The word “agency” has come up much more in recent years. Especially this past year as many have paused to re-examine what’s important to them, and what that means to their professional direction or career choices. Getting through a pandemic, the effects of war, and rising costs of everything, everywhere.

How does building and maintaining agency help us?

Agency is the ability to act as an effective agent for yourself, as defined in “The Power of Agency”. That said, what are the good things that happen to us when we’re an effective agent for ourselves? Also, how do we help strengthen our agency?

When we’re utilizing agency well, several things can show up:

  1. We make better decisions that we have greater commitment to

  2. We’re more present to what matters in our day-to-day

  3. We’re less stressed

 How can we help boost our agency when we feel like our tank is on “E”? Here are 3 things among many others:

  1. Build just a few minutes of quiet time into every day.

    Sounds like a dream, right? Take 15 minutes in the morning just after you wake up. Take 10 minutes before a meeting that might be intense. Or take 5 minutes after you “power down” work for the day. Sit and reflect on what’s ahead, what’s going on now, and what happened recently. Let your mind wander, breathe like a 2-year old again (through your stomach!), and don’t go in with any agenda. Scribble notes, doodle, or do nothing at all. It’s your time to not have to “do” anything. Don’t have 15 minutes? Try taking just 1 minute, every day.

  2. Declutter some part of your physical space every day.

    You don’t have to go full-on Marie Kondo to your office or bedroom or car, but try taking just 10-15 minutes to tidy up some area (set a timer!) that has been bugging you. Your desk, your refrigerator, even your car cupholders – all fair game and things that you use all the time, where you’ll notice a fresh, relaxed feeling from. Seriously, when was the last time you cleaned the cupholders in your car? (Here are 62 more ideas )

  3. Look at the week ahead. Then write down the things you can control and the things you cannot control.

    Think about decisions, meetings, and conversations that are ahead of you. With each item that you can control, write “I can control…”, and with each item you cannot control, write “I cannot / can’t control…” Read the list out loud to yourself after you’re done and keep the list somewhere that’s easy to reference in the flow of your day. There’s something powerful about recalling something in our minds, writing it down, and then reading it out loud.

 “Consistency creates predictability.” This also applies to habits we build that affect our agency. Predictable. Agency.

Here are a few things I’ve been sharing with clients recently that you might find interesting or helpful:

  1. Our minds are usually overstimulated by the end of the day, or worse yet, overstimulated just as the day is beginning. This New York Times article talks about “spring cleaning your brain”. (5 min read)

  2. Wendy Palmer gives us a centering practice that some have called the “lizard push-up”, in “20 Seconds to Confidence”. (5 min read)

  3. Sometimes we limit our curiosity because we think there’s a lack of practicality in learning something new. Can’t see the benefit? Lawrence Yeo talks about “True Learning is Done with Agency”. (10 min read)

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 I hope everyone has a wonderful week

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