1 minutes | Oct 29, 2021
You're Not Special
You are not special. Sorry. Well… okay… everyone is special. But the harsh reality is that, once beyond the compulsory school age, no one cares about all your specialness. Okay… so your friends and family will care. But, if you run your own business, your customer does not care how hard it was for you to do whatever it was they hired you to do. They only care whether or not you did what you were supposed to do in the time you were supposed to do it in, and whether you did it well or not. Your employer doesn't care if you are bad at math. They care whether or not you gave back the right change or if you balanced the spreadsheet numbers. They don't care if you are not a good speller. They care if your presentation is RIGHT. So, conceding that everyone is special, the harsh truth is that… What matters is whether or not you do what you are supposed to do when you are supposed to do using the right tools and materials in the right way and that the outcome meets or exceeds expectations. #motivate #motivation #inspire #happiness #peace
1 minutes | Sep 30, 2021
The Agile Life: Final Thoughts
At last, we come to the end of this collection of thoughts regarding using the agile project management system to organize and optimize your life. Truthfully, we diluted the full power of agile in this series and bent some of its principles a bit. But, it is an approach—a vocabulary in the least that, if utilized indeed can lead to better living. Beginning with coming to understand our purpose… our why-behind-all-other-whys… we can divide our life up into some number of major projects. Some of them are on-going, such as managing our household and our relationships with family. Others, like career development, have discrete steps that can be completed as new ones come along. With our life organized into some number of projects, we then devise the sprints that need to be completed so as to make progress on those projects. Some are routine and repeated, like paying the bills on time or checking emails. Others are once-and-done, such as finish the class in XYZ that is part of our career project. All of the sprints for all of the projects are then organized into the burn-down list(s). Those needing attention first are prioritized over others. Some sprints lead to the discovery of other sprints along the way. And routine, repeating sprints show up on the list daily, weekly, monthly… regularly. Each day begins with a scrum meeting with yourself. (And maybe others?) Decide what sprints must be completed that day and what steps must be taken to see that they are done. As a sprint is finished, check it off the burn-down list (or move it to its place in the list when it next needs to be done). The daily scrum meeting puts a plan to your tasks. They are not just things on a list. They are things that have to be done that day and are arranged in order by clock and priority. Wrapping up each day reflecting on what was done sets up the next day's scrum meeting. Using ideas from the agile project management system can help you organize your life and lead you to more fulfillment, peace, and satisfaction. #motivate #motivation #inspire #happiness #peace
1 minutes | Sep 29, 2021
The Agile Life: A Real Example
So, does using agile project management to organize your life really work? It can! A student approached early last week and showed me a list of all of his assignments for all of his classes. "Do you think this is a good idea?" he asked. I replied, "Absolutely! You have made a list of all the things you need to do. Now, just organize them from most urgent to least. Put things due today at the top and then order them in the order they need to be done." Later in the week, I asked how it was going. He reported that it was great. He said he had less stress knowing what all he had to do and could attend to things in an orderly way. This is a perfect example of using the agile approach (whether or not you use the agile words for it). Education was a project that was part of his life. The assignments were the sprints he needed to complete in order to have success within the project. Taking time to make and organize the list was his scrum meetings. The words you use to describe the process are not nearly as important as the process. But however you describe it, this guy in my class had the right idea. Organizing your tasks and knowing what needs to be done in what order is a great start reaching a satisfying, peace-filled life. #motivate #motivation #inspire #happiness #peace
1 minutes | Sep 24, 2021
The Agile Life: Lay Out Your Sprints For The Day
To manage our lives using an agile approach, we need to extend the concept of the sprint to include both once-and-done items related to the aspects of our lives we have defined as projects and also to routine task we do daily or weekly. Things like answering emails are tasks—sprints, if you will—that need to be done on a regular basis. To keep our progress on everything going, we need to fit the routine sprints into the day with and around the project-based sprints. For instance, you may need to finish a PowerPoint or Keynote for… next week, and to do that you need to find some data… That's a once-and-done sprint. Answering emails and checking in with the family to see if you need to pick up anything on the way home are routine sprints. You need to do both the routine sprints and the once-and-done sprints! By creating a prioritized list of once-and-done sprints and then injecting the routine sprints into that list appropriately keeps you moving, keeps you on track to finish all the projects. Aligning our routine sprints with project-specific sprints and creating a prioritized order allows us to effectively make progress toward our life goals.
