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Category: Attitude

My list of excuses

I have a list of excuses not to run. I’m tired, it’s cold, it’s raining, I don’t have the time, I’d rather read a book, it’s boring, my favorite jacket is in the laundry. It’s easy to find one at a moment’s notice.

I also have the antidote for excuses. It’s having a goal that I can’t ignore. Like a race. I used to do lots of 5 kilometer races. Then it became boring. Why drive somewhere, stand around waiting for the race to start, then for the
finishers, then drive home so I could run for 20 minutes? It didn’t make sense.

Last year I signed up for my first half marathon. I downloaded a 12 week training plan, and stuck to it. Okay, I missed a week of it, but I still kept to it. I ran in cold rain and in sweltering heat. I destroyed my iPod Nano, a Garmin 305 GPS, and a pair of running shoes. There wasn’t any room for excuses.

After the race I slacked off. I ran a few times, and pulled out my list of excuses, removing the dust and using them again. Then my wife said “why don’t you do another half marathon”? Because I swore them off. I had no intention of doing one again. Never. Again.

While attending a neighborhood Christmas party, an avid runner told me that I’d change my mind. I’d run another half marathon. A couple days later I decided I’d plan on doing three of them in 2017. I signed up for a half marathon in Newport, Rhode Island¬†on April 15th.

Goals are the best way to overcome your excuses. Pick them carefully and then focus on them. Excuses are for other people.


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Vulnerability is a core skill for a project manager

A good project for me is a complicated one. It’s full of potholes, obstacles, and dead ends. I’m forced to think through how to overcome the obstacles. I’m not always successful in my approach.

This is when I let myself be vulnerable. I confide in the core team that I’m currently stuck and unsure of how to proceed. I ask if they have any ideas to help us move forward. This vulnerability always provides results.

Being a project manager doesn’t mean we have to know all the answers. It’s often the questions we ask that are more important than knowing the answers.

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Conditions may vary

Project management is all about taking a team from Point A to Point B to deliver an outcome. It’s a journey that often follows the same path. Organizations that execute the same project types multiple times are the paved roads of project management. If you can’t manage ambiguity, then seek this type of a project management role. Keep in mind that you’ll likely be the first project managers replaced by artificial intelligence.

Most of the roles I’ve filled in project management align with the definition of a project. Each one is unique. Even when the outcome we want is the same, how we get there will vary based on the conditions we encounter along the way. This requires us to embrace the current situation, reset expectations, and moderate our speed.

I was reminded of this as I ran our beach for about the 200th time this morning. The first 1.5 miles are predictable. It starts on pavement and continues into a tidal marsh. The conditions are predictable. When I reach the creek and turn toward the bay, all bets are off. The tides and storms constantly change the running conditions. I’m often forced to apply rolling wave planning, picking the best line on the mixed stones and sugar sand to get as far down the beach as I can. Sometimes as little as 20 feet. Then I repeat my short term planning. On these days I embrace the fact that I need to pace myself to make it to the finish without running out of energy.

What’s your preference for project management? Do you prefer paved roads, or is the thrill of the beach that energizes you?

Get my almost best selling book Haiku for Project Managers so you can enjoy the beaches more.

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Haiku for project managers – attitude

FrostIf you hold grudges /
When you do not get your way /
Find a new career

Project managers need to possess thick skin. If you find yourself getting upset because activities don’t flow they way you think they should, or you keep score related to your project team, it’s time to find a new career path. Or grow thicker skin.

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