Help other professionals to achieve their potential
Leader and well-known author John Maxwell affirms that when you growing yourself enables you to grow others. I deeply believe that you, as a project professional, need to do so. Obviously, you cannot do what you do not have but if you have made your best efforts to learn or earn something, you have the ability to pass it on to other professionals. For instance, one of my obsessions is to maintain my positive attitude most of the time when I manage a project or a program, so I always try to be positive contagious with other professionals, with my team and rest of project stakeholders, watching the full part of the bottle every day.
In many articles I wrote, I said that everybody could be my teacher, so I’m opening to learn every day. Then if you keep growing and determine to help others achieve their potential, you will have much to give other people and make a positive impact on your field, in your society or in your world.
Be ready to give, not to keep it only for yourself
Most project managers who do make personal growth part of their lives do it to add value to themselves. They only take care of themselves. In contrast givers act in a different way. Whatever type of value they receive, they give it away. That’s my best practice to be as we learn and grow. As long as you are focused on personal growth, you will never experience scarcity and will always have much to give to other professionals.
Make the right choices as a contributor
I tried to be a project management contributor my whole professional life being a PMI volunteer. Giving of your time, expertise, and resources without expecting anything in return is an unselfish act that makes the world a better place. We need more givers. When you focus more on the wants and needs of others, more of your own wants and needs are met. On the other hand, when you choose to board what you have, rather than give, you become the center of your own lonely universe and you become less content, not more. Usually what will happen is that you will repel both people and potential blessings.
In order to be able to help, you need to be a growing and developing person. And you need to be intentional in your efforts to add value to others. I have some best practices to share with you to cultivate an attitude of contribution:
- Be grateful
Say thank you more frequently to others. People who are not grateful are not givers. They rarely think about others; they think only of themselves. Their days consist of looking for others to help them, give something to them, serve them. And whenever others do not fulfill those expectations, they wonder why. Their selfishness keeps them from sowing and their ingratitude makes them wonder why they do not reap a harvest.
How can you show gratitude? By daily pouring into others and passing on to them the things that will allow them to run far and achieve beyond what you have done.
- Put people first
All things of this world are temporary. People are what matter. Your careers, hobbies, and other interests will die with you. People continue on. What you give to help others builds them up enough that they are able to give to others. Be part of the cycle that can continue on long after you are dead and gone. Treating others well not only benefits people, it also helps us navigate life better and puts us in a place where we can learn from others. The measure of success is not the number of people who serve you, but the number of people you serve.
- Do not let stuff own you
No one should ever become a slave of his stuff. If you want to be in charge of your heart, do not allow possessions to take charge of you. The question is, “do you own your stuff or does your stuff own you? Contributors take the stuff they own and use it as an asset to make this world a better place to live. And they do this regardless of how much or how little they have.
- Do not let people own you
When I started my PM Consulting business on 2002 I was supported financially by other company financially stronger than me for a couple of years. I appreciated that help during those years, even when I worked to much. It made a difference in my business but, in a particular moment the level of effort I needed to do was exhaustive and I felt physical and mental fatigue. That company business stressed me a lot, so I had to make a decision and I was determined to give up my relationship with that company.
The managing director of that company felt damaged, and she did not understand why I was leaving, but I was very determined about it and I left that business relationship thanking about the help and support given to me during almost two years. Nobody own you, remember it.
- Define success as sowing, not reaping
My father who passed away many years ago said “I consider the success of my day based on the seeds I sow, not the harvest I reap”. In my opinion, it should be the way we judge not only our days, but our entire lives. Unfortunately, most people sow little and expect to reap a lot. Work smart and plan your seeds.
If you are sowing only for quick returns in life, then you will usually be unhappy with the outcome and unable to keep giving and living while waiting. On the other hand, if you sow continuously and abundantly, you can be sure that in due season there will be a harvest, Successful people know this and focus on sowing, knowing that reaping will eventually come. If you live life with the intention of making a difference in other’s lives, your life will be full, not empty.
- Focus on self-development, not self-fulfillment
What is the main difference between self-development and self-fulfillment? The motive. Self-fulfillment means doing what I enjoy most. Self-development means doing what I am talented and uniquely fit to do, and that becomes my responsibility. Chasing self-fulfillment is a bit like chasing happiness. It is an emotion that cannot be sustained. It relies too much on circumstances. It depends on a person’s mood. In contrast, you can develop yourself regardless of how you feel, what circumstances you find yourself in, your financial situation, or the people around you. Prepare your development plan and stick to it.
- Keep growing to keep giving
Whenever people stop actively learning and growing, the clock has started trickling down to a time when they will no longer have anything left to give. If you want to keep giving, you have to keep growing.
Sometimes people stop learning because they become complacent. They believe they have grown enough, or they want only to make the most of what they already have in terms of skill and knowledge. That is when they start to plateau and them decline. They lose their innovative spirit. They begin to think about being efficient instead of breaking ground. They cut costs instead of investing in growth. Their vision becomes very limited. And instead of playing to win, they start playing not to lose.
We all love doing what we are good at, but being good at something requires us to keep our skills sharp. Less skills leads to less enthusiasm and eventually discontent. If we reach this stage, we start looking behind us, because that is where our best days are. We think about the good old days, the glory days. At that point, we are only a few short steps from obsolescence. Nobody wants to learn from a has-been. If you want to give until you have given all you have, you need to keep growing until you can grow no more.
Today is a good day to help other professionals to achieve their potential. That way tomorrow will be better for you.
Alfonso Bucero, MSc, PMP, PMI-RMP, PfMP, PMI Fellow