1 minutes | Sep 22, 2021
The Agile Life: Scrum Meetings With Yourself
If we view life as a collection of projects, and if we decide to organize them within the agile project management system, then we end up with a list of sprints all connected to the various projects. To keep everything moving, you can begin each day with a "scrum" meeting… with yourself. You can look into the mirror and think about all you need to do each morning as you start your day. What is necessary for getting ready for work? You'll need to think about what's coming up at work, then as you get ready, tic off whatever needs to be done to get you ready. What family sprints do you need accomplish? Where do they fit into your schedule? As you go through the day knocking off sprints, you might think of other things that need to be done. Emergencies might come up. But starting the day with a plan is your best bet. Organize your sprints according to the priority of your projects, putting the most important tasks before those that are less important. If you are trying to manage your life using an agile approach, you need to start off "scrumming" with yourself to put each sprint in its proper place.
1 minutes | Sep 20, 2021
The Agile Life: You're Gonna Need Some Sprints, Part 2
With your life viewed as a collection of projects, and as you begin developing the sprints—the specific todos necessary to complete the project, you will sometimes start a sprint and realize there is some other sprint that needs to be added to the list. Beginning one sprint will sometimes show you other sprints that need to be done. Suppose you are planning a camping trip (a project), and one of your sprints is to get food. Starting that process will reveal that you need coolers and containers for the food. Obtaining those, then, becomes a sprint in and of itself. Working through a sprint often reveals the sprints you need to complete. In sum, the sprints of "the agile life" approach are the todo lists that allow you to manage your life in a harmonious way.
1 minutes | Sep 19, 2021
The Agile Life: Life Is A Bunch Of Projects
Applying the agile project management approach to organizing our lives assumes that life is a collection of projects all taking place at the same time. For instance, at any given time, you might be attending to family, career, education, and… say reception, too… all at once. And, at any give moment, an emergency might pop up, and that would become an urgent project, all in on its own. With so many things all happening, some strategy needs to be in place so that we can move through life from where you are to where you want to be. Applying the agile project management approach, is one way to do that. Each project can be viewed as some number of steps, each necessary for reaching the goal. Within the agile framework, we'll call these todo items sprints. Viewing life through the lens of agile project management give us an approach that can help make the most out of our resources and move us ever closer to our goals.
1 minutes | Sep 19, 2021
The Agile Life: You're Gonna Need Some Sprints, Part 1
If we view life as a collection of projects, and if we decide to organize them within the agile project management system, then we need sprints! A sprint is a specific task that is part of a project. It is a must-do that, when done, can be "checked off" and which leads to the next sprint on the list. In our life, every project can be split up into a sprint list. For instance, the on-going project of managing a household might include grocery shopping. In a more long-term project, a sprint might be competing an assignment that is part of a course (where the course is a project that is part of the bigger project to get a credential or training certificate. Or degree). To keep our whole life in harmony when we view life as a collection of projects, the sprint lists become the daily tasks that must be done to move us forward.
1 minutes | Sep 16, 2021
The Agile Life: What Fits The Approach
When considering what aspects of your life might fit into an agile approach, the conclusion will be… a lot. Anything with a specific, defined outcome fits. A family trip. A new course of study. Remodeling your house or even just a room. Day-to-day aspects of work… All that the "thing" needs is to be a multi-step process leading to some definable outcome.
1 minutes | Aug 2, 2021
The Agile Life Setting Your Vision
According to the agile project management system, it is necessary to begin by setting the vision and scope of the project. Applying this to living a happy and fulfilled life is easy. What is the vision of your life? What is your purpose? What, exactly, are you trying to accomplish? What is your life mission? Pastor Craig Strickland, in Memphis, Tennessee occasionally would caution people regarding climbing the ladder of success too hastily. "Sometimes," he would say, "people spend their whole lives climbing the ladder of success only to, once at the top, realize their ladder was leaning against the wrong wall!" So, what is the vision for your life? What is the mission you hope your life will accomplish? Over they years I have discussed life vision and mission frequently. Your visions must grow out of your fundamental understanding of your purpose as a person in the universe. What is your "why behind all other whys"? What do you believe gives meaning and direction to life? From that… and if you are to be ultimately content with life, from only that must come your life mission and vision. It's hard work, but it is essential to figure all this out on the front end.
