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Personal Agility – Sailing to Your Unique Destination

Written by: Adelina Stefan, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

Like a physical anchor, problems can hold us in one place, keeping us stocked and preventing motion, but, as Rumi said, “One day when the wind is perfect, the sail just needs to open, and the world is full of beauty”.


As a Professional Coach, people usually come to me to find a clear direction towards their goals and what is required to implement them, often feeling overwhelmed with so little time to act on their goals.


We often use imagery and visualizations to depict their challenges and milestones of the journey ahead, making the coachees explore their own ways and envision their current situation from different perspectives. Among others, the navigation metaphor or sailing terminology is not seldomly used to help individuals communicate and deal with complex aspects of their personal or professional life.

From a more practical perspective, Personal Agility System, known as PAS, created by Peter Stevens, starts with the metaphor of navigation, helping you identify your vision and making it easier to act upon it. As Peter says, "Life is the ocean."


"You are the Captain of your own boat, navigating to your long-term goal and personal Jamaica."

Drawing on your life experiences and leisure activities seeks to clarify and understand what really matters to maintain the equilibrium between your personal and professional life and sail towards your target destination. In Personal Agility, you can assess at any moment where you are in relation to your True North, your higher self.


As in sailing, you must be agile in a fast-paced environment to sustain your growth. What is really essential is to know yourself, identify your strengths and weaknesses, fine-tune your strategy, transform obstacles into opportunities, prioritize what is important, what is urgent, and what you need to finish today or this week.


Your sailboat's current position is the current position of yourself, either on a personal or a professional level. What really matters is your unique professional value proposition while having the right people on board, positioned in the right seat to access the right means. Growth is a combination of potential, purpose, exploration, and direction, not a destination. To grow personally or professionally means to continually move forward towards what really matters to you, to connect with your higher-self, and be able to operate at a higher level.


Having the agile mindset to inspect and adapt continuously, you trim the sails to ensure that they are set in the optimal position to maximize the benefit of wind and lead to your desired destination. Determine your vision and where you want to reach and create your smart goals. By clearly defining your goals, you can translate your creative ideas into practice, developing self-confidence and self-efficacy. Even if the weather conditions cannot be influenced, you need to anticipate, be proactive and act accordingly to set the sails spot-on.


As the Captain of your own boat, you can turn the steering wheel in a certain direction and go wherever you want. Choose your destination and navigate towards it. As all sailors know, you tack according to what the wind and the conditions will allow. Even if the destination can change during emergencies caused by strong winds and storms that make you feel lost, your journey is a self-discovery process, and the wealth is everlasting.


Start navigating to identify the best way to reach your desired destination. You may meet other boats surrounding you in the sea - they represent your social network and may influence you positively or negatively. In times of stormy weather, by asking a powerful question such as “Who can help?” other boats may offer you support, helping you stay on course and remind you of your values, what really matters, without letting others design the trajectory for you.


As in sailboat racing, winning is important, but in Personal Agility, it doesn’t necessarily mean winning in a race. Working with your celebration partner to reward yourself for small goals regularly will inspire you to reflect on your priorities and unlock new opportunities.

Thank you, Peter, Maria, and Liviu, for such a well-structured framework that facilitates meaningful conversations with my coaches, both personal and professional!


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Read more from Adelina!

Adelina Stefan, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Adelina Stefan is a Professional Certified Coach & Intercultural Facilitator specialized in Career Development, with a deep expertise in international HR recruitment and selection and Training and Development. Having worked for 10+ years across cultures, Adelina seeks to catalyze individuals’ potential, helping them create and implement their unique career blueprint and, at the same time, achieve a healthy work-life balance. She specializes in working with ex-pats and mid-to senior-level executives dealing with challenging work environments that can affect their performance and well-being. She supports organizations in building a corporate coaching culture by highlighting individuals’ maximum potential and engagement to become dedicated and highly successful employees. Her practice includes Career, Life, Executive, and Agile Coaching for individuals and developing and implementing corporate Human Resources practices for improving intercultural relations.

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