One of the things I like about working with frameworks, such as Scrum, is it gives us a common language from which to share and advance ideas. Without a shared understanding of terminology, our interactions can get muddy very quickly.
With that in mind, I was reflecting on our experiences sharing the 12 Agile Best Self Principles at the Global Scrum Gathering this week, and with some new faces entering our community led me to define what “Best Self” means so we can build great interactions as we pursue ways to be our best selves.
To get the ball rolling, let’s look at the words independently. I went to Google and asked for definitions. As an adjective, best is defined as “of the most excellent, effective or most desirable type or quality”. The term is used to describe the quality of something relative to others. Self is a noun that is defined as “a person’s essential being that distinguishes them from others, especially considered as the object of introspection or reflexive action”. I like to think of the personal philosophy as a good definition of me (self). For me, it is to be a light. I strive to use that to decode all of the information that buzzes around me, and the best version of me shows up when I intentionally be a light in each encounter in the day.
Then it makes sense that our best self is our unique, essential being that is the most excellent, effective or desirable.
What’s missing is the element of time, I think. We do not or cannot show up as our very best all of the time. Maybe you’re sick? Maybe you are tired or stressed? Some days, our best self is to just show up. Or maybe our best self today is to focus on rest and recovery so that our best self can show up when it is needed.
What is your personal philosophy? Does it describe your best self?
I’m sitting here in my hotel room with a brain that’s full to the brim, and a heart to match. The Global Scrum Gathering 2019 in Austin just closed, and I am finding myself needing to write some stuff down before I can lay my head down to sleep.
First, I am so grateful for all of the organizers and volunteers for putting on an event that is so full of meaning. There is a lot that goes into this, and that is not lost on me. I had a chance to volunteer this year by reviewing presentation submissions, as well, and got a cool surprise of a behind the scenes tour of Austin City Limits, home of the PBS live music show (I’m going to go back and find some old video from that show).
I came here with two objectives: to learn from others to get better as a Scrum professional, and to share our work on the Best Self Principles and grow that network. But what I got was so much more.
Agile Best Self Principle #10: Simplicity – focusing on what energizes your best self — is paramount.
The first thing I noticed right away on Monday was that I was recalling how I felt one year ago, when I was at the low point of my transformation journey from traditional management to Agile leader. Or, maybe another way to think about that feeling was the beginning of the growth trajectory. It became immediately obvious how much my mindset had shifted and how different I felt. That was an awesome feeling, I must say. I felt like I was “in the game” and worthy of having a voice in this community.
I got a chance to see some awesome presenters showing their thought leadership on Scrum mechanics and Agile leadership. The Daniel Pink keynote was incredible also, talking about the Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing. Some great insights about knowing your cycles and considering where you are to help you lead your team better. I especially resonated with Braz Brandt’s talk about self-care for Scrum Masters, building on the idea of being on an airplane and putting your oxygen mask on first before assisting others. It was great to meet and chat with Braz and hopefully we will see him pop up in our Best Self Linked In community soon.
Monday wrapped up with the volunteer reception at Austin City Limits, as I mentioned, and a great party with a live band, not to mention some great food. The Scrum Gathering attendees know how to have a good time.
Tuesday was OpenSpace day. Michaele and I decided facilitating an OpenSpace session would be a great way to get some feedback on the 12 Agile Best Self Principles, and continue to “turn up the good” by growing the community. So we went for it! My first ever OpenSpace.
It was an amazing experience with 8 engaged attendees listening and sharing their own stories, including someone who was on a self-care journey resulting in a 100+ pound weight loss. Inspirational! I feel even stronger that we’re on to something here. I also attended a few other sessions, and I’ll probably share some thoughts in separate posts. The OpenSpace wrapped up with a walking tour of all the artifacts from the sessions and we could take pictures. I got a chance to meet a lot of additional people who were curious, and got a chance to share our story
Most of the final day was spent in a focused training session on Build Your Own Scrum, a tool created by Adam Weisbart. Adam is a Scrum Trainer (among other things) but is widely know for this video. This class will help me deliver a training experience that will get rid of PowerPoint material and will be much more interactive and interesting.
The closing keynote was from Chris Messina, the dude who invented the hashtag. Interesting story about how it came into being, and what he learned. It was a great way to close this event out, as his key point (see picture below) describes what I feel like as I leave this event, and take the Best Self principles forward to bring more good in the world. I am feeling as though I am far more wealthy than when I came. See you all next year in NYC!
Agile Best Self Principle #11: The best inspirations and insights emerge from like-hearted communities.
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