A personal story with an agile thread

Oct 07, 2019  ·  Sam Laing

Being Curious about YOU

A few weeks ago I did my first solo keynote at Agile Prague; “Being Curious about YOU”. I have been giving talks and workshops at large agile conferences since 2011, but this one was different. This wasn’t about some agile technique, this was about me, and the story was not a “sunshine and rainbows” story.

In the last 10 years I have heard so many stories of people burning out, struggling to understand the difference between work, passion and purpose. I hear these stories as a coach and I am often praised for having it all. I am aware that I have a position of privilege, having spoken many times all over the world, run a successful business and published books. So I decided to use that privilege and tell my story, warts and all, so that those who need to hear it can. It’s not ok that we allow ourselves to reach a point of emotional burnout. It’s not ok that some managers and companies actually brag about doing this to their employees. Many of us feel powerless when in this position, and unfortunately the worse it gets the more powerless we become.

I wanted to share my story to show that this feeling of despair can happen to anyone. And that there is greener grass. We just sometimes need to look in many different directions. Also, the importance of figuring out what is actually important to you, and then allowing your life to adjust to that lifestyle. This was perhaps the harder step for me and something I am still working on.

In the weeks leading up to this talk I was plagued by imposter syndrome. Why am I talking about myself at an agile conference? Who cares about my story? How selfish am I to assume people want to hear this? Is this just for my ego? It was difficult and I did it anyway. And it was all recorded.

So here are my slides and the video from Agile Prague 2019. I hope it speaks to you. Please pass it on to those you think might benefit. And please let me know if it does spark something for you.


Slides: https://www.slideshare.net/leaffere/being-curious-about-you-agile-prague


Video: https://agileprague.com/videos-2019.htm#3