Katrina is an experienced Project Manager with a Masters Degree in Digital Marketing and a background in Communications. She has successfully worked in a variety of industries from television to advertising and Start Up. Juggling being a mom as well as looking to advance her career, Katrina began using the Personal Agility System to clear the chaos while trying to balance both family and work while working from home during the pandemic. She was able to identify and focus on “What Really Matters” and her story inspires hope for working moms everywhere. Katrina is ready to use what she has learned with Personal Agility to help others clean the chaos on the path to success.


“My situation can best be described as I was a working mom striving to do the best I could in work and home life while breaking matriarchal cycles without completely burning out. My life is still a work in progress as there is always room for improvement and new obstacles that I need to navigate, however I am able to see my strengths and weaknesses and more importantly, communicate them to those around me. Applying Personal Agility showed me how to get out of survival mode and into success mode in all areas of my life and stop the burnout before it happened.”

“Prior to using Personal Agility: 

  • I was constantly on overdrive
  • I didn’t understand my triggers 
  • I couldn’t foresee my burnout
  • I couldn’t hold myself accountable in ways that weren’t damaging 
  • I was poorly communicating with those around me – personally and professionally 
  • I felt like I was living in complete chaos 

I knew what I needed to do but could not get myself to actually take action. 

I felt like I was drowning in complete chaos – and I needed to breathe. 

I was perpetuating the same cycles – and they needed to break. 

I was burning out regularly – and I needed to rest. 

Worst of all, I always had a disappointed feeling and was hyper-critical of myself  – and I really needed to let go.”

“This was me on any given day, even before experiencing back-to-back job loss. I just believed this is who I was. A type-A, go-getter, professional juggler of all things, reliable all the time to everyone, never saying no — AND feeling that being exhausted and broken was totally normal.”

“I was constantly struggling to prioritize, taking on multiple small jobs and getting paid far less than my worth, and sometimes not getting paid at all. We were struggling financially because of this. My job loss, right after having a baby, and my husband’s back injury put me in a state of constant survival mode, thus making terrible decisions, really bad career choices and drowning in utter chaos.” 

“I was also struggling with the mental anguish of being a working mom, stay at home mom, or some insane hybrid, because either way, there was a struggle financially, mental, and emotionally and it was consuming me.”  

Desired Outcome

“My desired outcome was to get out of survival mode, get into success mode, live life at a sustainable pace while dissolving my pre-wired cycles and see where and how I was contributing to the chaos to get it under control. I wanted to set boundaries and hold myself accountable in ways that were not damaging. I needed to reset my work priorities, stop working with toxic clients, and refocus my career goals.”

“I also wanted to find space to nurture myself and not feel depressed or guilty or neglectful to my friends and family. And finally, I wanted to see how others around me were contributing to the chaos and to be better at communicating with each other about it and ultimately stop my burn out before it starts.”

Actual Result

“I did achieve this desired outcome and so much more. I found that I was doing it all and not doing it all, at the same time. Teaching those around me to treat me like I did not have a human capacity. That I am everlasting and do not need support and that I will take on all responsibilities at all times. I was teaching people to treat me like someone who doesn’t matter, like a machine who just constantly produces. These realizations allowed me to identify and align with what really mattered to me and recognize what I (and others) were doing to contribute to the chaos.”

“The tools and techniques of the Personal Agility System that most helped you achieve my desired outcome included The 6 Questions of PAS, What Really Matters (WRM), PAS Priorities Map, and PAS Breadcrumb Trail. I also surveyed other working moms and did some ancillary studies on environmental behaviors to gain a better understanding of my full situation and see how others handled similar challenges.”

“The Personal Agility System helped me achieve my desired outcome by having a clear visualization of what is ahead. Being able to see what could complete in a day, week, or month was life changing. It allowed me to see my life and work balance, or lack thereof in real time. It made the chaos clear and communicable. I could understand what actions of mine were teaching people how to treat me, and working to do better so they (and I) can be better to me.” 

“I could better identify what I was doing to create burnout for myself, then I would rearrange my priorities and communicate where I saw the burnout would likely be so that I could avoid it. I was able to remove bad (abusive/non paying) clients and make room for better clients and better pay, and set boundaries with those that I continued to work with.”

