As anyone who knows me will tell you, I'm always on the prowl for techniques to increase and optimize my personal effectiveness. Having never had the priviledge of serving in the military, I've always been fascinated by how the services take raw civilians and turn them into fighting machines, ready and willing to serve and if necessary, lay down their lives at a moment's notice. The individuals who make this sacrifice are worthy of our deep respect and gratitude and perhaps none are more deserving of these accolades than the Navy SEALS, one of our nation's most elite fighting units.
I recently completed reading the book, Breaking BUD/S: How Regular Guys Can Become Navy SEALs by D.H. Xavier, a fascinating account of the E2E process that individuals go through ("endure" would be a better word) in their quest to become a member of one of this country's most elite military services. The audience for the book is really those courageous individuals who are willing to subject themselves to some of the toughest and most brutal military training in the world. The pressure they endure is incredible, relentless and seemingly endless until that day, months in the future, when they finally earn the "trident" pin officially designating them as Navy SEALS.
So how does any of this relate to project management you might ask? I'll tell you. In the book, Xavier talks about a specific technique he and other SEAL trainees used to relax, center and focus themselves during their high-pressure training experiences and it's something EACH of us can use in our daily work and personal lives, even though we'll probably never set foot inside a military training facility. It's called the 4-4-4 Technique and it's simplicity is only matched by its effectiveness, as I and a number of my colleagues can attest.
Here it is: Inhale through nose for 4 seconds, exhale through mouth for 4 seconds, repeat this cycle for 4 minutes (which I've calculated to be roughly 30 cycles of inhaling/exhaling - you can even count the cycles on your fingers or just jot down hash marks on a piece of scrap paper if you're at your desk). That's it. You can use it as often as needed and you can even do it without anyone noticing. Try it and share it today. You'll find yourself in a much better mindset to target, confront and "attack" whatever problem or challenge it is that you're facing - as a bona fide SEAL would say, Hooyah!
http://blog.projectconnections.com/project_practitioners/2013/10/personal-productivity-and-stress-reduction-minute-details-that-make-all-the-difference.html - Looking for the factors you can control can make all the difference in effectively managing the stresses we’re all subject to.
http://blog.projectconnections.com/project_practitioners/2010/09/take-attitude-actions-to-improve-as-a-project-manager.html http://blog.projectconnections.com/project_practitioners/2010/09/take-attitude-actions-to-improve-as-a-project-manager.html - How to cultivate a positive, solution-oriented attitude,
http://blog.projectconnections.com/project_practitioners/2013/04/4-steps-to-managing-difficult-situations.html - How to more effectively manage difficult situations.
http://www.projectconnections.com/templates/detail/problem-solving-tools-techniques.html - Six different problem-solving tools help you do everything from determining root causes to assessing possible solutions, and outline a basic problem-solving strategy so you can be sure you've covered all the bases.
http://www.projectconnections.com/templates/detail/solving-meeting-disruptions.html - Suggestions for handling those "impossible" people who continually disrupt, derail, and detract from meetings.