When you’re a Project Manager and a lifelong learner as I like to be, you find lessons and improvements everywhere! From the supermarket shelves to interactions with neighbours, I try to find the areas where I can improve or use this knowledge in my wider career. I’m so lucky that I’ve got a daily ‘lessons learned’ in the form of my two year old.
She is a firecracker, full of energy, enthusiasm and love of life but just as any parent knows, the daily parenting struggles are real. I was in a job interview a while ago when they asked me:
“Do you have a lot of patience?”
I replied: “I have a toddler!”. The interviewer laughed and said: Ahh, I understand. It was a common understanding that when you’re being challenged several times a day, you become incredibly resilient and patient towards other aspects of your life.
This is a list of some of the things that I’ve learnt from my Toddler.
1) Try again, try different, try new.
I think this one could be split into three but one of the amazing things that I learn from my toddler is not giving up. Always trying to deliver the best project and the best product to the end customer.
When I come across an issue, I’m already in firefighting mode. Whether this is against her sandwich that fell on the floor or a critical outage at work. I’ll always be planning and looking for the different options and our plan A, B, C and D.
One thing that we all tend to do is not look to trying new things. Humans are traditionally creatures of habit and it can tough to remember to try something new. I’d like to recommend following my daughter’s example and keep trying new things. Whether that’s a new flavour of juice at the supermarket or a new way of conducting your meetings. Keep searching for that ‘new’ thing.
One thing that I’m constantly amazed by is my daughter’s ability to explore the world around her. A tree isn’t just a tree, it’s leaves, bark, twigs are all unique and watching her observe these things really makes me appreciate my own efforts to explore. I like to explore learning new methods and ways to do things. I like to explore and travel to broaden my appreciation of other cultures.
3) Persevere and practice makes perfect
When I was younger, I was told: “If at first, you do not succeed, try, try, again”. It’s something that I often say now but in a lot of different contexts! Are you struggling with learning specific methodologies; try again. If you’re struggling with team development and formation; try again.
It’s not just the initial practice that will help you but it’ll be the continued practice that defines you as an excellent Project Manager.
4) Patience is the key to a successful day
How often do you get irritated by your colleagues? The sniffers? the weird eater? the loud phone talker? I know that I came to hate working in open plan environments because it was so difficult for me to concentrate and focus. Instead, I like to try and be more patient, put my earphones in or zone out to concentrate and look
5) Always smile.
It can be difficult to always remain positive and smile but it’s been shown that those who smile are more likely to be happier overall. When I am having a stressful day, I like to make a point of “resetting” myself and smiling. It could be at nothing in particular but the act of smiling in itself is enough to regenerate me.
What have you learnt from your children that you’ve managed to transfer to your professional career?