“My triggers also became more clear. I could see where something would trigger me to perpetuate matriarchal cycles and I would work to disrupt them in a positive way. As an added bonus, my health started to take a huge upturn, something I never thought I would have time to focus on was now in the top 3 of my priorities. I was able to manage time in a way that allowed a space for me to nurture myself.”

“Professionally, I found toxic impediments and removed them. I communicated my value with current clients and re-negotiated contracts. I reset professional goals using a great strategist who helped me re-build my resume and showed me proper job searching and follow up. I also stuck to my non-negotiable time boundaries.” 

“Personally, I was finding behaviors that would totally derail me and I found better habits to replace them with. I was communicating with my family more effectively about what I needed and where I needed them; while making myself matter in health and happiness – I don’t think I would have even noticed these areas were suffering if I didn’t have it on my Priorities Map. I was able to visualize where I needed my family to hold themselves accountable for the overall function of the household.” 

“I realized that I was the roadblock to my success – How I treated myself and how I showed others to treat me. I was in control of the chaos the entire time – I still am, just in a clearing way as opposed to a creating way. I was too damaged from holding myself accountable for everything, that I couldn’t hold myself accountable for the right things. Working in small increments was the best way for me to get started and then VROOM, I was off, with a whole new perspective on what really mattered and how I was going to make those items my priority.”

Path to Success

“For others that may want to repeat my success, I want you to know that the chaos does not happen overnight and you will not clear it overnight either, but having a system that you trust to support good decisions and encourage processes and communication will help you keep the chaos under control and the burnout off the horizon.” 

“Working in small increments on What Really Matters and then building out your Priorities Map from there will help you take a step back from your current situation and be really honest with yourself – you don’t have to have it all, not right now and maybe not ever. And that is totally okay.”


© 2021 Peter B. Stevens and Maria Matarelli. Excerpted from Personal Agility: Unlocking Higher Purpose, Alignment, and Performance


Pete Blum is a United States military veteran, an entrepreneur and a professional in information technology, operations, marketing, project management, and business continuity/disaster recovery. He has been a trainer, mentor, and coach to both civilians and military personnel, nationally teaching technology, social media, and entrepreneurship. His passion, mission, and focus is helping others in business and in their personal lives. 

Pete spent 11 years in the U.S. military working in logistics, operations, and information technology. After honorably completing his years of service, he transitioned into civilian life to follow his love of information technology. That first year out, he had 7 different jobs. Eventually he found a great one, but later due to the constant outsourcing, going to the cloud, and transitions that happened in the information technology industry that ended as well. His transition began again.


Another thing stemming from the military life that sticks with you even after you become a civilian is the engrained traits of sacrifice and service.

“In my case it was a desire to help future transitioning veterans have an easier time with transition than I did. I found myself facing a continuous cycle of work transitions, volunteering, and lack of a positive work-life balance. Most importantly, lack of focus, transitions, and spreading yourself too thin has a hard impact on families, the time they spend together, and finances as well.”

Desired Outcome

“My desired outcome was to either break the cycle of repeatedly transitioning as if I were still in the military by finding a great job or to start a business that fulfilled my passion of helping others while providing the stability to take care of my family and allow me to spend those precious moments with them. I missed out on those moments while in the military and deployed. I wanted to never miss those moments again.”

Actual Result

“In embracing the Personal Agility System I have found time freedom, allowing me to spend more time with the family and focus on those treasured moments.”

“I have become an entrepreneur with the ability to fulfill my passion of helping others. I can now work hard, create, shape, and guide others personally or professionally in finding their own stability and success. Being an entrepreneur has also given me the ability to be financially free.”

“The Personal Agility System absolutely helped me! Starting with what really matters and where do I spend my time, I discovered what was important to me the most was not what I was focusing on. My work-life balance was not balanced at all.” 

“This ties significantly into life in the military as well. As an active duty servicemember or as an entrepreneur you’re always on a mission, a timeline, an objective that has to be completed before everything else. Sleeping, eating, family… who has time for that? Personal Agility is certainly the cure!”

“In my case family has always been a priority, however after annotating my daily life using the Personal Agility System I discovered even I could do better.”

