“With PAS, the purpose became the focus and the driving force behind it all.” – Gabriel Chiriac

Job search is stressful and  often, people don’t have a plan B. All of a sudden, your daily calendar becomes empty, and you don’t know where to start. Finding a new job aligned with your own values requires hard work, perseverance as well as a positive mindset and openness to change.

Gabriel Chiriac is a Product Development Manager with 23+ years of solid background at high corporate level. After a successful career abroad, Gabriel found himself as many other professionals, laid off during the pandemic. He discovered PAS during his repatriation when he redefined his purpose in his career and rebalanced his life.

Situation

“I have been working for over 23 years in a large multinational tobacco company. Having started my career very young as a Quality Examiner in Romania and worked my way up to R&D as a Product Development Manager in Germany, I have grown during those years, enjoying what I was doing and managing my day-to-day objectives flawlessly. This seemed to be a typical success story until the company decided to close the site in Germany and let us go.”

Challenge

“Suddenly, it became obvious that I was about to face totally new challenges both professionally and personally. The warm comfort provided by years of routine was to be no longer present. To make matters worse, the pandemic came along. Returning to Romania after 9 years in Germany, I needed to readjust myself and align what matters to me and my family. While facing the unknown, the repatriation process proved challenging. I was disconnected from a full-time family life commitment, my former social network, the realities of the job market at home and the inherent cultural differences; all these required readjustment from my side.”

Desired Outcome

“My objective was to have a soft landing, readjust to my home country and family life and secure a new job. I have always been rational, and structured. Though I was very effective, working for so many years for the same company loosened my contact with the job market’s current realities. Additionally, spending so much time away from home and family affected both my social network and my work life balance.”

Path to Success

“With PAS, I was able to identify and spend time on my true priorities, from job searching related requirements through personal development and self-care. The biggest impact created with PAS was the initial coaching discussion with my coach around What Really Matters (WRM). Through it, I was able to set up my priorities and goals, and act upon them. Therefore, the purpose became the focus and the driving force behind it all.”

“With the help of my Coach, Adelina Stefan, I identified my development needs and acted upon them. I redesigned my professional brand to make myself and my skills more visible to recruiters, and secure more interviews.”

“With the PAS tools, I measured my progress on personal life tasks,  self-care routine and administrative challenges of home relocation.”

“Basically, with some very effective tools, you get clarity on your objectives, design your actions and achieve the results.”

Actual Result

“I became highly motivated and focused, and acted upon the identified development needs. I also enrolled myself in other courses such as: Agile fundamentals, Scrum methodology as well as upper-level German language. My professional branding documents and my CV were updated and met the current professional requirements. I was able to apply with more confidence to various new jobs. On a personal side, my self-care received its deserved importance and attention, and thus, improved the life balance.”

Support Tools and Success Factors

“Along with the know-how provided by my coach, the Job Description Canvas was very useful in jobs assessment versus one’s expectations. It enabled me to evaluate the potential roles’ challenges against my own strengths, and the terms of the job offers compared to my attributes.Last, the Stakeholder Canvas helped me prepare for interviews considering the objectives and expectations vs challenges, potential for growth and future steps.”

 

A Personal Agility System Case Study

Adriana Carrano is an experienced HR Operations and a talented multilingual professional working full-time in a large tech organization. She is the single mother of an 8-year-old boy and has been living in Switzerland for over 10 years.

She discovered the Personal Agility System, through which, she was able to discover her inner power to thrive personally and professionally. Her career and life coach, Adelina Stefan, spoke with her about her journey.

The Challenge

Adelina: What was the challenge you were facing?

Adriana: “I am a people person; my biggest talent gift is my altruistic heart that guides me. I love what I do not only as a working professional, but also as an individual. I always want to make sure that everybody around me has all they need, but that leaves me with no energy or time for myself. 

“Life is full of unexpected situations, distractions that can be fun or full of stress. So much to do, and there you go… none of my well-planned tasks seem to get 100% resolved. All the books that tell me how important I am never get opened. I would finish each day exhausted, yet thinking ‘I haven’t done anything today’”.

