Top 3 Reasons Agile Self-Leadership beats Self-Control as a Peak Performance Strategy

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.

I love the way NYU Professor and author of the excellent book Ungifted: Intelligence RedefinedScott Barry Kaufman  defines self-control.

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Asking for what you need without over-explaining.

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 i-am-enough
  • “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

Resisting the War on Resistance. BOOK REVIEW of “The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles”

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.

war of-art-steven-pressfield

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

5 Steps to Cultivating the Power of Habit with Agile Thinking Habits

 

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

Chronic Procrastination and Resistance: How we Learn to Procrastinate.

 How do we learn to procrastinate?

We are waging a cultural war against procrastination and inner resistance as if they were evil itself. I believe it is time to STOP the War and START negotiating a peace treaty with yourself.  Persistent patterns of procrastination are the outer manifestations or signposts of inner conflict and resistance.  

Procrastination is the result you get when one part of you is trying to get the rest of you to do something using tactics like: ordering, coercing, pressuring, tricking, or even bullying yourself to do it.

Resistance can only exist when there is some kind of pushing, pressure, or force trying to get you to do something you don’t want to do, or aren’t ready or willing to do at this time for some reason.    Continue reading

The 8 Habits of Personal Agility and Resilience that Fuel Optimal Functioning

Updated: April 29, 2014, July 17, 2014, December 2014, May 2015


Personal Agility is about having a sense of EASE with rolling with life’s curve balls – whatever the source.

Agile Zone of Peak Performance and ImprovisationPersonal Agility enables you to live in the Agile Zone of optimal functioning – feeling relatively in charge, secure and confident in your ability to ride the waves that come with living the unpredictable, uncontrollable creative life.

What is the Agile Zone™ of Optimal Functioning and Peak Performance?

The Agile Zone™ is what I call your sweet spot of optimal functioning – the place where you experience life without feeling overwhelmed or powerless – where you feel hopeful, capable, and able to get things done.  It includes your high energy, peak performance and creative flow states, as well as your low energy states where you still can get things done.  Your Agile Zone includes

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Agile Self-Leadership – Think of the parts of yourself as an inner team you lead – not control

I find that when self-control is either not an option, or simply not working, thinking of myself as having an inner  team requiring agile self-leadership is extremely helpful in getting things done. My team members are:

1. Inner Visionary – The Imaginative Self and Inner Delegator

The part of me that thinks about what needs doing or what is possible, what could be, thinks ahead and sees so much potential.InnerTeam-agile-self-leadership

 

2. Inner Designer and Agilizer

The part of me that listens to the vision, and to all the other parts of me and designs strategies to manifest the vision.

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