Path to Success

“The Personal Agility Priorities Map is one of my favorite tools that helped me get things where they should be in my personal and even professional life. It helped me with prioritization, lack of focus, the fact that I was volunteering too much and spreading myself too thin. And now I always remember to use the “life is the ocean” metaphor and make those continuous course corrections.”

“I now have the ability to share what I have learned through the Personal Agility System to help transitioning military and veterans find the same personal freedom that I have achieved. Many of them start over in a new career or industry. From the “life is the ocean” metaphor and finding their path, to all the other tools that PAS offers I know from personal experience that they can have the same positive results for their lives, families, and finances as well.”

© 2021 Peter B. Stevens and Maria Matarelli. Excerpted from Personal Agility: Unlocking Higher Purpose, Alignment, and Performance

Knowing “What Really Matters” in your life is the first step to designing the life you want that is full of satisfaction, joy, and fulfillment. Knowing “What Really Matters” in your business can create a powerful level of focus to help you create greater results. It’s easy to get swept away with the busy world we live in now with social media distractions, texts, emails, and other notifications going off all day on our phone. It can also be easy to slip into being supportive of the people around you without taking the time to really focus on what is important to you – the things you find fulfilling and the results you want to create.

If you never step back to think about what matters, you may be wandering aimlessly in a repetitive cycle from week to week and not feel like you’re getting ahead. Even if you do know “What Really Matters” – are you taking the active steps forward that will help you  achieve these goals and make the results you say you want a reality?

Enter the Personal Agility System Alignment Compass. A powerful visual tool for helping you reflect on where you’ve been spending your time to see if your behaviors, actions, and patterns are in alignment with the things you say are important. While your Priorities Map will help you see what you’ve achieved, the Alignment Compass provides an additional layer of insights, a holistic visualization of where you spend your focus.

You can see if you are in balance or if your attention has been pulled in different directions. This holistic view of how your actions have aligned with what you say matters can provide valuable insights and an opportunity to reflect while celebrating what you have achieved and providing the opportunity to choose differently if you want to create different results moving forward.

If you would like to learn more about the Personal Agility System and the Alignment Compass, join one of our upcoming events or training courses and unlock a level of higher performance: https://personalagilityinstitute.org/events

Join host, Piyali Karmakar and special guest, Mark Lombardi-Nelson at the Personal Agility Global Roundtable on September 16, 2021 at 12pm EST. Mark will be presenting on “Personal Agility for Leaders: The 5 Ms to Create Shared Actualization”

SAVE THE DATE! More details coming soon!

Join the Personal Agility Institute founders, Peter Stevens and Maria Matarelli, to explore the impact of alignment, purpose, and agility in business units of all sizes at the eXperience Agile global event on September 27th.

Executive practitioners of the Personal Agility System will share their experience achieving profitability goals, company turn-arounds and work-life balance for themselves and their organizations. Speakers include Walter Stulzer, Executive Director at Futureworks, a creative consultancy based in Zurich, Switzerland; Nayomi Handunnetti, Executive Director, Handun Villas & Restaurants in Colombo, Sri Lanka; and Ben Sever, CEO of eRemede, a fast growing med tech company in Tampa Bay, Florida, USA. 

Learn how applying Personal Agility as a leadership and coaching based framework can provide the foundation for the people in your organization to reach a state of higher performance.

After each executive shares their case, you can join the break-out rooms for a question and answer session with the executive of your choice to find inspiration, wisdom, and insights to accelerate your company’s own agile journey.

Join us → https://www.experienceagile.org

The Scrum Alliance hosted an interview series where they invited Peter Stevens and Maria Matarelli to talk about Personal Agility and how people can apply this simple approach in their life to do more of What Really Matters. Here, Peter and Maria discuss how to resolve relationship conflict using powerful questions which are a core staple in Personal Agility.

Read the full article: https://resources.scrumalliance.org/Article/resolve-relationship-conflict-powerful-questions-agile-coaches

The Scrum Alliance hosted an at-home agility interview series where they invited Peter Stevens and Maria Matarelli to talk about Personal Agility and how people can apply this simple approach in their life to do more of What Really Matters.

