Exploring well-being and vulnerability
I am just back from Agile2016 and I would say that witnessing and participating to more humane connections is my great takeaway. I was asked to write a blog post on my experience and share insights of my participation to this great annual gathering.
First and foremost, I should mention that I was a speaker this year, I was sharing my passion for Agile Marketing. This role was new and I lived the conference from a very different point of view that gave me perspective and encouraged me to seek more awareness and acknowledgement. We are all one but come together with different experiences.
I came to Atlanta ready to roar with my presentation and as the days went by (I was presenting mid-week), my focus shifted…I would even say that what started inspiring me was to share my experiences from a place of vulnerability.
I truly think that the many exchanges I had with the participants early in the week helped me move forward and grow. For the very first time, I felt safe as part of the Agile family — not an impostor with not much experience or someone there to just learn — but someone that had something to give back, to myself and my fellow conference patrons.
And this was my first “Ah” moment! Few of us consciously choose vulnerability. Why? The stakes are too high.
For me, vulnerability is so much easier when you love and accept yourself and acknowledge your insecurities.
When I think about it, when you don’t love all of you and are afraid to show people the less than stellar parts, the space between you and vulnerability is like an ocean. You need all the courage you can muster to make that leap of faith and swim against the current. We need to love ourselves; and I mean all of ourselves! We need to not worry so much if someone else doesn’t. And when we’re less afraid of rejection, we step right into a place of openness.
I went to Agile2016 with my Experience Report and how free I felt letting out the little girl in me to be really and truly paying attention to the participants and practicing gratitude. It was all right there in front of me: happiness.
Vulnerability takes practice.
You don’t just learn it once and then “ta-dah!”, you’re easily open to everything and everyone. My experience at Agile2016 was very profound, but even now, a few days later, I still have moments where I’m a bit more guarded and less willing to share the real me. Thank goodness, life continues to give me opportunities to consciously choose openness. And from now on, I will jump high to taste it again.
You see, I was presenting an Experience Report on the new reality of Agile Marketing. Today, I see that the content is not that important; it is what you learned and how you offer this insight to your audience that is important. The exercise of writing and re-writing this Experience Report created a new understanding of how to be and not just how to do.
For me, trying out new ways of communicating my learnings with empathy accelerated my comprehension of what it means to just be in the moment. This approach was disarming and liberating. Let’s see were it takes me. This is what dancing in the moment means with a room filled with people you do not know… or trust? When I was preparing this talk, I could sometimes feel that it was me against others, but really it was about finding that sweet spot with them. To listen to my voice and just be, not push.
Practicing this during the week and during my conference has helped me to get out of my comfort zone, to create new connections and pathways within my heart and brain and strengthen my mind-body connection. I was in the moment, with confidence and simplicity. A healthy and simpler approach can see many more options present themselves to have fun with. I found that wave and felt like a kid with the room full of great people attending my presentation.
The conference confirmed my beliefs in maintaining social connections with more openness and vulnerability. For me, many Agile practitioners are Experts, but they do not necessarily have people skills.
People who are socially integrated maintain healthier relationships because of certain abilities they have developed over time with contact and practice. I can understand being uncomfortable and being alone out there can be overwhelming, but the Agile2016 Conference was all about having a sense of security with the Agile Community. It focuses on growing everyone’s know how, network, contacts, etc. It is Agile.
This is a path that I particularly embrace in regard to developing myself, cultivating and fostering strong relationships as a strategy for building future collaborations with partners and friends. Notice I do not use the word client. This conference, as many other events, really helps to interact and have unplanned conversations.
That doesn’t mean going out every night of the week and networking all the time. It means taking time and making space in your life to have meaningful relationships with a variety of people you trust and learn to listen to better. It could also mean feeling awkward and not being too comfortable at first (practice makes it easier and I also recommend pairing).
And maybe with this Annual Conference our Agile Community is now helping us to open up, to be unique and vulnerable by extending our heart with lots of hugs. It’s part of what makes us human and feeling like we are members of a very special tribe.
When people decide to join forces, they share a passion for creating amazing relationships and workplaces where every person thrives and contributes to success.
This Annual Get Together reminded me of:
- Interpreting other people’s intentions generously;
- Seeking clarity and personal connection;
- Giving and getting reciprocal respect and mutual value;
- Creating and supporting healthy workplaces and relationships at every opportunity;
- Adding a dash of vulnerability and promoting well-being every chance you get .
Greater Agility delivers better software, better marketing, better collaboration for sure… but also greater values for happier customers, more humane workplaces and stronger leadership.
Culture is what makes people and organizations unique and gives them a special flavour. Culture has a strong impact on morale, productivity, well-being and commitment. Leaders have a strong impact on culture.
Is your culture the healthiest it can be? We live in a fast-paced world of constant change.
Breaking silos, increase speed to market and embrace vulnerability.
In team retrospectives, each team member has to trust others with their vulnerability in order to open the door to learning. Without that trust and vulnerability, no one learns and then how do you really build anything?