A Goal-den Journey

It felt like just yesterday when I decided I was ready to pursue my Project Management Professional (PMP) certification. Today in my mind but my journey began in May of 2017.

Having defined my goal, I begin reviewing what would be needed to accomplish it. I realized immediately that whilst I would have liked to have gone straight for the PMP exam, I didn’t have enough work experience hours managing projects. I could take the Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) instead because it had pre-requisites that I already fulfilled. With that realization, I made a commitment to myself: I would break my plan into two sub-parts with the intent to complete part 1 in July 2017 and part 2 within a year of completing part 2.

My plan started on track but sometimes everything doesn’t work out perfectly. By the time I begin preparations to pay for the CAPM exams, I found an unforeseen issue! The exam body did not facilitate the online exam in Jamaica! Imagine my shock! Based on my initial reading and planning, I had not come across this bit of information! Even the exam facilitator that I had intended to use had not known this. I immediately set out to verify and determine alternative options.

Before long, I learnt that the exam body intended to facilitate the online exam in Jamaica by August 2017. Though I had intended to complete part 1 by July 2017, I decided to wait and took the exam in August 2017. Much to my delight, I completed the exam successful and shifted my focus to part 2.

Part 2 was much trickier! I needed to gain about 1000 project management work experience hours as well as study. At the time, I had just been onboarded to a new project that was beginning to ramp up.

Every project manager will tell you of that one project that totally made them:

  1. Question and redefine all they thought they know and understand about people and projects.
  2. Doubt themselves and their abilities.
  3. Sincerely wish they could walk away.

This was the project for me. I now fondly refer to it as my “hell project” because it was that one project that truly shook me to the core and taught me to never take anything at face value when it comes to projects “trust but verify and verify and verify again.”. Some positives came from it though. It was the project that I put so much effort into that I earned the 1000+ working hours by January 2018.

With that aspect completed, I breathed a sigh of relief and begun preparations to study for my PMP exam with the optimistic goal to complete everything by May 2018. Again, my plans were thwarted because of the amount of effort the project required. I worked truly long hours and by the time my day ended, I was too exhausted and wound too tight to even consider taking up my textbook. By April 2018, I readjusted my plan and shifted my most-likely completion goal to June 2018, factoring in the project’s completion date of a month earlier.

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Really? But I Don’t Want To!

I recently had a fight with an acquaintance. We both have strong personalities and let’s say, when we disagreed, we ended up in a cycle of being stubborn and wanting to win. None of us wanted give in, lose or be wrong. We were both too full of pride. Following this, we both walked away.

A few days after that fallout, I came across something, that I knew upon reading, that the person would be interested in. Now don’t get me wrong, I wanted to pass it on but my pride spoke quite loudly, “if you send it, the person may feel that you are giving way or chasing them.” I hated that thought and so the internal debate began.

After an hour, the debate was no closer to a close. I decided to ask God for His input using the Gideon technique. Going to bed, my two options to Him were:

  1.  Send: Wake me before 5am ( I was tired enough to sleep the entire night.)
  2. Don’t send: Let me sleep without waking throughout the night.

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5K Run – A Lesson in Endurance

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So, crazy me decided that instead of staying in my bed like a good little girl on a Sunday morning, I was up by 5:00 am and ready to do a 5K run at 6:15 am. I must say that I thought I would die especially since I chose to do the run instead of the walk.

Honestly, at times in the race, I did think I was dying. At one point I wanted to indicate to the Race team that I was stopping. My legs ached and my lungs felt short on air but the most important thing was that I maintained my pace even when I wanted to push myself to keep up with the people ahead of me. I didn’t run the entire race, there were points I had to slow down to a walk but I am proud of the fact that kept my goal in sight and finished strongly.

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Get Up Again

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So I’ve been playing Farm Heroes Saga (farm version of Candy Crush) for a few months now. A month ago I reached a level where I had to get three stars in order to get three new animals. The first couple of times I played the level I couldn’t even complete it! Frankly, I was annoyed because I had friends who had passed the level quite easily but I kept failing. Finally, after about 20 tries over a two week period I managed to finish the level with one star.

Many people would have given up. At one point I felt disgusted enough and decided to stop playing. A few days later, I resolved to not be a quitter and attempted the level again. On the fifth try, I completed it with two stars. At this point, I was practically jumping for joy.

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The Fears of Yesterday

All of us, as human beings, have tasted the frightening effects of fear. The sad part is that some of us allow the fear to dominate us to the point where we don’t even try the things we have wanted the most and thus, it cripples and prevents us from being the best versions of ourselves. One quote that I’ve kept constantly in my heart is”

Never let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game.

The first and only time I came across this quote was some years ago while watching the Hillary Duff movie “Cinderella Story”. I don’t even remember much of the plot of the movie but I have never forgotten the quote.

This week, I touched a milestone and found myself reminiscing on the fears I had to overcome to get to it. Today, I will be listing some of these fears  and telling why I have no regrets in moving past them.

  1. I feared losing my best friend: I eventually lost my best friend despite all I did to prevent it but you know what? I survived! While in the process of learning to come back from the abyss of emotional despair, I picked up a few lessons. Not everyone who comes into your life is meant to stay, some are just to teach you lessons and go. That was the role of my best friend. I also learned who were the persons in my life I could lean on for support.

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The Subject of Crying

Maybe no one told you that there was strength in your tears. – Kelly Clarkson

I used to be one of those females who believed that crying was a sign of weakness. Well, it should be the flip as crying doesn’t show that you are weak but rather that you have strength. It takes strength to show others that you are vulnerable. One of the things that have really struck me is that although tears show considerable strength, we tend to apologize anytime we become emotional in the presence of a group or others – especially if we don’t know them well. I had to ask myself: ” Why do we do that?  Why is it not okay to become emotional whenever we want?”

Here are a few reasons why tears, whether in public or private, are okay.

  1. Tears enable us to get in touch with our deepest feelings. Unless you’re putting on a really good act, eating onions, or acting in a movie scene, tears express the rawest emotions within. We have all had moments when a really amazing gift or gesture had brought tears to our eyes. We cry when we share moments of great elation with others. There are many times, I’ve laughed until I began crying. Tears are also an expression of grief at endings or the loss of those who are precious to us.

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I am a Jamaican but…

I have many friends across the world and I always look forward to meeting new ones. One of the things that really bugs me is that when I tell foreigners that I’m Jamaican, they immediately stereotype me. The sad but funny thing about this is that the stereotype couldn’t be further from the truth. Stereotyping me or any other Jamaican for that matter is like saying that a girl is fat because she eats a lot. After all, we have skinny people who eats way too much but never seem to put on an ounce.

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So here goes, I’m Jamaican but…

  1. I can’t dance to save my life: There ain’t no shame in this game. I lack co-ordination when it comes to dancing. Growing up, my younger sister was the dancer while I was the “bookworm”. The few times I have had to perform, I either got my family rolling with laughter or the wall and I got in tune as I rocked to the beat of the music. I don’t go beyond rocking! So when someone ask me to dance because of my “Jamaican-ness”, I do nothing but laugh because my Jamaican-ness did not ensure my dancing capabilities.

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