Watch the video interview: https://resources.scrumalliance.org/Video/high-impact-agile-practices-partnerships-families-friendships

Read the full article: https://resources.scrumalliance.org/Article/high-impact-agile-techniques-partnerships-friendships-families

The Personal Agility System helps people and organizations identify What Really Matters while providing a simple system to aid in achieving these goals. In addition to helping individuals and organizations gain clarity on What Really Matters, we go one step further to help people identify and create alignment. This could be alignment with the people in your life or in a work context, alignment with stakeholders and other teams throughout an organization.

Stakeholder alignment is important for any company using Agile. Having a clear vision for the teams to support clear initiatives that create a positive return on investment (ROI) for the organization.

We recognized early on how important it is to ensure that we create alignment with the people around us and alignment with the initiatives in an organization and we have created a tool at the Personal Agility Institute to help with just that.

Introducing the Stakeholder Interview Canvas. We have discovered this canvas can be a powerful tool when talking to stakeholders to uncover what is most important to them. The first column has questions related to “Who”, the second column has questions related to “Why”, and the third column has questions related to the “Desired Outcome”.

A powerful question at the core of Personal Agility, is “What Really Matters?” though we don’t immediately jump in to asking that question. We recommend going in the numerical order and jumping around the canvas. This encourages you to flow with the conversation and you can jump in and out of different questions as you go.

Begin with the first column with the questions related to “Who”. This is where we ask questions about the main goals or objectives.

Next, we go to the middle column and ask the questions related to “Why”. Here, we explore the challenges and impediments along with risks, concerns, fears, and frustrations.

As we approach the third column, we want to focus on the desired outcomes. This is where we ask about their definition of awesome and how we can support them in creating that outcome.

Next, we loop back around to summarize what really matters to the other person. You can summarize the top 3 areas of focus that emerged from the conversation or you may want to ask if they can clarify what the top 3 areas of importance are and identify any follow up steps.

Give it a try! Download a free copy of the Personal Agility Stakeholder Interview Canvas under the “Free Tools” section of the website here: https://personalagilityinstitute.org/freetools

We would love to hear how this tool works for you. Please give it a try and reach out to Maria (at) PersonalAgilityInstitute (dot) org to share your experience on how it helped!



Lyssa Adkins is best known as the author of the foundational book Coaching Agile Teams, which connected the Scrum Master role and Professional Coaching to give definition to the profession Agile Coach.

She co-founded the Agile Coaching Institute (ACI), which specialized in coaching agile coaches through their agile transformation. She led the development of the ACI until it was acquired by Accenture.


Selling the company gave her a clean slate. “The key challenge I had around that time was how am I going to reorient myself and my business and even my public persona so that I can attract the business I wanted to attract, and so that I can do it in a way that didn’t sacrifice the sustainable pace I had very willingly and arduously crafted in my life?”

Desired Outcome

“I wanted clarity in how I spend my time, and to have more kindness to myself. I often didn’t count the things that were in the category of joy and play and family and community and alone time and recharging as valid or real. And I needed to.”


“I definitely achieved that goal. One of my main categories under what really matters was called ample time. I wanted to have ample time to do everything I’m doing fully and well. I absolutely achieved that. Meanwhile, while the business piece was coming back up and getting reinvented, I found myself at the cusp of launching into new business ideas and new business ventures.”

“I had to constantly bring my attention to know relaxation is part of the job. Rejuvenation is part of the job; you’re actually doing tasks. You’re doing work by attending to your own foundation and the resilience that you will need in the future. This is what was going on in my head.”

“It took a long time to rewire the addiction to work, the addiction to achieving, and the addiction to saying yes to too many things (which meant I had to get them done). Getting past this addiction was a huge benefit. It took me a while to consistently direct my attention to what was really important.

That created a lot more happiness and joy in my own life, or maybe just helped me notice how much happiness and joy was already in my life.”


“Of all the tools of the Personal Agility System, what really stands out for me is the brilliant naming of the ‘Celebrate and Choose’ event.”

“I was on an addiction-to-work rollercoaster where I was moving from one thing to the next. And yes, I would have moments of recognizing my accomplishments or celebrating, but it was not a weekly ritual of celebrating what actually did happen.”

