What is “Becoming Agile?”
Becoming Agile is about healing stuckness in all its forms from the inside out. Whether the stuckness shows up as chronic overwhelm, procrastination, being late most of the time, excess clutter, disorganization, addiction, stress, illness, fatigue, depression, anxiety, chronic dissatisfaction, resentment or negative thinking – whatever it is, if it isn’t fatal – stuckness can get better. Becoming agile and cultivating agility is the way. Cultivating personal agility is a journey of cultivating an agile heart and mindwhile alsobuilding a healthy relationship with yourself and with what I call the 8 Dances of Life
Agile doesn’t promote “one-size fits all” strategies or “fool-proof” techniques or complicated systems. The raw materials of what you need to dissolve the “invisible glue” of stuckness is inside you already. Like little seeds in the garden, the answers just need a little cultivating – sun and water – to bring them to life.
Agility is about developing fluency, competence and EASE with rolling with life’s curve balls – whatever the source. It’s about understanding the dynamics of FLOW and the pressures and obstacles that impede flow.
Agility is something everyone needs to succeed, but people who are different from the majority need it even more. We are often so deeply misunderstood by the world around us that it is, unfortunately, quite common for us to experience chronic suffering and emotional trauma that results in being labeled with a “disorder.” What we often really have is injuries, like the way someone running a marathon wearing shoes that don’t fit would have.
What I do as an Agile Life Design, Work Design and Productivity Coach
I coach and mentor individuals, professionals and self-employed people seeking to optimize personal satisfaction with themselves, their lives, their relationships, and their life’s work.
My Agile Life Design coaching approach is both an art and a science. I don’t use a one-size-fits all system. You are too smart and your time is too precious to waste it doing anything less than fully understanding and zooming in on your unique needs and designing custom strategies to help you cultivate yourself and optimize your intentions for your life.
I use an integrative, organic approach that emphasizes designing life to ”fit” you over fixing YOU to fit your life. Fixing something that isn’t broken just doesn’t work.
I use an intuitive, custom, needs-centered partnering approach to help you see the personal strengths and unfulfilled needs you either can’t see or have been reluctant to look at. From there we can start strategizing and designing as much frustration and overwhelm out of your life as we can, with the least amount of pain and effort, one little bit at a time. As the stuckness loosens bit by bit, inevitably the layers of resistance transform into inspired, seemingly effortless action – in other words you develop new habits. What people call “effortless” isn’t really effortless, it only feels that way because you have resolved the conflicts, mastered the ingredient skills, and done it enough times that you developed “fluency” or formed a habit. For example, riding a bike is not effortless. It’s a skill that is so fluent for you it seems effortless.
Together, we look for opportunities to optimize where you are right now and increase your “readiness” to develop the “fluencies” and habits that enable you to up-level to the next rung of success. Trusting the iterative nature of tolerable change, over time the more satisfying, meaningful life and seemingly effortless work you dream of emerges.
Work Life Agility – Evolving your GREAT WORK
I partner with you to “agilize” your approach to your work – designing lots of little “easy buttons” to help you figure out what matters and get it done. Our goal is to “make the greatest impact with the least amount of time, effort and pain and wherever possible, make even the boring bits of life downright FUN.
Becoming agile is about developing the ease and confidence to fully be yourself, step into your higher purpose, and do what it takes to produce your “Great Work” even though you can’t always “control” when and how it gets done.
Your great work doesn’t have to be dramatic as dramatic as say, “ending poverty.” It may be that you want to become a more confident and effective parent, spouse, teacher, therapist, coach, nurse, engineer, designer, or self-employed business person. Or perhaps you feel called to design a worklife that really fits and nourishes instead of drains you.
My “great work” is serving YOU in figuring out how to earn a living and still LOVE your life and work.
I share the life design, emotional agility and self-leadership skills that turned my roller coaster nightmare life into more of a joy ride. I coach and guide people to transform their inner “culture” from self-critical to self-accepting and self-encouraging. In a culture of acceptance people flourish. I support you in really seeing and valuing yourself, and designing your life, work and relationships to fit better and evolve with you as you evolve.
Becoming Agile means becoming ready to interatively change as you evolve the story that is your life. It’s about finding your source of deep inner confidence – even if part of you is scared. It means accepting that your needs and interests have always changed and will continue to change. Agile Life Design means designing your life to change with you — without leaving a wake that drives yourself and other people crazy.
Agility is about becoming:
- Need-responsive and adaptive in your thoughts, beliefs, habits, systems and actions.
- Truly alive, dynamic and able to “roll” with life in a gentler way.
- Mastering the power of agile boundary setting and expectation management.
- Confident that whatever life throws your way, you will be able to navigate the white waters as well as the good times.
