7th Inning Slump

Ugh, it has been a tough week so far as getting out and moving is concerned. One of my biggest struggles is putting myself first when it comes to exercise. I fool myself with the early morning thought and plan that I will get to it after I’ve had a cup of coffee then when that doesn’t happen, at lunch which turns to I will get to it before dinner then after dinner… Before I know it, the day has passed and I have not exercised. Typically, I’ve gotten a lot of other stuff done just no exercise.

The other night I had a dream that I was running again. Fortunately, in the dream, I wasn’t running away from anything rather running for fitness and pleasure. It felt great. I woke up pondering if that was a sign that it was time to get back to it. Then I finished a book on Kindle and was looking for another in my library to start seeing that one of my unread downloads was A Beautiful Work in Progress written by Mirna Valerio, a unique and inspiring ultra-distance runner. The desire to run again is bubbling right at the surface – now to put desire and action together.

A good thing, health and fitness-wise that has happened this week, is that I have started a 12-week program focused on nutrition and movement aimed at women 40+. The first week has started with writing down foods consumed. What I have noticed is that I am sorely lacking in fruit and vegetable consumption! It’s amazing what we find out about ourselves when we start paying attention to our patterns and habits.

The building desire to run again plus the 12-weeks program hitting together will hopefully help to bring me out of this current fitness slump, moving me in a healthier direction which if the stars align and the gods are on my side will help me shed some of these extra pounds! To be continued…

 

Kindness as Currency

By John R. Nocero, PhD, MBA, CCRP, GCP, CC, ACB & Katherine J. Pryor, MPM

There is no doubt about it, being a project manager is a tough gig! If you are a project manager or have ever thought about jumping into the field, you may have heard it described as being akin to the task of herding cats – feral cats at that. There are competing priorities amongst often disjointed teams that directly impact the budget and timelines; the project sponsor is often guilty of expanding the scope without increasing the budget or timelines; and there is the ever-present issue of project quality and risk mitigation. On top of all that, there are still people out there who do not understand the role of the project manager and foster uncertainty as to the important and positive influence a strong project manager can have on overall project outcomes.

Unfortunately, many project managers are perceived as edgy and hurried people unwilling to listen. Other complaints have been that project managers will not heed their functional lead’s advice or take direction well, and are basically not kind or pleasant people to be around. This perception is especially strong with internal team members where many team members avoid interaction with the project manager. Does it have to be so? My answer is no. Jill Lublin, international speaker and author of The Profit of Kindness agrees. In her book, she discusses that kindness is a type of currency that can be successfully used in business relationships to foster better relationships thereby increasing a company’s bottom line.

It is possible to be an effective project manager AND a pleasant person with who people enjoy working. In fact, kindness is a critical trait for a strong project manager to possess. At the end of the day, effective project management is about relationships – relationships with internal teams, sponsors, any external vendors, and all other players who may present during the project life cycle. In order to build strong and mutually beneficial relationships, one must be somewhat likeable and being kind to those around us is a way to be perceived as likeable. The old saying, “you catch more flies with honey than vinegar” certainly rings true in the project management realm.

Relationships with internal team members are often the most strained because it is from those internal teams that the project manager must make the magic happen. Internal teams often feel overwrought and underappreciated therefore are most likely to protest requirements and timelines. Taking time to develop mutually beneficial working relationships with internal team members yields positive project results. A relatively painless first step for project managers is to slow down and listen to what is being said by the internal team(s). From these types of interactions, there is likely beneficial insight that helps identify potential risks; provides solutions to tricky problems; or introduces time-saving options.  If none any of those, at least it was a show of respect from the project manager to internal team member(s). Everyone appreciates being heard.

Overall, it costs nothing for a project manager to be kind but the returns for relationship development with internal team members are priceless.

References

Lublin, Jill (2017). The Profit of Kindness: How to Influence Others, Establish Trust, and Build Lasting Business Relationships. The Career Press, Inc. Wayne, NJ. USA

Weinstein, Bob (2017). https://www.projectmanagement.com/blog-post/27360/How-to-Use-Kindness-as-a-Business-Tool Retrieved 20 Aug 2017

 

Real Talk

I literally hate my job! This has been a common reframe and theme from me over the years – just ask any of my family and friends how many times they have heard me say it! One time, when I was still married, I apparently sat up in the middle of the night and yelled “I HATE MY FUCKING JOB” after which I laid back down being none the wiser of my outburst though my then-husband was understandably a little rattled.

I haven’t had the same job for all of these years and have had a couple that I actually liked. I also will say, that there are aspects of each of my jobs that I enjoy. For the most part, though, I am continuously dissatisfied with my work. Why is that and how do I keep landing myself in pit (job) of despair? Is there truly no escape from the misery?

pit of despair

I believe that there is a light and through a few things I’m doing now, to include writing this blog, I am going to get to it. At forty-something, I’m figuring out what I want to be when I grow-up. When I was little and more than a little feisty, I said that I wanted to be the President of the United States when I grew up – not headed in that direction anymore but definitely figuring a few previously unresolved things out.

First off, I love to write. I have stories and narratives playing in my head regularly. (I have checked, it’s okay and not something that is worrisome to my mental health care friends!) Whenever I have been in a position where I have had the opportunity to write – reports, business proposals, grants, newsletters etc. I have been ecstatic. I even get excited about writing complex emails where I need to explain difficult concepts. This all being said, I know that writing must be part of my career happily ever after.

Secondly, I love connecting with people and helping people connect with others. I have always loved the idea of building bridges. In one job, I had been working with struggling parents to get the resources they needed in order to better navigate the tricky parenting terrain – this made me feel useful and that I was making a positive impact on individuals and society.

Thirdly, providing support and helping people become the best version of themselves brings me a lot of satisfaction and joy. Even in my current (dreaded) position, I look for opportunities to teach or train others. I believe in the old adage about teaching a man to fish. Not only will he never run out of fish but he will also develop a feeling of being capable which is priceless and transcends one situation to impact many.

It has taken me a long time to figure out that these things I love and feel energized by are also my gifts that I have to share with the world. We are each unique in how we are put together from our looks to our thoughts to our unique talents and gifts; that is because the world needs each of us. It has taken quite a bit of soul-searching and positive re-enforcement from family and friends but now I am starting to understand the value of my unique combination of talents.

To that end, I’m developing a business plan that will combine what I have to offer and put me in a position to love the work I am doing. Stay tuned as there will be more to come!