Project Practitioners > Three Little Questions

Three Little Questions

By Chris Cook, PMP

READ TIME: 5 minutes

 

“What you aim at determines what you see.” – Jordan B. Peterson

 

Jordan B. Peterson, the author of 12 Rules of Life: An Antidote for Chaos, gives people a guideline for improving their lives. Being more like a lobster is my favorite. Apparently, in the lobster universe, acting like you are tough and confident goes a long way.

Lobsters have difficulty finding cover on the ocean floor, so every nook and cranny has the potential for a lobster to take over. Because space can become limited, lobsters need to defend their territory. The first line of defense for any lobster is to look like a badass.

Standing tall with excellent posture gets a lobster past half of their potential encounters. One or the other backs down due to sheer size and appearance. If that does not work, a lobster attempts to act like they are ready to fight.  A quick flicker of the tail lets the other lobster know I am down to fight over this territory. Another good percentage of duels ends there.

Should it proceed to the final step, the actual scuffle, then it is truly a test of ability. All of the posturing and showboating is thrown to the side, and the test of mettle occurs.

There are oodles of examples like this throughout his book, but three questions stuck out to me that were only a small paragraph in a sizable book. If you answer ‘no’ to any of these questions, aim lower. Any little topic that you can tackle will lead to improvement. No matter how small, if you accomplish this task, you are better today than you were yesterday. Those results start to compound over time, and after five years, you will not recognize the person you have become.

Let’s dive into these questions:

 

  1. What is it that is bothering me?

This list may never end depending on your situation. Start with issues you can fix immediately. If your office chair hurts your back, get a different one. There are a multitude of options to choose from and no reason to continue to complain. This simple fix can change around your working situation quickly. A comfortable chair makes a long day a little easier.

A larger, more uncontrollable issue may be your boss. Every day, you feel like telling him or her something you will regret later, but you remain calm and finish your day like a professional. This bothersome task should get pushed to the back burner or reframed. What can you personally do about making this situation better? You control how you respond and feel. Rather than getting full of angst and wanting to rage, there are better approaches to make your boss more tolerable for you.

 

  1. Is that something I could fix?

Now that you have compiled your list, you need to see if any of those issues are something you can fix. As the example, the office chair is something you can fix within the hour, so do it. For your boss, not something you can fix so lower the standard.

Instead of eliminating the person, eliminate your anxiety and stress by controlling your emotions. How you react is something you can fix. The person’s existence in the organization is something you can manipulate and politic but not in your 100% control.

If you answer ‘no,’ a lowering of the expectation is required until you answer yes. Once you answer yes, move to question three.

 

  1. Would I actually be willing to fix it?

The office chair example. Are you willing to go to a store and pick out a chair that works for you? Are you willing to tell the office manager about your chair situation? Are you willing to ask a co-worker to swap chairs? If not, your complaining must seize. This issue is something in your control, yet you refuse to act on it.

Again, you probably cannot fire your boss so how you react emotionally is the level below that you have power. Are you willing to play the political games? Are you willing to smile and say yes even when you want to shout at the top of your lungs in frustration? If the answer is still no, you must find a lower level of questioning you are willing to go.

 

Takeaways

These three questions lead you to progress into a better project manager. If you answer ‘no’ to any of these questions, aim lower. Any little topic that you can tackle will lead to improvement. No matter how small, if you accomplish this task, you are better today than you were yesterday. Those results start to compound over time, and after five years, you will not recognize the person you have become.

These questions can be asked at any level of expertise, at any sized organization, and at any point in time. They can be project related regarding stakeholders, vendors, and team members. They can be organization related like senior managers, colleagues, and the environment. They can also be internalized regarding emotions, both positive and negative.

The goal is an improvement. To be better tomorrow than you are today. Any incremental step in that direction bodes well for your future. You want that “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?” question to annoy you because you have no idea. Looking back five years, that person should be unrecognizable so that question becomes impossible to answer.

https://www.crcpress.com/The-Entrepreneurial-Project-Manager/Cook/p/book/9781498782357



Comments
Not all comments are posted. Posted comments are subject to editing for clarity and length.

Muchas gracias por este aporte, en lo personal me parece una excelente forma de crecer no solo como profesional,si no también como persona. Si nos preocupamos por arreglar las cosas que están a nuestro alcance una a la vez, no solo seremos estaremos creciendo como individuos, sino que todo nuestro entorno mejorara.
Gracias por compartir.


Post a comment




(Not displayed with comment.)









©Copyright 2000-2017 Emprend, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
About us   Site Map   View current sponsorship opportunities (PDF)
Contact us for more information or e-mail info@projectconnections.com
Terms of Service and Privacy Policy



Stay Connected
Get our latest content delivered to your inbox, every other week. New case studies, articles, templates, online courses, and more. Check out our Newsletter Archive for past issues. Sign Up Now

Follow Us!
Linked In Facebook Twitter RSS Feeds


Got a Question?
Drop us an email or call us toll free:
888-722-5235
7am-5pm Pacific
Monday - Friday
We'd love to talk to you.

Learn more about ProjectConnections and who writes our content. Want to learn more? Compare our membership levels.