A Different Definition of Recovery

Over the past few years, I have put a great deal of focus on becoming a professional Scrum trainer. Not just a Scrum trainer, but a great Scrum trainer. I chose this path after developing the belief that well-executed Scrum can have lasting impact on teams and the lives of people on the teams — not to mention the lives that are impacted by the products that are created.

There was a point in the early days of this journey where I felt woefully underprepared and overmatched — I couldn’t be a light in the moment that I needed to be, and I was beginning to question whether or not this was the right path for me. There’s that Inner Critic again. I realized that I hadn’t yet done the work; there was no strong foundation to build from yet.

For the purposes of this conversation, I believe we are in one of two states — 1) times when I am in flow, where I am being my best self, and 2) recovery, defined by doing ALL the things necessary to enable flow to happen more often. It’s a slightly different definition of recovery. Most of the time we think about recovery as the self-care things we need to do — eat well, rest, exercise. I think these are all good things, and we should do them. Necessary, but not sufficient. I learned this concept from Dr. Michael Gervais. Check out his podcast to learn about his work.

Elite performers in all walks of life have this broader definition of recovery — what are all the things they have to do to be their best self? In Gladwell’s book, Outliers, he talks about a minimum of 10,000 hours of dedicated focus to become an expert. Applying the earlier definition of recovery, it’s likely significantly more time when you count up everything.

Back to my journey — I went about trying to figure out what skills, habits and the supporting people I needed to build my desired state. I learned that I needed to add some skills in the grey space — so I attended some targeted meetups and took a class or two. I needed a support structure, so I found the right community to join to get me the support. When the pandemic hit, that added a new wrinkle, so I had to shift my thinking to delivering compelling training online. Finally, I just needed to stand up and do it — and learn how to do it better each time. I’m please to share that this focus has moved me from feeling at times wholly incompetent to confident, but still very hungry to improve. I still love this journey, and I have found you have to love the sometimes tedious work to get there. To be fair, I have a long ways to go to get to 10,000 hours, but I am on the path. I find that when I am leading training, I often experience flow — time ceases to exist when I am there, and it feels awesome!

“There are two parts to resiliency. Recovery and rebounding. Think of resilience as bouncing forward from a setback.”

Dr. Michael Gervais, High Performance Psychologist

Putting in the work is what got me there. I needed the receipts to manage my own inner dialogue, build confidence, and in the process developed some resiliency — all of which fuels the skill of optimism. When I get up in front of class now, I expect something good to happen.

If you are looking to build out your recovery framework, our Agile Best Self Principles are there to help. Principle 3,4,7,9,11 an 12 directly deal with recovery by the earlier definition. You could argue the others can help with recovery indirectly. Principle 7, though, is the one that hit me between the eyes when thinking about recovery.

Agile Best Self Principle #7: Investing the time in yourself is the primary measure of progress.

So, my question is, how could you use the Agile Best Self Principles to build your own recovery framework, using the recovery definition offered above, to create the foundation to be your best self as often as possible?

Copyright © 2018 – 2023 Michaele Gardner and Brian Hackerson

Published by Brian Hackerson

My personal philosophy is to be a light.

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