- Aware of and trusting that everything is connected – so where you start is not nearly as important as actually getting started. : )
When you change one small root or “keystone” habit, many things in your life start to change. All of our “sticky points” or “pain points” are connected to each other by common thought habits. Gaining fluency in even the smallest new habit builds muscles that empower you change even bigger habits. With each tiny shift, your whole being uplevels a bit, and soon you start seeing improvements even in areas you weren’t focusing on. It’s like cooking a soup – any ingredient you add or change will affect the flavor of the whole soup.
I didn’t invent the Agile Values and Philosophy, it has evolved through the distillation of my life experience in learning 4 languages, living and working in a bilingual, multicultural environment (Miami), healing my own PTSD and addictions that came from growing up with extreme domestic violence, embracing the pain and intensity that comes with being freakishly addicted to insight and learning, and combining that with my multi-disciplinary consulting work in the fields of organizational development, human performance engineering, learning performance facilitation, change management, multicultural communication, diversity, automation and control systems design.
I’ve lived through what many people feel should be too much for a human being to bear, but luckily, I’m not just any average human being…today, I’m proud to wear my freak flags…they are what got me through and helped me learn how to heal all those injuries and flourish.
A litte bit of “backstory”
Back in the early 90′s Peter Senge (the 5th Discipline) and Margaret Wheatley (read my review of Leadership and the New Science which was published in the HRD Quarterly here) wrote classic leadership books that changed my life. Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman was another game changer. I read these for work, but they helped transform my entire life in ways that probably the authors would be shocked by. To me, they were teaching the skills I needed to manage the ADHD I didn’t even know I had.
The Agile Manifesto was introduced in 2001 as a radical approach to organic, iterative design and development of software (I designed and developed web-based learning and performance support systems and did user interface and information design.)
The Agile approach is fundamentally about facilitating (instead of controlling) teams to develop systems and software even though the needs keep changing before you can finish the project.
Sounds a lot like living with ADHD, right? What I learned is that not being naturally good at “self-control” isn’t the end of the world. There are even BETTER and more satisfying ways to live and what looks like ADHD might actually be a gift of Agility Aptitude that LOTS of people wish they had. The very same people that try to get us to “control” ourselves wish they could free themselves like we can! Don’t get me wrong, raw agility can be painful. It requires cultivation just like horses require taming in order to be useful to us. But you do have a natural aptitude for it and Agile Life Design Skills help you cultivate it.
What I love about the Agile philosophy is that it respects the reality of life as a constantly changing set of needs that must be addressed. You can’t just ignore needs or they take over. Anyone who has ever experienced an addiction understands the power of an unfulfilled need. We all have the need to be listened to and deeply understood, be appreciated for who we are. We all need to feel significant and worthy of love. When these needs are invalidated, discounted, neglected because they are “different” or if they go unfulfilled for too long, they cause people to act out in devastating ways.
Over-eating, over-working, over-explaining, over-apologizing, over-shopping, mounting debt, hoarding, clutter, drinking and drug use (or whatever it is that you are using to help you manage your internal roller coaster) are just a few of the signs that we are war with ourselves. Understanding your unique needs, how to resolve the conflicts in a satisfying way, and how to design your life without having to over-schedule and over-control or constantly fight with yourself is a life skill that is as fundamental as walking is to us.
My approach to agile life design includes agile emotional processing skills which empower you to reduce your stress response enough so that you can continuously design healthier ways to fulfill your fundamental needs.
Conventional approaches define the way things “should” be and then go about trying to make things fit that “ideal”. In that world view,
You compare things to a “standard” or “ideal” and if it isn’t the way you think it “should” be – it’s a “problem” to be “fixed.”
This way of thinking has been great in some areas – like fixing cars and computers, but when applied to human beings, it’s poisoning our ability to enjoy life – it’s a RECIPE for depression and anxiety.
The Agile Approach is about shifting from “fixing” yourself as if you were broken, to figuring out what you need and designing your life to meet multiple needs simultaneously.
It’s about shifting your personal inner “culture” from criticism to cultivation mode, from “problem-centric” to “need-centric.”
My life’s work is helping you see the “invisible” forces shaping your beliefs, thoughts and actions. Once you can see them, you can start SHIFTING from fix-it mode to cultivating mode. You won’t be able to stop yourself from designing the “conditions” that enable your success. It’s so much easier than trying to live in other people’s “shoes” of success. When you start seeing yourself with new lens, you can’t help but be inspired to make the most of who you are. You are beautiful just as you are.
You can design more success into your life. But contrary to popular opinion, you can’t control everything and therefore the idea that “potential” or “success” for any one individual is unlimited is patently false and DEEPLY injurious to those that labor under the illusion that they “could” have anything they want. That is exactly the kind of invisible thinking that inadvertently makes people miserable – so I refuse to give in to the pressure and get on the Unlimited Success bandwagon.
Here’s the deal. If you are a plane, you can’t function like a car and succeed. But you can be a GREAT PLANE! That’s what I do…help people see their own value so that they can get on with designing their lives accordingly.