Literature is full of good advice “how to” manage projects. Projects are treated as subjects distinct to the person managing or participating in it. I would counterargue, we cannot really separate projects from our own life.
Both are strongly intermingled. They influence each other and interact. Having a great life, good mood and high motivation certainly helps to manage projects. It creates a good atmosphere between the team and other stakeholders, unleashes energy and mobilizes all resources for challenges encountered. Struggling in general with life, facing health issues or troubles in relationships certainly reduces the energy for managing projects, the results will be difficult to achieve and stakeholders may be unsatisfied. Thus, bringing your own life into a balance (see recent blogpost about the Japanese model of Ikigai may help you to achieve better results.
The other way around is also an interesting perspective. Experiences collected through projects enrich our own life, they let us grow and shape our personality to a great extent. We need to overcome the artificial separation between projects and our own development. Let´s embrace project experiences as one way of growing, of shaping and developing ourselves. It could be a way of how we resolved a technical problem, how we dealt with difficult stakeholders in projects or how we achieved the benefits through project delivery.
In 2008, I was part of a leadership team of an engineering provider climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. The summit is approximately 6.000 meters high. We later described our journey in terms of a project lifecycle: you get a call, struggle to start, with the help of a promoter, a great team and with the support of your family you perform the journey (project) through all difficulties, reaching the top and heading back home. Coming back home (handing over the deliverables to the operations) is often the most difficult part of the journey (project). After successfully reaching the summit of Kilimanjaro we were told by our top management, that it´s not the time for us to talk about the achievements, as the worldwide crisis in 2008 had significant impact on the bottom lines. So we reflected our journey in an intensive workshop with all team members and a coach, who used the metaphor of a hero´s journey. The metaphor builds on Joseph Campbell´s “The Hero with a Thousand Faces” and highlights the stages of the journey (project). We could understand much better ourselves, why we did this project, what we experienced and how it can be used in other, similar circumstances during our life. It gave us self-confidence that whatever happens in our life, we´ll find a way forward.
Let´s embrace projects, the experiences gained through projects and make use of them in your life. It opens an exciting new perspective…