You Are Awesome

Not too long ago, I had the privilege of reconnecting with some great friends as a part of a larger community focused on a worthy cause.  I had not been in the same space with these people since 2019, the summer before the pandemic.  We were playing in a golf tournament using a scramble format, which means all four of us hit from the tee, and then the team plays from the spot of the best shot, and so on until the team holes a putt.  When the team is on the green putting, you ideally don’t want to put pressure on the last person to make the putt.  On this day, for some reason, we were jokingly referring to this problem as making the others superfluous by holing the putt.  At first, I couldn’t even successfully get the word out of my mouth, probably because I was already giggling before I finished saying the word. Not the best form in front of two of my teammates that are professional executive communications coaches. 

What a fun day. I laughed a lot more than I have in a long time, and it felt great.

July 2022 – BEL13VE in Miracles Foundation Golf Tourney with my friends (L to R) Chris, Tim, and Chad

The word superfluous stuck with me over the last few days as I observed that the world we are living in hasn’t gotten any less volatile, uncertain, complex, or ambiguous (as an acronym, it is commonly known as VUCA).  The velocity of VUCA has not slowed down, and it likely will not anytime soon.

I have wondered lately if, at times, people feel superfluous, and vulnerable.  I know it has happened to me as of late.  The inner critic is at work again, like a soundtrack playing in the brain. It led me to decide to change the narrative to create my own inner advocate.

I decided to apply Agile Best Self Principle 12. For our Scrum nerds reading this, it was my own retrospective. The point of the activity was building my resiliency by reconnecting to who I am and how I have impacted others. You could even try it with a team in a sprint retrospective.

Agile Best Self Principle #12: At regular intervals, reflect on how to become your best self, then tune and adjust.

I think it’s really important to start from a position of strength, over vulnerability or weakness to build our resiliency. Personally, I started collecting my strengths and impacts I have made in other people’s lives. In doing so, I realized that no matter where I am, there is something I can do to “make the room better” rather that thinking about what I can’t do. Using your North Star, from our Agile Best Self North Star workshop really helped because that added authenticity to it. Think about filling in the <blanks> to this statement:

I was <your North Star> when I <showed up authentically in some way> and as a result this <awesome thing> happened!

Example: I was a light when I shared an Agile Best Self North Star with Michaele to my co-workers and one year later “Jane” shared that she still uses the drawing she created to connect daily with her North Star.

Now imagine reading a longer list of these statements, isn’t that powerful? It helped remember my ability to make a difference by showing up as my best self. Quite the opposite to feeling superfluous. Even in VUCA times, there is much we can all do to make a difference with others.

I hope you give it a try.

Copyright © 2018 – 2023 Michaele Gardner and Brian Hackerson

Where is the Reset Button?

I’m coming up on the end of a break from work. Our company closes during the week of the Independence Day holiday. I am a big fan of this tradition we have mostly because there will not be a pile of Slacks and emails to respond to when I return to the office.

This company and my job are great. We are building something truly special that is and will continue to change the world of work. We are growing rapidly, and our customers are benefitting from our efforts.

I am getting ready to return to work, but how could I approach things differently to increase my impact and live into my best self more often? I became curious about this.

Agile Best Self Principle #12: At regular intervals, reflect on how to become your best self, then tune and adjust.

I just passed one year at my position, so it seemed like a good idea to do a bit of a retrospective like any self-respecting agilist. This break afforded the opportunity to spend some time in reflection, and open my mind to new ideas.

In analyzing the results, it became clear that my mindset is the culprit. Over the past two plus years, and more acutely in the past year, I had developed a play-it-safe, survival-first mindset. Not altogether a bad idea, but not one where my best comes through. In this mindset, I often find myself in the middle of a lot things, and not out in front leading. Adding to this is the weight of everything that is happening in the world around us, which makes it harder for our best to show up every day.

The reason for this, I have determined for myself, is that accountability and autonomy are not aligned. This is a problem I can work on fixing. I need to turn this into a mindset where I can effectively and authentically lead, which should translate into more personal satisfaction and better results for those I get to serve. I have identified where these imbalances exist, and can work on fixing them collaboratively. In other words, I will go after what I really want, which is to be able to have a better understanding of my role and purpose in the organization, and I know I can take care of the rest.

The second thing is that I have chosen over the past year to reduce my contribution to this community. This is also caused my best self journey to take a backseat. Before I took this new role, contributing to this community helped shape my journey and made a big change possible.

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

I can address this in a mashup of Principle 7 and 8. Investing time in this community going forward, which is a focus on being more. Making time to write, create podcasts, and maybe even some new workshops (are you ready, Michaele?) will be on the backlog.

Looking forward to it!

Copyright © 2018 – 2023 Michaele Gardner and Brian Hackerson