Keep growing as a Project Manager
Every project manager wants to be encouraged and inspired. But when we are talking about personal growth: motivation gets you going, but discipline keeps you growing. If you want to grow, be consistent. Discipline means being able to make efforts in a consistent way every day to achieve your objectives and remember that you can do it. Are you consistent?
Grow in consistency
If you want to improve, you need to know the what, how, why and when of personal improvement. I summarized some questions you may want to ask yourself and reflect upon your personal growth:
- Do you know what do you need to improve?
One of my preferred sentences is “everybody could be my teacher”. Your future is dependent on your personal growth. Improving yourself daily guarantees you a future filled with some possibilities. Know yourself better. The more tuned in you are to your purpose, and the more dedicated you are to growing towards it, the better your chances of reaching your potential, expanding your capacity and doing something significant. You can be EXCELLENT.
- Do you know how you are supposed to improve?
I have some best practices for you:
- a) Align your motivation to your personality type:
Not everyone gets motivated the same way or is motivated by the same things. Start by leveraging your personality profiles and systems that people use. According to Florence Littauer research there are some personality types:
Strengths: Easygoing and likable
If you are phlegmatic, motivate yourself by finding the value in what you need to do. When phlegmatic people see the value in doing something, they can be one of the most tenacious of all personality types.
Strengths: Take charge easily and make decisions quickly
Weaknesses: Refuse to participate when not “in charge”
If you are choleric, motivate yourself by focusing on the choices you can make. Every person is in charge of his own growth. Choose how you will grow and stick with it.
Strenghts: Fun-loving and often the life of every party.
Weakness: Easily distracted
If you are sanguine, motivate yourself to grow by making a game of it. If that seems impossible, then give yourself rewards for incremental successes.
Strenghts: Perfectionist with great attention to detail.
Weakness: Afraid of making mistakes.
If you are melancholic, motivate yourself by focusing on the joy of learning details and the potential for developing a level of mastery over your subject matter.
Every personality type has its strengths. You just need to tap that strength in your personality to set yourself up for success when it comes to motivation.
- b) Start with the simple stuff: When you attempt too much too soon, you are almost guaranteed to be overwhelmed and failed. The secret to building motivational momentum is to start small with simple things. Begin by setting goals that are worthwhile but highly achievable. Master the basics. Then practice them every day without fail. Small disciplines repeated with consistency every day lead to great achievements gained slowly over time. If you want to grow, try to win small. Every day is a good day to try it.
- c) Be patient: Most of people I know are impatient, they need to achieve something too soon. Everything I want to do takes longer than I anticipate. Every endeavor I lead is more difficult than I believed it would be. Patience is a minor form of despair disguised as a virtue. Everything worthwhile in life takes dedication and time. The people who grow and achieve the most are the ones who harness the power of passion persistence and patience.
- c) Value the process: One of the best things you can do for yourself as a learner is to cultivate the ability to value and enjoy the process of growth. It is going to take a long time so enjoy your journey. If you value today and find a way to enjoy it, you will invest in today. Small steps you take today will lead to bigger and bigger steps you will take tomorrow.
- Do you know why you want to keep improving?
The why is what keeps you motivated long after that first rush of energy and enthusiasm wears off. Having a strong why will help you to keep going when the discipline of learning becomes difficult, discouraging, or tedious. If your growth is connected to your values, dreams, and purpose, you will know why you are doing it. And you will be more likely to follow through. If you think about it, you can see that discipline and motivation are two sides of the same coin. If you have the motivation you need, discipline is no problem.
When you make the right choices – however small- and do it consistently over time, it can make a huge difference in your life. If you remember why you are making those choices, it becomes easier.
- Do you know when you are supposed to improve?
The final piece of the puzzle is the question of when. When do you need to improve? The obvious answer is “right now”, today. You need today to be every day. You will never change your life until you change something you do daily. That means developing great habits. Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishments, and that bridge needs to be crossed every day. Over time that daily crossing becomes a habit. And ultimately, people do not decide their future; they decide their habits and their habits decide their future. What are you doing daily that needs to change? What needs doing? Maybe more important, what needs undoing? What are you willing to change doing today in order to change what you will be doing tomorrow?
I believe that hard work is really the accumulation of easy things you did not do when you should have.
Goals conscious versus growth conscious
Consistency is not easy. You need to figure out what works for you. I suggest you to be growth conscious instead of being goal conscious. What I mean is that when you achieve your goals perhaps your growth stops, but if you are focused on your growth you will have more possibilities of maturing, changing, learning and keeping you growing beyond the goal.
Embrace a daily discipline because you can be EXCELLENT
- Align your methods of motivation with your personality type. Once you have a goal handle on what makes your personality type tick, then develop a daily growth system that is simple and plays to your strengths.
- Find a way to value and appreciate the process. Make a list of everything you like about personal growth. If your list is very short, really work at it. Anything you can find as motivation will help you to develop better growth habits.
- The more whys you have for pursuing personal growth on a daily basis, the more likely you will be to follow through. Start compiling those whys. Think of immediate benefits as well as long-term ones. Consider reasons related to purpose, vision and dreams. Think of how it will help you relationally, vocationally, and spiritually. Any reason to grow is a good reason as long as it is your reason.
Today is a good day to start!
Alfonso Bucero, MSc, PMP, PMI-RMP, PfMP, PMI Fellow