When we look at a new decade we tend to reflect on what is possible? At times we also pause to think about how best to overcome current challenges and obstacles. These questions are at the heart of the concept of agency. Paul Napper and Anthony Rao wrote in The Power of Agency, “agency is the ability to act as an effective agent for yourself — getting your mind, body, and emotions in balance to think clearly, advocate for yourself, and make choices that create good things in your life.”
Agency is not passive. Agency is when you become your own agent and you feel in command of your life.
This time of year it feels like everywhere you turn there are helpful tips on health, work, family, technology, exercise, friends…and the list goes on. I grow a little fatigued by all the articles and reports on how to be my best self this time of year. Some articles are helpful, but mostly I check in with my core values.
One of the ways to have agency is to be clear and grounded in your values. When we know our values, we can act with agency. What matters most to you?
Take a look at this list. Pick the five words that represent the best of you.
Family, achievement, community, relationships, harmony, knowledge, honesty, loyalty, humility, competency, health, control, appearance, wealth, spirituality/religion, passion, dignity, beauty, honor, peace, kindness, other?
Now step back, pause and ask yourself…
- How do I want these values to show up in my life this year?
- What is my first step to ensure I live by my values?
- How can I use my values to help navigate complexity in my life?
Agency is taking charge of you and being clear about who you are and how you want to show up in the world. Agency will help you overcome challenges and obstacles. Your values can serve as your inner compass to guide you towards your best self.
What are your values? Share your values with a friend this week and talk about how you want to bring these values to light in your life.