to fit you now — and — evolve easy in the future as you grow and your needs inevitably change. We call this “Designing for Change”
AgiliZen teaches the Agile mindset and Self-Leadership skills required to practice self-growth and self-advocacy. The classes cover self-leadership skills such as Continue reading
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?
If you are like most people today, daily living is full of unpredictable events requiring you to constantly rethink, replan, and reprioritize.
One of the most commonly recommended strategies for getting things done today is to cultivate more “self-control.” The idea is that if you had more self-control you could get more done — and operate at “peak performance” level more often — because after all “normal” successful people have a lot of self-control, right? That’s the common working assumption in our culture. Rarely do you hear anyone talking about self-leadership or leading yourself to get things done.
But when you really think about it…what is self-control? Every one has their own definition, and many usually say something like “we don’t really mean “control.” Are we just too lazy to find a more accurate way to describe how we get ourselves to do things? I propose that “Agile Self-Leadership“ is a much more precise, meaningful and inspiring way to think about how we cultivate and optimize our own performance.
How do you get people to understand ADHD and how it affects your needs?
I get asked this question a lot. Here’s a few ideas to help you agilize advocating for yourself in a gracious, undemanding, yet confident way.
After being diagnosed with ADHD at the age of 48, I went through a phase of trying to get people to understand what ADHD is and sharing with them how it explained so much of my whole life story. People’s responses ranged from
- “ADHD isn’t real” to
- “ADHD is just an excuse – it’s BS.” to
- “You don’t have ADHD. How could you? You’ve accomplished so much.” to
- “I could have told you that. My kid has it and I’ve always figured you might have it.” to
- “I have it too! No wonder we always got along so well”
The reactions were quite mixed. But one thing became clear very quickly. Continue reading
The SMART Goal Setting acronym has been around a long time. It states goals should be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely or Timeline Driven. The Agile Approach to S.M.A.R.T. Goal Setting is an updated way of setting goals that are designed to magnetize you into action. No *forcing* yourself required.
Agile goals are especially useful when it comes to dealing with goals that involve changing old habits. Agile SMART goals work for everyone, but are especially well-suited to creative types, rebels, people who are addicted to insight, gifted people, ADHD and other neurodiverse characters. The Agile approach to goals is what I teach clients and coaching group participants.
I don’t usually write about what I disagree with, but I think it’s time for me to express my opposition to cultural metaphors and myths that feed the growing epidemic of stress, anxiety, powerlessness, and feelings of inadequacy that so many people are experiencing today.
What better place to start resisting than with a best-selling book that has 309 5-star reviews and declares something as untrue as “Resistance is Evil?”
If resistance is characterized as evil…no wonder our culture destroys the confidence and self-respect of anyone who dares to be different, express dissenting ideas, or disagree with dominant values.
Today, I’ve decided to resist openly and honestly. I’m not going to be “nice” or “quiet” just to not make waves. Our cultural obsession with the idea that self-control and battling one’s inner resistance is the only way to “break through” procrastination or creative blocks must be challenged. Continue reading
Cultivating the power of habit is the ultimate productivity tool. Learning how to shape your habits is like learning how to fly a plane — once you know how, you can go just about anywhere you want to go — much faster. But first, you’ve got to learn how to fly the plane.
The thing about habits is they have different characteristics and ingredients.
How you cultivate them requires understanding the features of the habit and using strategies and tools appropriate to that habit. For example, habits range from simple to extremely complex. Some are easier to change than others.
Some habits are composed of many smaller habits and so can’t be changed all at once. Some were learned on purpose, most are learned by accident, without you even being aware you are learning them. Most habits can’t be learned on a time schedule. In fact, putting time pressure on yourself to learn them actually makes them harder to learn. That old adage that it takes 21 days to establish a habit is actually a myth. Continue reading