“I believe I have a blessed full life. I have an amazing 8-year-old son and a full time job that I absolutely adore. And I have the CHAOS that governs all of this!”

“I felt like I was out of control. So many things were running together! I was losing sight of urgent topics, and I was even putting off joyful things “for later.” I wanted clarity. I wanted to be sure that I got important things done and I wanted to have time for the joyful things in my life.” 

Desired Outcome

Adelina: What did you want to change? And what did you like about the Personal Agility System?

Adriana: “I really like the metaphor of the boat journey on the ocean of life. I wanted to take charge of my life, get to my destinations and manage the distractions and headwinds in my life.”

“I have always admired people that seem to have it all under control, whose work hours are productive and whose families get the time they need.”

“I started the PAS program wanting to have more quality time for myself and my son and to make better use of my work day. I wanted to lose the stress of unfinished emails at 11pm or waking up at 6 in the morning with my head already full of the unfinished tasks that have been taunting me for a few days.”  

Actual result

Adelina: Now that you have been applying PAS to your life, how is your situation different?”

Adriana: “The Personal Agility Systems helped me align my daily activities with my projections in time, so I could dance through all the challenges that come along.”

“The greatest outcome was realizing I can live my love for people, respond to the needs of others, and pursue my own needs. I can balance my full-time job with my family time. 

“I learned to have patience with myself, to celebrate my accomplishments, and to never let a day finish without telling myself ‘you did your best!’  It makes me the happiest when I look behind and I see the changes in my schedule, in my own way of handling different tasks and applying what I learned to prioritize. Small steps and patience are vital and lead us to great results, but it takes time to get there.”

“As I am a visual person, Personal Agility helped me immensely to see everything in front of me. I connect the different colors  to specific areas in my life.”

“My ideal day does not follow a fixed recipe; rather, I need to be flexible to accommodate the needs and schedules of people at home, in the office and in our locations around the world.

“Now I get my most rewarding feelings when I see what I have accomplished at the end of the day. At the end of each week I see that I have found the right balance between work and family. And I have time for myself! I didn’t realize this before,  but doing things that make me happy is really important — the most important! — even with everything I have to do for work and family.”

Path to Success

Adelina: How did you achieve all this? 

Adriana: “I discovered the Personal Agility System while working with you!”

“Initially I was very shy about using the Priorities Map, but after a week it became a habit. It was so helpful to see my tasks aligned daily and to check all my accomplishments at the end of the week. The best thing was to see the different colours on cards and be able to check the balance of work and personal tasks at a glance.”

Taking it to the next level

Adelina: After you achieved your work/life balance, what happened next? 

Adriana: “After using the Priorities Map every day for over two months, and seeing how beneficial this is, I set up a  simplified version for my son. Of course, he got to make his own choices about what really matters.”

Creating the priorities map

Customized Priorities Map

“Although he is only 8 years old, he discovered the importance of planning, and how knowing what really matters can influence his life. He also learned about realistic planning by seeing how many things he can get done by the end of the day. We celebrate and choose daily, and every Sunday we go to the cinema, to reward us both for the work we have done! 😊”

Creating the Priorities Map

I have started talking with other colleagues about The Personal Agility System and they were curious to see my planning board, to learn more about the story behind the colored labels. As I started teaching my son Personal Agility, in a similar way, I’ve started to introduce PAS to few colleagues too. It is most rewarding to see how something I was struggling with for so long can be of great help for others. ☺ 

“With PAS, my vision of life changed: from a frustrated jobless, I became a highly motivated person thirsting for life, eager to uncover new opportunities and willing to change.” – José Albuquerque

Whether it’s about starting a job, moving to a different country or a change in our relationships, change can be hard to accept, and many of us spend a great deal of effort trying to avoid it. Coping with change can be challenging and overwhelming, and although we are used to exit our comfort zone, a sudden job change is jarring. Jose was able to meet both challenges and find a new job that advances his career.

