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Self-Care for Agile Leaders, Change Agents, etc

Leaders, coaches, trainers and consultants work very often as lone warriors. Since we are highly paid, everybody expects expert knowledge and performance from us. This can lead to excessive work hours and toxic work habits. What can we do to take care for ourselves?

I was lucky to get invited by Daniel Mezick to the Open Leadership Symposium in Tampa in February, to hold a workshop there. The Open Leadership Symposium is a conference, where we meet, discuss and develop Open Patterns & Practices (/1/). We're certain, that change will always be easier and better, when people are invited to participate and are not forced to "be aligned".

Since our members are all experienced Open Space facilitators, the afternoon of the conference was organized around Open Spaces. One of my heroes, Bob Galen hosted a topic about "Self-Care for Agile Leaders, Change Agents, etc."

As Scrum or Agile Coaches we're always striving for a "sustainable pace" in organizations. We know, that people and teams will achieve more, when they're focusing, reducing their WIP limits and avoiding working overtime. (/2/) The problem with us coaches is, that most of us are working too much and we're having a hard time following our own advices. Since we're working on so many occasions as a lone warrior, it's easy to be a victim of a imposter syndrome. So what can we do for ourselves, that we keep a sustainable pace?

In the Open Space we've discussed some ways how we could take better care of ourselves. We didn't talk about exercising, because we thought, it was obvious.
Bob Galen (right) and Peter Fischbach in Tampa

Here are some things I've learned from our discussion:

1. "Secure your mask on first, and then assist the other person."
We remembered this saying from flight security briefings. Always secure your mask on first, then assist the other person. As coaches, we should be able to help ourselves first, take care of us, be rested. Then we can help other organizations. Which organization would need a tired, overworked coach, who can't listen or react in the moment?

2. Taking Care of ourselves is a habit.
If we're not doing this already, we should be friendly to ourselves and should start developing this habit. (/3/)

We've talked about some habits, that worked for some of us:

  • Prioritizing our activities using "First Things First" by Stephen Covey
  • Morning Meditations
  • Practicing Mindfulness
  • Giving our brain time for recreation and processing our experiences.
  • declutter
  • Derole after work
  • Surrounding ourselves with open & positive people
  • EFT Tapping
  • Journaling
  • Watching the language we're using inside & outside of us
  • setting boundaries for work & blocking time for recreation
  • Setting time aside for pairing with colleagues, to learn more

My yoga master mentioned to me once: "Do your daily practice and the rest will follow." What are you practicing every day to take care of yourself? Leave some comments below. I'd be happy to learn from you.

If you're interested in meeting Daniel Mezick and Bob Galen in Europe: They will be together on Scrum Day in Filderstadt in June. Daniel will host the Open Space session and both of them will give workshops around Scrum Day (/4/).



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