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Jordan Heron - The Vanity Card Series

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I'm a Project Manager. That's what I do for a living, in the computer field. (And, yes, we do capitalize both words, to make it seem more important.) I'm a certified PMP, for those in the trade. What that means is that I make sure that people agree on what they're going to do, and then that they actually do it. Now that doesn't seem like rocket science, but it's harder than you might think. Generally, people don't like to specify what they're going to accomplish. And they like to be held to it even less.

Anyway, one of the things that Project Managers do when we get a chance is to hang out with other Project Managers and talk about how important we are. We often do this at conferences or sympsiums. (Symposia?) Often, lectures at these events give you a mantra or key sentence or some phrase that allows you to remember exactly what the point of the lecture was. Anway, I was at a symposium with a learned Project Manager, author, consultant and keynote speaker, Neal Whitten.

The phrase for that speech was "If it is to be, it is up to me."

This was a truly inspiring phrase. This phrase empowered those of us in the room to take ownership of issues, great and small, and resolve them. To take iniative in all situations. To understand how key we were to our various corporations at all levels. To be the movers and shakers of our industries.

I wrote that phrase down (ok, I typed it into a computer and printed it) and put it up on the wall of my humble cubicle. It is still there today. Unfortunately for Mr. Whitten, it is not there for the reasons that I suppose he intended.

Just reading that phrase exhausted me.

"If it is to be, it is up to me."

That phrase sits above my desk to remind me of some crucial things in my life:

It reminds me that life is overwhelming.
It reminds me that there is not the proverbial snowball's chance in hell that I can start everything that needs to be started.
It reminds me that I can't control all the things I have managed to start.
It reminds me that a lot of things aren't going to happen unless someone else stands up and makes them happen.
It reminds me that other people need to take responsibility for themselves and what they do, just as I need to take responsibility for myself and what I do.
It reminds that I cannot and should not take on the whole world.

But it also reminds me that my time and effort is limited.
It reminds me to spend some of that time and effort on myself, on my family and loved ones.

Finally, it reminds that there are people who really believe in that phrase.
And it reminds me to avoid them.

02 September 2009

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