Jose Albuquerque is a Senior Key Account Manager who has worked in a large high-tech organization for over 20 years, and living in France, near the Swiss-French boarder. After a successful career, José found himself out of the labor force during the pandemic. During his time off, he discovered Personal Agility System (PAS) and working with his PAS Coach, he could transform his challenging situation in new opportunities, spend more quality time with his family, and transition to a new job opportunity.

Situation

“I have been working for 21 years in a high-tech company and I’ve grown within it. I started my career as Applications Engineer in France, then I moved to Portugal and finally, I served Swiss customers. I’ve learned a lot and I was enjoying every day this job, assisting outstanding customers and achieving objectives.

This was great… until the company decided to implement a new strategy during the pandemic without me. This was a shock: I have always been active and suddenly, I felt stuck. It was like being on the edge of the mountain, with no more new challenges to take on.”

“I was looking for a new adventure, a personal one. During my introspection, I figured out that I needed a new life balance and at the same time, I was looking for a way to align what I do with what matters to me and my family.”

Desired Outcome

“My objective was to achieve and maintain a new life balance, with an exciting new job, focus on what really matters to me, and satisfaction that my time is spent on what is important. This could also lead to serious change such as moving to Switzerland or relocating closer to my new job. At the same time, I was searching for a way to better organize my personal life and business life. In business, I am an expert at getting things done efficiently. However, I was missing the bridge between the personal and professional life.”

Challenge

“Being a job seeker is always challenging. My special situation as a commuter living in France, looking for a position in Switzerland, made things even more complex. I had to prove that my location would not negatively impact my effectiveness at work. I had to define clearly my added value to an organization and demonstrate my strengths that help me stand out against the competition on the job market. When you are used to working hard, you do not see your achievements immediately – therefore, looking inside out to communicate confidently how I can create value in my target role, was crucial to me.”

Path to Success

“With PAS, I was able to identify and spend time on my true priorities, and I was able to say “no” to the less important ones. Suddenly, I had more time for self-education, interview preparations, and networking. At the same time, I’ve prioritized self-care. I do sports daily, and I’ve engaged in learning German, taking classes twice a week. My habits changed, and now I spend more time reading and share precious time with my family.”

“One of my supportive elements in dealing with the job search challenges was my Coach, Adelina Stefan. She understood rapidly that my agile methodology used at work could also benefit my personal life. In one of our discussions, she introduced me the concept of Personal Agility System. Once I decided to try it out, I found out an amazing way to set up objectives and measure progress weekly in all aspects of my life. To me, having a single page view containing every component of my life, tied to what really matters to me, was amazing: in one view, you get the expected results at work and personally, you get both the objectives you want to attain, and the actions related to those objectives.”

“An important tool of Personal Agility was the weekly Celebrate and Choose, when I reviewed all my achievements of the previous week, picked the most important one and shared my success with friends, colleagues, and family. This was crucial to keep my motivation high and enforce my self-esteem!”

“With PAS, my vision of life changed. From a frustrated jobless, I became a highly motivated person, thirsting for life, eager to uncover new opportunities, and willing to change.”

Other Success Factors

I had the chance to receive 2 books from my very good friends, that were a revelation. The first one, “Who moved my cheese” by Spencer Johnson is basic, simple, yet efficient. It explains an amazing way to deal with change in your work and in your life. This captivated also the attention of my 11 years-old son also, who read it in 1 hour. I highly recommend it to anyone! The second book was “The big five for Life” by John P. Strelecky. What stroke me was the following concept: One’s lifespan is on average 28200 days, which means approximately 4000 weeks. If you measure that in days, you may not see the value of life itself, but counting it in weeks, it is enlightening. At my age, this means 2000 remaining weeks! When you start measuring your progress in life by the actions you have achieved weekly, you get a better grasp on how fast (or how slow) you are attaining your core objectives.”