“Since I was tracking all this in my Priorities Map, I could clearly see what I accomplished.”

“I was like, ‘Oh my gosh — I can’t believe I got that much done,’ even though I didn’t feel like I had been pushing myself. This new way of being was both more effective and more relaxed at the same time.”

“Personal Agility reminded me strongly that I do not celebrate enough. I wasn’t noticing enough what I accomplished or the gains I had made. I wasn’t giving myself any breaks or even trying to give myself a break. I had to rewire myself around the ritual of celebrating.”

“The ‘Celebrate and Choose’ event helped me recognize what actually did happen. Good, bad, or indifferent, it represents learning and I know I can choose differently next time. That was huge.”

Path to Success

“I think that the biggest thing about Agility itself is transparency.”

“That’s really it in a nutshell. When I get it all out on the Priorities Map — and I’m working my Priorities Map every single day — I’m seeing what’s going on and I’m seeing what I am not getting done. This allows me to be a more conscious choice maker. When I say I want something, and then notice that I’m making different choices, it’s easier to correct my choices toward what I want.”

“I am so aware that Personal Agility will continue to benefit me because it helps me ensure I have the right things on the calendar. My Priorities Map helps me do things completely and not overbook myself or go crazy with too much work in progress.”

Tips for your Journey

“I love the stories that we have heard from people pulling themselves out of desperate financial situations, to people getting in and out of business partnerships, and just making a lot of very declarative and meaningful changes in their lives.”

“Working with the Personal Agility Institute, I have really loved being involved with the groups that Maria Matarelli and I have led through the process. What I’ve learned is that everyone does it a little bit differently. And I love that. So I think to replicate my success, you just use the tools and follow along the process, and you’re going to do it your own way.”

“You will have different things that matter to you, you will have a different way that you’re charting your course across the ocean of your life, you will have different things that get in your way. My particular ways of getting in my own way will not be your particular ways. But all of this can be revealed and worked with in a really kind way.”

Janani Liyanage is an enterprise agile coach who is passionate about helping people embrace the agile mindset. “I want to support people on the road to their success.” Janani is married with an 8-year-old son and lives in Colombo, Sri Lanka. When she started with the Personal Agility System, she was working toward her certifications as a Scrum Trainer and Enterprise Coach. She wanted to connect her passion more with her profession. How could she feel that she is living her purpose every day?


“As a person, I wanted to lead the life of a coach, not just do coaching. I wanted to know which opportunities would help me realize my purpose. I was doing too many things. It looked like many things were helping me achieve my purpose, but I wasn’t actually making any progress. I needed to do some filtering to focus on what really mattered.”

Desired Outcome

“I wanted to be my profession. To me, living the life of a coach means I want to lead an agile life. I want to share my inspiration with more and more people. An agile life for me means I want to do things that are meaningful and not always have to say, ‘I am too busy’. We are living in uncertain and chaotic times. I want to be able to stay calm and evaluate what really matters so I can do the right thing. I want to be open to new ideas and new opportunities. I want to get away from being perpetually busy.”


“Initially, I was not able to accept that there was a problem. I would make excuses for why I wasn’t changing.”

“The first thing I achieved was awareness and acceptance. I became able to take accountability for my actions. I had to do some tough negotiations with various people in my life, like my family and my employer. It became much easier to have these crucial conversations.”

“Before, I was plagued by self-doubt and “inner chatter” that interfered with what I really wanted to achieve. Now I am able to act. I’m not sure if I can ever say that I have achieved an agile life, but I feel I am well on the path.”

Path to Success

Janani used the Celebrate and Choose Event, the PAS Priorities Map and Breadcrumb Trail, and the PAS Stakeholder Canvas.

“The Personal Agility System helped me build awareness and acceptance of myself. I could stop making excuses, face the challenges, and take action on the things that matter to me. Now it helps me to take the steps continuously. The next step is, I want to feel more accountable. The visualization of the PAS Priorities Map with the color codes helps me. Before, I needed someone else to appreciate my efforts. Now, with the Celebrate and Choose event, I realize it is more important to explain things to myself than to others. I can appreciate myself for the things that I did and have accountability for the things that I didn’t.”