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Monday, April 29, 2013


All of life is a series of projects. A project is a complex task. It is often called a multitask job. This type of job requires the coordination of efforts of several people, each of whom is responsible for a part of the job, with every part of the job being necessary for successful completion. Your ability to handle these multitask jobs is a critical skill for success. All achievements of consequence are complex, and they involve the cooperation of many people.

The Key Management Skill
A study by Stanford University of the qualities that companies look for in promoting people into the position of chief executive officer concluded that the ability to put together a team to accomplish a task was the single most important identifiable quality of an executive who was destined for the fast track in his/her career. Your ability to put together teams to do multitask jobs, ability to complete complex projects, and visible qualities of leadership will determine the course of your career as much as any other factor. It will enable you to multiply yourself times the talents and efforts of others, and accomplish vastly more than you could do on your own.

A Learnable Skill
Project management is a learnable skill, like riding a bicycle. It can be divided into a series of steps, each of which you can master, one at a time. In managing any project, you begin by defining the ideal desired result of the project. What exactly are you trying to accomplish? What will the project look like if it is a complete success?  Start by defining a successful completion of the project, the ideal desired result.

Start at the Beginning
Once you are clear about your desired result, you then start from the beginning. Determine what you are going to have to do to get from where you are to the completion of this project, on schedule and on budget. Determine a specific deadline or target to aim at. Make sure that it is realistic and achievable.

Assemble the Team
Bring together all the people whose contributions will be necessary for the success of this project. Sometimes you need to assemble a team before you can even decide upon the ideal result and the schedule. Remember that people are everything. Take ample time to think carefully about the people who are going to be the team members.

Share the Ownership
Instill ownership of the project in the team members by sharing the job with them. There is a direct relationship between how much a person feels a sense of ownership for the job and how committed he is to making the project a success. One of the key jobs of management and leadership is to instill this feeling of ownership in each member of the team, so that each person feels personally responsible for the accomplishment of the overall project. You accomplish this by discussing every detail of the project with the people who are expected to carry it out.

Develop a Shared Vision
A shared vision is an ideal future picture of success that everyone buys into. How do you develop a shared vision? You sit down and work with the team to answer the question, “What are we trying to accomplish?” You encourage everyone to contribute, visualize, and to imagine the ideal outcome or desired result of the project. Once this vision is clear and shared by everyone, you move on to the development of “shared plans” to achieve the vision.

Set Schedules and Deadlines
Once you have a shared vision and shared plans, and everyone knows exactly what is to be done and what the ideal results will look like, the next step is for you to set a deadline for project completion based on the consensus of your team.

Create a List
Create a to-do list and write down every task, function, and activity that must be completed, right down to the smallest job. Make it easier for yourself-get the project finished on time and break the project down into individual jobs and tasks as much as you can.

Organize the Project
Organize the different parts of the project in two ways: sequential tasks and parallel tasks. You organize by sequence when you determine which jobs must be done before other jobs can be done, with each task in order. Sequential organization is necessary where a particular task requires that another task be completed before it can be started. In almost every case, before you do anything, you have to do something else first. Organize the tasks sequentially with a logical process of activities from beginning through to the end of the project.

The second way to organize the tasks is through parallel activities. Parallel activities exist when more than one task can be done at the same time. Two or more people can be working on two or three different tasks independently of each other.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Enjoy this video, makes you think about the limitations we place on ourselves!


Enjoy the rest of your week!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Have You "Paid It Forward" Lately?

What does it take to transform your life in a way that you find greater meaning and satisfaction in what you do on a daily basis? Psychotherapy is certainly one option but the effects aren't often as long-lasting as we prefer; it also often takes considerable time and resources. I teach and supervise therapists for a living so I'm a big fan of the power that such an experience can have. And yet. . . there are other ways to find meaning in our lives and produce life-altering transitions. For instance, religious or spiritual involvement is a path that is often chosen. Others seek salvation in their work or immerse themselves in social activities. Still others pursue greater satisfaction and meaning through creative outlets or through reading and studying subjects of interest. I would suggest, however, that it is through service to others that we can most easily produce transformative changes--not only in those we help, but also in ourselves. 
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There is such a hunger that many of us feel to find greater meaning in our lives and work, to engage more meaningfully with those we love, to create deeper intimacy in all our relationships, to feel the incredible (and frightening) thrill of encountering new experiences that move us emotionally, intellectually, and also deep in our souls. This search for deeper engagement with life is what leads to travel, education, to devour stimulating readings (to read articles like this!), but also destructive forms of self-medication that are intended to stifle that inner voice that challenges our current life choices. So how can we most effectively (and swiftly) produce such life-changing experiences?

