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Category: Life

The waiting is the hardest part

Anticipatory stress is the worst stress. It’s generally more harmful to our health than the actual event we stress over. It keeps us from sleeping. We’re not present with our family, friends, or colleagues. Our mind is stuck in an endless loop of re-runs that deny us of peace.

Dig into the issue and identify the root cause. Confront it as soon as you can. Address the issue, not the person. Do it now.

After you confront it you can move forward without all the extra emotional baggage. Most of the time the issue will be a tempest in a teapot.

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Choosing the right tool (or person) for your current problem

All of us will need someone to help us at various points in life. It can be simple help, like how to find a cross-street while in a strange city. Or complicated, like what to do with the rest of our lives.

Make sure you pick the right person to provide the type of help you need. Asking an uncle who spent a career assembling widgets on a factory floor won’t help you much if you’re trying to resolve an issue with a challenging colleague or manager. Their skills may be more around the mechanical issues that arise in your life.

Aligning your needs with the expertise of the person you’re engaging will save both of you time and energy. Keep this in mind when you’re asked to help someone else. If you lack the context or expertise needed, let the person know this. Offer to connect them to someone who can provide better insight into resolving their issues.

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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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Desperate project managers

I often think of myself as an accidental project manager. I started my career in marketing, and one day got excited about project management. I shifted my focus, and BANG! I was a project manager.

Most state employment offices offer free project management training and certification support. This has made the way for what I think of as desperate project managers. Their previous occupation has disappeared due to automation, offshoring, or consolidation. Their chosen career is never coming back. They need to transition to a new career. Project management training is free and encouraged.

Few people make it into project management taking this route. They’re missing a very important component in building a new career. Passion. They focus on project management as a way to replace an income from a career they invested a decade or more in mastering. The false allure of a good career sucks them down this new career path of project management. Their motivation is desperation. Which is the worst attitude to carry into a job interview or into a new career.

Look hard at your current career and what is impacting it. Don’t wait for the layoff to have a plan. If you’re displaced from your career choice, invest time in deciding what you are passionate about. Then pursue it. It may require hard life choices. Downsizing, a move, or living on a strict budget. Desperation won’t provide you with what you need to live a fulfilling life.

Have you been forced to make a career path change?

Get your copy of my 5 star review project management book Haiku for Project Managers.

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