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The Agency Factor

Courtney Lynch, April 20, 2015

We all know that there is so much in life we can’t control. Other people, bad traffic, the weather. Yet, we have full control over how we respond to the uncontrollable. How we command our ability to respond well, says so much about our ability to influence and inspire. And, ultimately our ability to be happy and fulfilled. That’s the agency factor.

Agency is our ability to claim power and control over our lives. Not over everything, just over the choices we make as leaders. Having agency is not an excuse for micromanaging or being overly controlling – we know those behaviors alienate others. Instead, agency is present in our lives when we:

  • Understand what we value and prioritize our time to do the things that matter most.
  • Have boundaries between our work and life, not always being 100% available for everyone at every moment. Just having one day of the week be email or cellphone free is a strong example of bringing agency to the forefront of your leadership style.
  • Making choices about how we spend our time, who we spend it with, and what we do as often as possible. We all have errands to run and must do tasks, but do we live every moment of our lives as if we are responding to orders instead of envisioning what matters most and acting with intent?
  • Having the courage to enjoy our choices or, if we don’t, the courage to change them.

The word agency actually means to act on one’s own behalf. When we do this, we become better at demonstrating inspiring authenticity. The more authentic and comfortable in our knowledge of ourselves we are, the better we are able to add value to others.

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