This article is not about how to do agile – it’s about how to be agile. Not just how to be agile at work, but how to be agile in life.
While understanding the many methods and processes around agile is needed to work on an agile team, if you only understand this part of agility, you’re missing the big picture and you’re really doing your clients a disservice.
In other words, you can understand by the book how to hold a retrospective, but if you don’t actually do any inspecting and adapting in your own life, you’re not fully embracing the concept (or the benefit) around agile.
Agile by definition is about being flexible, being quick to adapt and responding to a changing world. The meaning often gets lost and we get too focused on story points, user stories, sprint planning and the other processes and tools that go with agile. While those are all very important, sometimes they take us away from the core of what agile is all about.
Living life with agility is about learning to thrive in an ever-changing world. Its about adapting quickly when you lose a job, a business deal, a friendship or a marriage. It’s knowing where you are going on your journey in life (like a road-map), but being able to react quickly when things change (and they always do).
My husband recently shared this quote that keeps sticking in my mind, “I have a five year plan that changes daily.”
“I have a five year plan that changes daily.”
This really resonated with me. I am definitely a planner, but the more that I learned that life doesn’t go by a plan and that I need to have the necessary skills to change gears by whatever life throws at me the more agile I became. And the more agile I became, the quicker I have been able to get up when I get knocked down. And trust me, I have been knocked down a lot.
Here are 4 easy ways that you can incorporate agility into your life:
- Create a personal road-map
Write down your goals in life (or for the next 6 months to five years). Put sticky notes up with some things you will do each month to reach your goals. Every day, re-assess your plan.
- Understand your core competencies
Jobs come and go. Even careers come and go. I went to school to be a newspaper reporter. Who would have known in 1992 that the Internet would take over? What doesn’t usually change, however, is your core skill-set. Always understand what that is and look for future opportunities where your skills may be applicable.
- Study market trends
While no one can predict the future, we can get a pretty good idea by following trends in business, the economy and in our own profession. Read articles and stay informed. Only when you know what may come, can you figure out which direction to go next. You are your own product, and you are the product owner of your brand. Only when you understand your marketplace, can you make informed decisions.
- Know where you are in your life and what you value
In my 20s, I valued my creativity. I wanted to be in tune with my creative side through writing or marketing. I had a lot of energy to work hard, but thought I knew everything. In my 30s, I valued my time at home with my young children. Everything else was secondary. I made conscious decisions to put my career on the back burner in order to be home with my kids as much as possible.
In my 40s, I value my time, but in a different way than when I was younger. I want to maximize my time doing things that help me grow as a person, can help lead others and get me closer to retirement. I value learning and realize learning is a lifelong process.Think about what stage you are in your life, and realize that it will change many, many times. Make sure you are thinking not only about your current stage, but your future life stages as well.
Now, you have some tools in your toolkit to bounce back with agility when life throws you lemons! And, you can relate better to your clients because not only are you showing them how to do agile, but how to be agile.