I would submit that one consistently powerful option that often has lasting effects involves reaching out to others who are neglected, ignored, oppressed, abused, or marginalized--those most in need. It seems to make little difference exactly what you do, whether it is in your local community or a remote village abroad, whether you work with one person or a large group, whether you teach, mentor, support, consult, or build something; they key is feeling like you are doing some good. Your own life feels redeemed by your effort to use what you know, what you may have suffered or endured, what you can do, to help others who would otherwise have been left to flounder.

To select one problem that I find especially heart-wrenching is the prevalence of sex trafficking around the world. In one small region of Nepal, a place I have been working for many years, there are over 12,000 girls each year who are kidnapped or sold into sex slavery, some as young as 8 years old. These are mostly lower caste girls whose families have experienced catastrophic illness, deprivation, or hardships. With little money or resources to support all the children in school, it is the young girls who are most at risk. Whatever assistance or interventions that are offered by volunteers, it has been fascinating for me to observe the ways that their own lives have been transformed in unexpected ways. It is not uncommon that people return from these service trips resolved to enrich their friendships, build greater intimacy with their families, make abrupt shifts in their careers, or initiate dramatic changes in their lifestyles. Many of these life-changing experiences result from the transcendent feeling of greater meaning and purpose that often accompanies altruistic efforts.

"I meet these children and, initially, I feel such pity and hopelessness for their plight," one volunteer shared. "But then I realize that it is really my life that has been so impoverished in many ways. As little as these people have, they are often far happier and more engaged with daily life than almost anyone I know back home." It is gifts such as this that increase our awareness that it really makes little difference what we have, what we own, what resources we control or power we wield; rather 

So, the big question is that if you wanted to change your life, how would you go about doing that through paths other than the more traditional education, therapy, or reading? The answer is one you'd anticipate, but also one you'd prefer to deny: It means making some tough choices about priorities and values followed by sustained hard work. It also often involves taking constructive risks that involve a certain amount of sacrifice, pain, and inconvenience.

Each of us has a responsibility to take care of those who are less fortunate, who suffer terribly and without hope. It is through such service and activism that we not only make a difference for those who need help the most, but we also transform our own lives in ways that provide deeper meaning and greater satisfaction.

Growing up I felt pretty useless and inept, wondering if I would ever do anything of significance. I got caught up in ambition and achievement, trying to prove my worth through academic or professional success. It doesn't feel like I ever made a conscious choice to devote my life to service but rather it was chosen for me. How could I, how could anyone, ignore injustice or deprivation or suffering and not do something about it? When the very first girl in remote Nepal was pointed out to me and I was told she would be sold into slavery, I never stopped to think about the consequences of doing something to rescue her. It was only afterwards that I realized that once I had made that initial effort I really had no other choice except to follow through on what I started quite impulsively. Frankly, the responsibility terrifies me.

Each of us has an opportunity to make a difference in the world in our own small way. It doesn't matter whether it is in your own community or another remote part of the world. Sure, giving money to causes can help, but it is no substitute for sharing our love, caring, and expertise with people directly, especially with those who are most neglected and desperate. One of the amazing joys of activism and promoting social justice is not just what it does for those we help, but how our own lives are transformed by the experience.

Monday, April 1, 2013

You Can't Make More Time

click on video below

  • To realize the value of one year:
    Ask a student who has failed a final exam.
  • To realize the value of one month:
    Ask a mother who has given birth to a premature baby.
  • To realize the value of one week:
    Ask an editor of a weekly newspaper.
  • To realize the value of one hour:
    Ask the lovers who are waiting to meet.
  • To realize the value of one minute:
    Ask a person who has missed the train, bus or plane.
  • To realize the value of one second:
    Ask a person who has survived an accident.
  • To realize the value of one millisecond:
    Ask the person who has won a silver medal in the Olympics.
Author Unknown

Time waits for no one.

Treasure every moment you have.

You will treasure it even more when you can share it with someone special.