1 minutes | Aug 2, 2021
The Agile Life: Defining You Vision
If we think of our lives as a continuous series of projects, one leading to the next and that one to the next, and if we apply the ideas of agile project management, we begin by establishing a vision and scope for each project. Given that the project we are attempting fits in with our life mission, then we are ready to set a scope for that project. The scope of a project needs to establish a clear definition of what is to be done. What, specifically, would it look like to finish the project? Scoping out exactly what "done" looks like is very important. Otherwise, it is difficult, if not impossible, to gauge progress or recognize when we have succeeded. Thus, each project that is part of our life mission needs to be seen in light of clear, measurable outcomes. Without a clear and well-defined project scope, it is easy to get off track. Here's another way to look at it: If you don't know what you are trying to do, you'll never know when you are done!
1 minutes | Jul 29, 2021
An Agile Approach To Life
Suppose we looked at life as a project. And what if we decided to manage our life using the "agile" approach? An agile approach—to follow the industry usage, I should just say—agile is a technique of managing a process where the focus is on specific, incremental steps where each step plays a specific and necessary part in reaching the larger goal. (I probably just infuriated the agile experts with this gross generalization!) What if we looked at life that way? What if we managed our life using an agile approach? Instead of setting out to become rich, we set out to pay off one credit card? We know that a diploma is our long term gaol, so applying to a program that offers that diploma is the first step. Instead of looking at the end-goal, we pay attention to the first step, with our eyes on the next step to follow. In the near future, I'll be talking about this idea, so stick around. Maybe an agile approach to life will work for you!
1 minutes | Jul 29, 2021
One Day At A Time
Change happens for many reasons. Sometimes, it is the result of a decision. Sometimes it is forced upon you by circumstances you cannot control. Often, the upheaval caused by change is very challenging. Sometimes, change leaves you feeling overwhelmed, confused, and unclear about what to do first. Chances are you have some big-picture idea of what normal will eventually become. But getting from where you are to where you see things going can be difficult. But you can persevere. Just take things as they come, and keep going, making sure everything lines up with where you're trying to end up. In the face of change, sometimes getting to the new normal takes a lot of effort. Just push on and take things one day at a time.
1 minutes | Jul 29, 2021
The Agile Life Preview
Whereas "agile" was an approach originally applied to developing software, it is, from time to time, being adapted to other uses. The "Agile Life" series that will follow this preview will look at the processes used in agile and apply them to living life better. So, this is not going to be a series teaching you how to use agile. What it is going to be is a look at the steps in the agile process as they could apply to living better. For instance, in agile, you begin with a project definition—a scope of what will be included in the total, final, end product. This, I will argue, is like your life mission; your purpose for being. Join me in this little exploration! Could your life be better, and if so, could applying some of it to how you live your life improve your situation? Keep watching, and let's find out!
1 minutes | Apr 27, 2021
Actions Reveal Priorities
A guy spends six hours every Saturday morning working in his yard. And a half hour or more each workday when he gets home. What seems obvious? His yard is a priority. Hopefully, it's also something he likes… You can tell what is important to people in various ways. One is that how they spend their time. The things that are highest priorities will be done first. Lessor priorities next. Lowest priorities will come last, if they ever get done at all. Given more than one option, the chosen actions reveal the priorities!
1 minutes | Apr 23, 2021
Silence Is Not Agreement
People sometimes say things with which nobody around them agrees. But, the silence of those hearing the remark fails to convey their beliefs. Just because no one protests or complains does not mean they agree with you. People who disagree might just be keeping quiet because they think a reply is pointless. They think the speaker is, frankly, not worth the trouble to engage in discussion. They think the speaker is hard-headed. Stubborn. Closed-minded. Silence is NOT a measure of agreement!
