You Have To Start Somewhere

17 Oct 2011 - 07:12 AM under Career, PMP | Posted by PMStudent

I get it.

Trust me, I’ve been there. And for certain new adventures I’m starting, I’m there now with you.

Starting something new is daunting. Maybe you feel overwhelmed because you don’t have experience managing projects yet, and you are trying to land project management roles so you can gain experience.

Perhaps you are stuck in a career rut and can’t see anyway to get out of it because the massive effort just seems to be too much.

Baby Steps

When I feel this way, I remind myself that no one becomes an expert on their first day.

Growing in any way is a process. Once you’ve asked yourself the right questions start executing. Take action, even if it’s just a little bit at a time.

It’s like getting in shape or any other worthy goal which requires a lot of time and effort. A great way to burn yourself out and fall off the wagon is to try and conquer the world in the first day. If your expectations are incorrect you will get discouraged and quit.

Instead, take baby steps.

I used to try to go to the gym and work out for a full hour or two. I figured if I was really going to get in shape, I had to go gung ho, right?

Here’s What Happened

The sheer time and effort I was putting into it made me less likely to actually do anything at all. I started missing days and rationalizing them by saying I didn’t have enough time, etc.

The same thing happened to me when I was studying for the PMP exam. I told myself I needed hours and hours of uninterrupted study time if I was to accomplish anything at all. It didn’t work so well in terms of actually getting any studying done. If you expect everything to be perfect before you start, you’ll never make progress.

Reasonable Expectations Result In Consistent Action

Today I swim laps for 10 minutes. The time commitment is small and so I no longer have the excuse of needing hours of time set aside to go work out at all. It’s easier to hold myself accountable and when I look back and think about the progress I’ve made doing this as compared to the ‘old’ method it’s very inspiring.

The same held true for my PMP studies. I did 20-40 minutes a day driving to and from work with the PrepCast instead of trying to wait until the weekends for a marathon study session. Half the time, something came up and I got no studying done for the week.

I’ve found this approach to be true in many areas of my life. If I set reasonable, baby step goals and actions I will do them. I can make them into a habit over time as long as they are bite-sized enough to not be so painful I avoid them.

What about you? Will you leave a comment with your thoughts on this topic?


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