The Mountainous Journey of Life

For the second half of the year, I’ve focused quite a bit on achieving some of the goals I had set for the year. While the journey has not been without hiccups, I am happy to report that I’ve struck another item off the list!

For years I’ve heard my friends and acquaintances talk about the marvellous experience of climbing the Blue Mountains. If you thought, source of the best coffee in the world, you are absolutely correct! When the opportunity arose, while the factors weren’t ideal, I decided to go forward.

Trekking through the hills at midnight is quite something! First off, I must say, all my friends lied to me. They stressed the beauty of the end result but no one bothered to tell me of the challenge of the journey. I must be honest. In the moment, I considered the hike, one of the worst experience of my life. The drive to get to the starting point was very bumpy. The climb up Jacob’s Ladder caused every muscle in my legs and lower back to shriek in protest. Also, it began to rain halfway into the journey and the temperature dropped to the point where I felt I was freezing! By the time I made it home, I was exhausted to the bone.

I know! I sound a bit whiney! That’s because my focus was on all the negatives.

I’ve always found it amazing how in the midst of less than ideal circumstances, we tend forget to see the small silver linings in our dark experiences and switch to autopilot whining. In the moment, I forgot the wonder I felt in seeing the stars clearly for the first in a long time. The awe I felt from standing in the mountains and looking down at the city lights.

Of course, nothing can beat the opportunity I got to see one of the most life-changing sunrises of my life from the first speck of sunlight in the dark morning sky to the orb of light flinging its rays across the entire sky. I felt at peace and in awe of God as the heavens declared His handiworks.

I also got the opportunity to ring in one of my dearest friends 25th birthday with her on a journey that meant a lot to us both.

On further reflection, I realized that my Saturday night into Sunday morning journey is very much like the journey of life.

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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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