Becoming an Agile Person

Linkedin defines a person as agile when they have a positive attitude, resilience and are open to changes/transformations in processes, structures or relationships.

One interpretation of an agile person is that it is a self-management concept consisting of three main attributes: adaptability, proactivity, and resilience.  The profile of an agile person, then, is someone who is:

1. Adaptive – able to adjust to different conditions (new ways of working, projects, teams, moving house, changing college);

2. Proactive – able to respond promptly and to look for opportunities in the changed environment;

3. Resilient – able to cope under changing or unknown conditions or when facing difficulty or failure.

How would you develop personal agility? Adopting these behaviours may help:

1. Expect change to happen, nothing is the same forever. The way things worked well yesterday may not work well tomorrow.

2. Embrace uncertainty. This goes hand in hand with change. As things change constantly, it is better to accept uncertainty than fight it. Fighting won’t change how things are, but you will be more disappointed.

3. Learn to reframe your thoughts, namely, recognize and replace your useless thoughts with a useful ones. “Reframing” is a technique used in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) to identify automatic thoughts and replace them with more balanced thoughts.

4. Accept failure and learn from mistakes. I quote some words by Theodore Roosevelt that explain very well the meaning of accepting failures and learning from mistakes – The only person who never makes mistakes is the person who never does anything.

5. Be curious. Research has shown curiosity to be associated with higher levels of positive emotions, lower levels of anxiety, more satisfaction with life, and greater psychological well-being.

6. Develop a can-do attitude. Do you know people who say – no, it can’t be done? Or, I don’t know how to do it? Don’t be one of them if you want to be agile. A can-do attitude is born from the belief that whatever needs to be done, can be done, and will be done.

Besides that, there are plenty of things you can do to become more agile.

I think that finding inspiration in children would help us a lot, as they more easily adopt an agile mindset. Kids, for instance, naturally want to work in teams, they learn at an amazing rate and quickly pick up how to do things from their team-mates.

Moreover, they are curious and think they can accomplish anything. They are not afraid of making mistakes, when they fail, they will keep trying differently.

Are you ready to become an agile person?

This is a re-edited version of one of the first posts published on my personal blog. I can tell you that since then I made made a huge progress!


20 thoughts on “Becoming an Agile Person

  1. Loved this, Cristiana! Thank you for sharing your insights with us. I really like the quote from Theodore Roosevelt: “The only person who never makes mistakes is the person who never does anything.” I’ll be looking forward to your next post!

  2. Your post is quite good, but it is also an acute comment on parenting skills. Parents can instill self confidence in a child, or they can instill hesitation, uncertainty and doubt which can handicap the child for years. Deciding to be confident and agile, if its not introduced as a child, can take much time and effort to develop, and indeed some never get there. It’s not like flipping a light switch. You can’t just say it and be it. You have to train your brain to think differently.

  3. I understand the thought that all of the above can be taught, but in reality, over four distinct careers in four distinct environments, I am pretty sure that even if the skills are learned, they will not be employed to any great extent, especially in a stressful situation. Very few people can shift their paradigm when push comes to shove, except when they are given no choice otherwise.

  4. Love this post, Cristiana! Both the attributes and ways that we can develop ourselves to become more agile. Curiosity is such a wonderful thing to develop – and you’re right, children are a great model for that! Thank you!

  5. So many great points in this post. I love that you suggest embracing uncertainty, reframing our thoughts, and accepting failure. These are all imperatives to me if I want to have a worry free life.

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