Taking It To The Next Level

“During my journey, I’ve applied to many positions, and I had numerous interviews. PAS helped me stay focused and keep my motivation high when faced with rejection. Currently, I am preparing to enter a new job: a role directly connected to my skillset and my aspiration, which takes my career to the next level.”

“I have also taught PAS to my 11 years old son. He was overwhelmed by his school homework and complaining about the lack of time to play. With PAS, he stopped procrastinating and understood that the more efficient he was with his homework, the more time he would have to play, and have fun with his friends and family. On top of that, the weekly Celebrate & Choose Event improved his self-confidence and made him feel better about himself.”

Karina Schneider was an experienced Human Resources professional working in a large, global organization and living in Zurich with her young family. After her parental leave, she went back to work, into a new job, excited to make an impact. Roughly 10 months later, in the height of the pandemic, she burned out. During her time off, she discovered the Personal Agility System and, working with her PAS coach, she was able to find energy to meet the challenges of work and motherhood.

Portrait Karina SchneiderWhile it seemed at the time like it came out of nowhere – that I suddenly was physically & mentally unable to go to work from one day to the next – I now see the trail of clues that led to this struggle. Surviving the first COVID-19 lockdown with my husband and I working more than full time, with a 1-year-old at home, with no help, was just the last push before I finally crashed.

Desired Outcome

“Very early on in my recovery process, I knew my life needed a massive re-design. Clearly, whatever worked for me in the past wasn’t going to take me forward anymore. I realized I needed to live a more coherent life – it wasn’t one thing to fix. My days should be to be reflective of what really mattered to me. Everything I do personally and professionally ought to be aligned to my values. I wanted to be able to confidently walk away from the wrong opportunities without feeling guilty or ungrateful. I was carrying around too many responsibilities that were truly not mine to carry — I wanted to let go! All of this, ultimately, meant I would have enough energy to fuel a rich, purposeful life. Not only were all of this defining my desired outcome – but they are also central to my burnout recovery.”

Actual Result

“The most tangible result I’ve experienced is feeling significantly less stressed and overwhelmed, as compared to before. As I write this, I do not know what the next 6 months will look like for me. Burnout has placed many things in question that my family and I are still figuring out together. However, I am most at peace and my life is the richest it’s been today after a very very long time. While still in recovery, I have gained clarity about my goals (and already achieved some of them), I am able to volunteer to causes that are dear to me, I have forged deep relationships with others, and I have energy to entertain an active toddler. I can now make well-guided decisions and focus my actions because I have a functioning compass that helps me navigate the upcoming weeks, months and years.”

Path to Success

“The Personal Agility System keeps me honest and kind to myself everyday. The Celebrate and Choose event every Sunday evening has given me back self-compassion and empowerment. I look at my Priorities Map for the week and I can immediately determine if I’m living in coherence or not. The most important contribution of PAS is where it all starts: answering the question “What really matters?” Everything else flows from there. My experience of stress and overwhelm has dramatically reduced because, no matter how many things need to get done, I get my peace of mind knowing 2 things: if they truly matter, (1) they will get done; and 2) there is more than enough time, space and energy that they don’t need to compete for my attention.”

Tools: PAS Priorities Map, PAS Forces Map, What really matters?, Celebrate & Choose, Kindness

Support

“One of the many supportive elements to my recovery was my coaching engagement with Adelina Stefan. I had a couple of goals in mind linked primarily to career goals. However, in one of our discussions, she introduced me to Personal Agility. I was initially hesitant to get on board. I wasn’t in the right mindset and Adelina was great at acknowledging that. As soon as I was ready, she committed! She walked me through it, encouraged me to try it out, and celebrated with me. I was hooked as soon as I got through week 1!”

What else

“I also had a therapist who helped me to re-frame my recovery: it’s about gaining back what I had lost. Engaging in activities that I used to enjoy, but no longer had the time for, was essential to my recovery. It allowed me to get to know myself again and to get re-acquainted with my values. As I like getting things down to the concrete, tangible and actionable, PAS is able to provide that framework for me to guide my choices everyday.”