Agile Inspiration from the Strangest of Places

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Agile Inspiration from the Strangest of Places

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I subscribe to a newsletter about living overseas. I’ve subscribed for ~10 years, dreaming that one day I might, just might retire to a sunny (and reasonably priced) haven.

The newsletter is written by Kathleen Peddichord. In the May 26th newsletter, Kathleen shared 10 lessons learned from moving around overseas. As I reviewed them, the synergy with agile principles and our mindset really struck me. So much in fact, that I decided to share them with you…

1. Patience… the kind of patience you learn doing time…

This is something that many (most) change agents really struggle with. Why? Because we typically want things to change…right…now. Or we want things to follow our way of problem-solving and solutioning. Instead of being more patient and allowing things to unfold.

By staying present and in the moment, you’ll have the patience to see how things might unfold. And be prepared to be surprised and amazed.

2. To embrace ambiguity…

Instead of struggling or getting frustrated with ambiguity, learning to roll with it. Taking on the mindset of an explorer and being energized by, surprised by, and amazed by each journey.

Looking at each as a unique learning and growth opportunity. In this sense, the sooner you simply “go with the flow”, the better off and happier you’ll be.

3. Not to mind not understanding what’s going on around me…

As I’ve lost touch with my inner software developer over time, I’ve had to become more and more comfortable with not understanding what the hell developers are talking about. In the beginning, it really bothered me. But now, I’ve embraced my inner cluelessness and can simply be curious.

Funny thing is, I can still help teams consider things more broadly. Imagine that.

4. Not to be bothered by things that don’t matter…

I’m a bit of a perfectionist. So, to be honest, everything matters to me. Everything. And when things are going poorly in an area (all areas really) I get bothered. Often triggered.

And I’ve come to realize that it doesn’t have to bother me. Not everything is important or matters. In fact, I’ve found that very few things are really worth being bothered about…and those are usually the things that I need to reframe or change within myself.

5. To savor the “Nutella” moments…

I love this point. Too often we don’t stop to recognize and savor the things that are uncovered in or unfolded on our paths. I think of this as being thankful or having gratitude.

And the first step here is to pay attention, observing carefully, and recognizing both the big and the small things. Then, savor them.

6. To let go…

This is the ultimate simplification technique. That is to let go. Let go of things, of my baggage, of my assumptions, of my biases, of my historical perceptions, of…as much as possible.

And physical things are a part of it. Do I really need all of my books or my potato head collection? Well, probably yes, but I did consider letting go of them 😉

7. To bloom where I’ve planted myself…

The world is full of grass was or is greener mindsets. Many are always looking at the past and reminiscing about it—making it bigger and better than it really was. Or looking at something else, imagining it to be better than where they are. I’m often one of these people and this idea made me reflect.

I want to endeavor to get better at blooming wherever I am. Right then. Right now. How powerful is that idea?

8. To downsize on the fly…

Another nice alignment with agility. Simply reframe downsize to simplify. And in this case, apply the simplification to, well, everything.

There is far too much human-made complexity in the world. Our mindsets should be more minimalist, reductionist, and Pareto-focused. Remember, many things don’t inherently have to be complex.

9. To ask for help…

I’ve adjusted my mindset over time from looking at asking for help as a sign of weakness or being a burden to someone. I now view it as giving the gift to allow someone to help me. Not only am I getting the assistance, but they are getting a return as well.

The return of giving back, learning, growing, and gaining a sense of paying things forward.

10. To abandon any idea, I ever had about “normal”…

This really resonated with me as I quite often judge folks on what “normal” should be. Normal leadership, normal agile practices, normal delivery, you get the idea.

Really normal is me bringing my normalized view (my baggage) into play. I’ve found that abandoning it can be incredibly freeing about what normal is.

Before you say that I’ve done…lost it. Take a deeper look at the 10 ideas Kathleen shared and try to make them your own in aligning them with your agile mindset and perspective. You might not get excited by my mappings or reflections, so try your own.

Stay agile and aspire to have an expatriate mindset, my friends,


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