There is a great book I found several years ago that I still refer to now and again. It’s called Why Your Life Sucks, And What You Can Do About It. The main message is that in life, you get back what you give. In other words, if you project negative thoughts and constant worry, then you will receive negative events and reasons to worry. If you flip that concept and find the glass half full and accentuate the positive, then you will have sunny days ahead.
Let’s face it, there are some things you simply cannot control like the weather, other people’s behavior or the continuous panic surrounding the state of the economy. It’s how you react to these things that matter.
Thinking about this in business terms, if your company is made up of team players who do not communicate with one another or processes that are outdated and frustrating to deal with, then your business will self-destruct. You get back bad news as an answer to sending out bad news, that your company does not have its act together.
No matter what your title is, there is always an opportunity to gain control and find success. For more than two decades, I’ve found a handful of ways to implement project management, so your business can bravely push through adversity and land back on its feet.
10 Ways to Use Project Management to Give and Get Back Success
1. Get away from the dark side
Listening to and repeating negative stories depletes your energy as well as the energy of the person with whom you are sharing this information. It also drags you down and eventually chips away at any ambition or spirit you had.
There is a time and place where bad news should be shared. There also needs to be a next step to what needs to be done to move forward and get closure. No good will ever come from nonstop harmful trash talk, gossip, speculation and media hype.
Instead, develop your own strategy around changes, risk management and problem solving—whether at work or at home. You’ll feel a difference discovering you have more control over a situation.
2. Dream big
You are what you dream; this is an incredibly important philosophy to embrace. If you focus on failure, you will fail. If you set long-term personal and organizational goals for success, then you will eventually achieve it.
Turn off any discouraging words you hear from others, as they will hold you back. There are so many success stories around people who tuned out the negative naysayers and pushed forward toward their dream. Think about people like President Barack Obama, who had to ignore every person who ever told him, “No, you can’t.” You have the courage to do the same.
Envision yourself going through the motions and conversations to get yourself exactly where you’d like to be. If you do this daily and continue to see yourself succeeding, then it will become a reality.
3. Never quench that thirst for knowledge
Seek out opportunities to do your own formal and informal learning. Engaging in such activities as informational interviews, podcasts, webinars, or training and development courses will all take you to your customized major. You have the power to become an expert in whatever you’d like—and chances are, if you are excited about that subject, you will excel in it.
4. Actions speak louder than words
Simply said, develop a “can do, we will prevail” attitude, walk the walk and lead by example. You’ll find a following of others who want to get it right, have a positive experience and check out each day with some sort of accomplishment.
5. Go with your gut
I’ve always said, “If you are passionate about something, you will wildly succeed.” If your talents are being used effectively and in the right environment, it will have a significant impact. Seek out opportunities where you can have more fun and make more of a difference.
6. Never eat lunch alone
Every lunch hour should be used to connect with others in your industry to stay in-the-know about issues taking place in businesses around you. Face-to-face informational get togethers, LinkedIn professional groups and tweets from industry leaders on Twitter are excellent ways to brainstorm ideas, gather solutions and share experiences that can help you now or later. It also confirms you are not alone in any challenges you face.
7. Develop many plan-Bs
Whether you are an individual relying on one industry or company to meet all of your financial needs or a business relying on one customer or product to sustain your economic well-being, you need to mix things up to keep things fresh.
8. Grab your oxygen mask
It’s just like the flight attendants tell us on preflight safety instructions: You need to secure your own mask before helping others. Create a safety net so you can take risks, when needed, in your career or your projects.
9. Strategize long-term and short-term goals
Always be ready to address new opportunities if and when they arise. Some opportunities will be golden and others will be disguised as difficulties. Remember to assess how these will impact you in achieving your long-term goals, then develop a strategy that incorporates the change into your ambitions and dreams.
10. Know when to cut bait
Assess your projects and commitments to see which are energizing and which are dragging you down. A simple way to figure this out is to ask yourself, “If I had to make the decision today to start this project, would I?” If the answer is no, stop wasting your valuable resources on it.
If you are frustrated with your daily experiences, it’s time to rethink your morning routine. Start your day with a review of these 10 steps toward a happy and successful existence. Tape it up on the wall by your toothbrush or position it next to your coffee pot. Start off on the right foot each day, so you can continually put out good news, lead by good examples and receive, in return, good things. It’s time to really start giving out what you want to get back in business, in your personal life or both. You have the power to make it happen.
Michelle LaBrosse, PMP, is the founder of Cheetah Learning, and author of Cheetah Negotiations and Cheetah Project Management. The Project Management Institute, www.pmi.org, recently selected LaBrosse as one of the 25 Most Influential Women in Project Management in the World, and only one of two women selected from the training and education industry. She is a graduate of the Harvard Business School’s Owner President Managers (OPM) program and also holds engineering degrees from Syracuse University and the University of Dayton. Her articles have appeared in more than 100 publications and Web sites around the world. Her monthly column, the “Know How Network,” is carried by more than 400 publications, and her monthly newsletter goes out to more than 50,000 people. Her radio program, Your World Your Way, is a weekly broadcast that looks at how project management fuels success.