January has come and gone and with it another year of New Year’s resolutions. But there is no better time than NOW to begin Project You!
If you are like me we get busy working and taking care of our families and homes. Many of the corporations we work for have embraced the concept of doing “more with less”, which often translates into longer hours for those of us remaining. In the midst of all of this activitiy, this “tyranny of the urgent”, we seldom slow down and reassess the direction in which we are headed. As a career change manager I know a lot about getting things done. But how often do I apply those concepts to my personal life? I keep thinking that I will get to these things later . . . after this project, after this big assignment, after the kids go back to school . . . and tomorrow never comes.
I have always remembered a comment a friend of mine made when she turned 50. She said, “I suddenly realized that if I had any dreams for myself I needed to go ahead and get started. The feeling that I had always had, that I had plenty of time, was gone with this birthday.” This friend went back to college, finished her undergraduate degree, went on to get her masters degree, and is now a therapist who has pulled together a consortium of people to work together in the healing arts area. Over time she created the life she desired, one step at a time.
A year ago I was in a control room during a large transition-project deployment event. We’d been working 20 hour days for over a week. My manager and friend said to me, in the small hours of the morning, after another all-nighter, “The pace of this last year has ben so hard. I don’t want to come to another January feeling as if I am missing my life!”
So I began living in the question, “Where do I want to go personally and professionally? What activities give more meaning to my life?” It all starts with the beginning, with a desire for more life. For those of us that are project managers, it begins with the vision (the charter) and defining the “What” (the requirements). Don’t limit yourself to what you think is possible, or worry about “How” you get there. Allow yourself to think new thoughts and even dream a little.
Henry Ford said, “Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re probably right!“. All change starts with the mental conversation we have with ourselves. So allow yourself to start out creatively, outside the box you might have placed yourself in, and start to hone in on a direction or activities.
We can’t manufacture more time in the day, but we can begin to more effectively use the bits and pieces of time we have. I have created small pockets of time by starting 30 minutes earlier in the morning and turning off the TV for some period in the evening. Or a few minutes sitting quietly at lunch time, with a pad and pen, can create a book, if done consistently over time.
So Step 1 in the Project You! series: BEGIN! Live in the question, write out your responses, talk to your loved ones: ”In what direction do I want to steer?
Assignment: Answer the questions below (share your goals with us by adding a comment to this blog post, if desired):
- Where do I want to go professionally? If I had no limits, no worries about HOW, where would I go? What would I do?
- What activities enrich my life personally? If I didn’t worry about time, or how I could slot it in, what activities fill my cup, or bring me pleasure?
- Where do I want to put my time in service to others? All lives of meaning give something back . . . what types of activities would allow you to give back? It can be a small thing, such as donating a book to “Reach-a-Child” (the February newsletter has a section on this organization) or it could be a large effort, such as overseeing a Habitat for Humanity project.
Future articles in the Project You! series will outline the next steps in this change (transformation) process. So go ahead, take the challenge to BEGIN Project YOU, and you, too, will be Seizing It!