3 minutes | Mar 15, 2021
Life With A Joyful Approach
What is the joyful approach to life? It is being content in the knowledge that everything you did in a day was done in alignment with your mission, with your purpose—a purpose growing out of your deepest beliefs, out of your why behind all other whys. Whereas happiness is a response to things that happen, to things outside you, peace and contentment comes from acknowledging that, on a given day, you did your best to live in accordance to your mission. Peace and contentment come from within. And they don't rely on outcomes. Peace and contentment rely on intentions. Did you do things in alignment with what you believe you are supposed to be doing? While we learn from the outcomes what to do better and what worked well, we don't depend on the outcomes for our joy. The outcomes inform what we might try to do next time. And, indeed, when things work out well, we feel happy. But happy is not the goal. The goal should be to live joyfully knowing that our actions, day in and day out, grew from our intentions to fulfill our life mission. Given a meaningful why behind all other whys, we can develop a life mission that will guide our intentions in everything we do. Then, if at the end of the day, when we look back, we can be at peace and content knowing that our every intention was to fulfill that purpose. Stop trying to be happy. Develop a joyful approach to life, and be at peace.
1 minutes | Mar 9, 2021
Me And My Mission GAMER VERSION
In recent posts across social media, I've put forth the claim that trying to be happy is to chase a moving target; better to live contently in the assurance that each day has been spent pursuing your life purpose and mission. And further, I've claimed that your purpose and mission grow out of your why behind all other whys—your deepest beliefs as to the purpose and meaning of life. Whereas I describe my own mission for life as creating the circumstances wherein people can become the best version of themselves, I was asked what this looks like for me in my daily life. Naturally, I responded with an example from World of Warcraft, a video game. There's this quest. Go to this place and kill a bunch of bad guys. I went there and started. I could take on one or two at a time easily, and was doing that. After I was about 1/3 done some stranger joined me. Together, we could take on six or seven at a time. Quickly after that, I finished. But… Just as I was about to turn and leave, the guy "pulled" another gang of six guys. I didn't know if he could handle them all alone, and it was clear that he expected me to stay. To help. So, I did. I continued fighting until I could let him know I was done and moving on. He thanked me and we parted ways. Trivial? Perhaps. But it's an example. My putting in two or three minutes to help him didn't cost me anything but… two or three minutes. Had I ditched him… He could have "died" and that would have cost him some time and frustration. Let your life mission percolate through ALL areas of your life, whatever it is. Live in ALL things so that at the end of the day you can say, "I did my best to be my best; to do what I am created to do."
2 minutes | Feb 19, 2021
The Why Behind All Other Whys, Part 2
So, what about that why behind all other whys? Where does that come from? If it is so important, it ought to be pretty readily understandable. For many, many people, there would be some basic belief. The primal why, for many, would be how they understood their place in creation in relationship to the creator. So it is for me. My personal life mission is this: create the circumstances wherein people can become the best versions of themselves. This comes from my why behind all other whys: It is the purpose of the created to show the love of the creator to all creation. My purpose for living grows directly out of my understanding of God and my relationship with God. Frankly, while I suppose others have other sorts of sources for their why, I cannot think of any examples. But, I stand by the claim that every mission or purpose needs to grow out of some why behind all other whys. If you are trying to live a content and joyful life, then the first step is to drill down through all the reasons you do things. If there is no single why behind all other whys, you probably will have a problem working out that joyful approach to living we've been talking about. That's the staring point. What is at the core of why you do anything? If you don't know, then you need to find out.
2 minutes | Feb 19, 2021
The Why Behind All Other Whys Part 1
Why do you do what you do? Hopefully, it is because you have come to understand your purpose in life. Your personal life mission. But, where did that come from? Let's look at an example… A young man at a gas station sees someone coming out the door he just opened to go in. He holds it open and waits. Why? Because he believes it was a nice thing to do. Why? Because he believes people are inherently valuable and worthy of respect. Why? Because he believes… We could keep drilling down, deeper and deeper. At some point, we would get to the why behind all other whys. And sometimes, what we find is… pointless. If you go to work because the why is "whoever dies with the most toys wins" then you probably just need to stop and start over. If the who behind all other whys is vapid, you need a better why! Hopefully, drilling down deep enough lands at something that has meaning. Hopefully, it results in finding something fundamental that has enduring value and worth. Where would that put us? That's the starting place. Understanding the why behind all other whys opens the door to having a unified, meaningful, and fulfilling purpose. And knowing what that purpose is leads to the possibility of living by a joyful approach to life.