Posted in Growing Up

Brainstorm the word “agency”

I want to follow-up on the idea of “agency”–of bringing things about in one’s life that are positive, productive and energizing. We can tackle this exercise by brainstorming other words or phrases that mean something similar. Brainstorming is more fun with others, but I will go it alone for the moment. (Feel free to join me when you get this.)

  • Making something happen that you desire
  • Creating what you want
  • Manifesting (heard this word today — love it!)
  • Generating outcomes
  • Building an attitude that serves you
  • Finding ways to overcome obstacles
  • Seeking productive solutions
  • Expanding options
  • Discovering possibilities
  • Garnering assistance
  • Accepting champions
  • Utilizing mentors, experts, and others who can help

As you can see, I generated plenty of ways to articulate “agency.” Of course, I am looking for the positive side of agency.

We may want a million dollars and decide to rob a bank. That IS manifesting what you want in life, but it comes with negative consequences. So let’s be clear.

I’m talking about when a person displays “agency” that person is seeking legitimate ends through legitimate means. Am I splitting hairs?  I’m trying to be clear.

It is not me wanting to buy a Hummer, when I make $32,000 a year. It is not me desiring a pair of shoes that I will wear one to three times and pay $150 for them–especially if I’m making only $32,000. But agency could be me deciding to learn the piano at age 42 and making the required adjustments around family and work life to make it feasible to do.

Agency is a young woman wanting to study abroad as a junior in college and being willing to cover part of the cost by working; to apply for a scholarship, grant or loan; and ask mom and dad to help with part of the cost, if that is possible. It includes initiating and completing the application on time, even if she needs help. And if a young woman demonstrates agency she will do any other preparation necessary for the trip.

Does this short essay get us any closer to understanding the concept of agency? And why is it important for us to understand the concept?

 

 

Author:

Fiction and nonfiction writer, traveler, blogger, workshop facilitator. Author of coming-of-age travel memoir, At Home in the World: Travel Stories of Growing Up and Growing Away.