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Why being Agile still looks like failing to others and still feels like failing to ourselves
You know this image you see pop up on social media from time to time?
It’s funny, right? But also true. Sometimes 100% of your energy today looks the same as 40% of your energy on another day.
But I feel like I’m living this lately with my whole life.
It’s been a rough year so far, both personally and professionally.
I changed jobs. I changed homes. I changed living situations. I’m still going through all of those things.
I’m trying to be Agile. But I’m hitting the part of Agility that looks bad from the outside. The part that makes management distrust it.
I’ve run hard into failure.
We’re supposed to accept failure as inevitable, as a learning experience. Then we pull back, analyze the reality of the situation, and pivot. If something is not working, we stop doing that thing.
At the beginning of the year, I had a video course giving advice on how to get hired as a Scrum Master. I also had a cohort program helping people get their first experience on a Scrum Team. I was working on converting that cohort program into a digital product that I could give to more people at a lower cost.
I felt like I was doing real good for the community.
But my personal life hit some turbulence, and I needed to pull back from this work because my personal problems were taking all my energy.
I stopped writing my newsletter. Then I stopped writing on LinkedIn.
Then my new job did not pan out as I had hoped. I had signed on as a consultant, and my agency was searching for Scrum Master positions for me. But they couldn’t find any.
It’s a bad market right now, they said. If we don’t find something soon, we’ll have to let you go.
I stopped working on my cohort, and on transforming it into a product. I didn’t want to accept money from people who thought that my offers could be helpful to them finding work as a Scrum Master, when I didn’t have the same faith anymore that it would make a difference.
Stopping writing was not a bad decision. We have to prioritize, and when my energy needed to be spent elsewhere, that’s just how it is.
Turning away from the things I thought were helping people was not a bad decision either. I still think it was the ethical choice, and I’m weighing shutting down these parts of my activity altogether now.
But just stopping looks like, and feels like, giving up.
So instead, I tried to pivot. I rebranded the newsletter and tried to just compile other people’s writing into a single good resource. I thought this could be something that took less energy than writing my own newsletter and could be valuable, especially at a time when I didn’t feel like I could write for myself.
But I was wrong. It took MORE energy. I had grossly underestimated how much of my time and attention it would take.
So I stopped again.
I’ve had so many stops and starts, attempts and failures. And I know this is how it’s supposed to work. I know this is what Agility is about.
We make assumptions, test those assumptions, and then adjust. And the whole point here is that I could validate or invalidate my ideas very quickly, and not keep spending time, energy, and money on things that don’t work.
I’m doing it right. But it feels so wrong.
And it feels wrong because I’ve made so many connections, so many friends through my writing and my participation in the Agile community, and I feel like I’m letting you all down.
You’re not just stakeholders to me.
I recently recorded a call with Maria Chec to talk about Personal Branding for her YouTube channel. And while I thought the call went well, it wasn’t until she released it and I just watched it myself that I got my wakeup call - from myself.
“It’s a lot easier to form your personal brand when it’s personal - when you’re just talking about something that interests you.”
I said that.
I have been way off base for a long time with my presence (or lack of presence) in the community.
I liked talking about using Scrum and Agile in my life. I liked talking about being an American in France. I liked telling personal stories.
I also liked helping people who need help, but I let it get me way off base. My work here turned into a job, because I tried to become the person others needed me to be, instead of just being myself and letting that be enough.
I miss being part of LinkedIn and the Agile community. So I’m going to try to come back. No commitments, but maybe I’ll drop a post on LinkedIn now and then.
And I’m definitely going back to my old newsletter. I want to write about life again. Welcome back to Scrumify Your Life.
How often will I write new articles? I have no idea.
It’s totally possible that I’ll click Post on this newsletter, run into another wave of trouble, and be gone for a few more months.
But either way, thanks for reading.
I’m not hawking any of my stuff below this line anymore. If you subscribed to this newsletter when I pivoted and you don’t want it now, no hard feelings and thanks for reading.
If you PAID for it and don’t want it anymore, just reply to this by email and I’ll send you back your money.