I’ve always liked frameworks. Going back to my school days, I appreciated it when my teachers and professors taught using frameworks. Why? If I knew the right framework to apply, solving problems got much simpler but still allowed personal creativity. It gave me a feeling of security – I had something solid to lean on.
This is also why I like the Agile Best Self Principles. As you have read in our stories, this set of principles, also a framework, gives me something stable I can use to work through challenging situations in my work and life.
But where are we going, really? Good question. Sounds like we need another framework, or at least something we can lean on a little bit to see if it holds. This is what I am sharing today, a first cut at an Agile Best Self Journey framework. It’s a solid first draft, ready for the world to help make it better.
Notice that it is a cycle: a) this journey never really ends; and b) there is no prescribed starting point. I believe (and Michaele agrees) in this particular journey it is important to start where you are and work your way around the cycle. I also think it is possible, and practical, to put these pieces in whatever order you wish. Maybe you already have some good methods in place, and maybe focusing on connecting these to your values makes sense. Sounds good. If you are like me, and like a more linear approach, start with the North Star perhaps. Be where you are and go from there!
Ok, here it is. As you can see, I have been honing some of my own Methods – I learned some drawing skills by taking a Bikablo class.
We’ve written a bit about the North Star already. The North Star is a word or phrase that describes who you intrinsically are. Having a deep connection with our North Star helps us show up authentically more often, with more ego resiliency. A clear North Star also helps bring clarity when deciding how to respond in life situations. This level of clarity helps us access our true self in most any situation.
This one is pretty self-explanatory. One definition of values, according to Oxford Languages, is “a person’s principles or standards of behavior; one’s judgment of what is important in life.” I like to think of values as the guardrails I put in place to help shape the choices I make many times a day.
Vision is just what it sounds like. I like to think about it as my Just Cause. Just Cause is a concept from Simon Sinek’s book, The Infinite Game. Read the book to learn more. It was one of my favorite books over the past few years. Just Cause has five elements to it: 1) it’s for something you believe in; 2) inclusive; 3) service-oriented; 4) resilient; and 5) idealistic. Sounds like the recipe for a great vision statement.
In the Agile Best Self sense, the Vision (or your Just Cause) describes where you are headed — who do you want to be? Or, what outcome or impact to the world do you want to create? It should have the same strong, personal connection, much like the North Star.
Methods refer to the actions you are taking to create a better version of you. Maybe it’s focused on your self-care, maybe it’s something you are learning, maybe it’s something else. Maybe it is taking a Bikablo class to be able to visualize your ideas more clearly. The main thing is it has a bias toward action. I like to think about Methods and Measures working together. Used in alignment with the rest of the journey framework, Methods work as experiments you run on yourself, based on your own curiosity, to drive yourself toward your Vision.
Measures describe the data you go to for calibrating your progress. There may be quite a large number of measures. For me, some measures are self-care related, such as weight, blood pressure, quality of sleep, step counts. I also look at happiness data, like Scrum teams do, to catch trends. There are many more, for sure, and they are different for everyone.
The picture above shows two Hoberman Balls. I just recently learned that this is what these spheres were called. I think these two pictures show how our journeys look and feel. On the left – the tight little ball where the sphere is clamped down – this may be how something less than our best might feel like. This is when our inner critic is getting us down or causing us to tighten up; or there are some very real obstacles causing us to engage in ego-protective behavior and be less than we can be. We all face these challenges, there is no denying that. On the right -the expanded ball with lots of space – might be what our best self looks like: our tank is full and we are authentically showing up, resilient, and being our very best. Maybe we are equal parts wobbly and resilient. But hopefully, with the help of a framework, such as the Agile Best Self Journey, we can spend more time like the figure on the right: open to possibility and expanded to our potential. That’s my wish for all of us.
So there it is. We are ready for the world to vet out and help us improve this framework. Michaele and I want to help others. Sounds a little like Principle 1 at work, don’t you think?
Agile Best Self Principle #1: Our highest priority is to be our best self and enable others to be their best selves.
Copyright © 2021 Michaele Gardner and Brian Hackerson