I try very hard to keep my personal and professional environments from overlapping, but sometimes there is a little bleed over in times of extreme stress. Case in point, when dealing with a separation there is a great deal of stress on the personal side of life.

So I figured I had a choice, I can either just allow it to bleed over creating professional distress or I could take a hard look at the experience and find something positive to gain from it. By taking something positive from a bad situation it allows me to maintain some control. This article is to share what I have learned about being a Project Manager when dealing with a failed relationship at home otherwise you may end up responding to attacks.

1. Put Personal Communication On Hold & Communicate Effectively

It’s easy to fall into the trap of responding to text messages, calling, sending emails, etc. when it feels like you are being attacked or things are difficult. I believe we all want to have the last word, but engagin in this activity is a waste of precious work time. I don’t know about you, but I have a ton of work from day to day and adding a delay / disruption.

So how does this relate to Project Management? It’s pretty simple, communication is key. When we communicate with our stakeholders it’s important to make our messages clear and consice. Ambiguous communications to a negative stakeholder can create a volatile or even hostile environment, so it’s important to treat all stakeholders with respect especially the negative stakeholders.

2. Ignore the Insignificant Movements

I took this passage out of “The Book of Five Rings” by Miyamoto Musashi. The idea is to ignore the things that yield no result, ignore the movements or activities that happen in the background that doesn’t pose a threat or provide a result. In other words, don’t sweat the small stuff! When tempers are heated, a lot of words can be exchanged that don’t offer any benefit to the situation. The same can be true in a Project Management environment.

In the day to day life of a Project Manager, we are often bombarded by information and on a large scale project it’s important to review the important information and avoid wasting time on insignificant information. This can be difficult because from the sender’s perspective all information, updates, requests, etc. is generally perceived as important. Often times I will simply acknowledge receipt and a show of appreciation by saying “thank you” and move on. For not so favorable correspondence, sometimes it’s best to simply discard the communication and move on to avoid getting pulled into a debate or conflict that are of no benefit to the project.

 3. Short Term Sacrifice for Long Term Gains

There are times in any stage of our lives when we feel helpless or as though events in front of us are out of control and we are unable to make a difference in the current situation. This leads to frustrations and sometimes even anger. When I find myself in this kind of a situation it’s important to look at the bigger picture and ask yourself, “How can I leverage my current sacrifices for a long term benefit?” Answering this question can give us purpose, direction, and it will help to lift the veil of helplessness.

Being a Project Manager we can often find ourselves feeling helpless. It’s important to regain control and find creative ways to leverage the current situation to benefit the project as a whole. Ask yourself “How can we use this to our advantage” and “What needs to be done to make this better?”  These questions often lead to powerful answers that will drive the future of your project.

 4. This Too Shall Pass

I was very fortunate to be raised in the household I was raised in, my parents were very good at weathering unfavorable situations. My mother use to tell me “This too shall pass” while my father would tell me “It will all work out in the end.” Both of them were saying the same thing, whatever the situation you find yourself in … it’s temporary. All moments in our lives are temporary to some extent, both good and bad. Managing a project can be the same, no matter how bad things look the situation is only temporary. I hold dear to this when I feel trapped in a bad situation because just saying it gives me hope that there will eventually be an end to these circumstances.

5. Dance like nobody’s watching

We are all on this earth for a limited amount of time and every day we get to choose whether to be happy or not. If there’s anything I’ve learned throughout my life it’s that we all deserve some happiness, but we have only ourselves to blame if we’re not happy.

The idea of work has been painted in a negative light … nobody want’s to “work” for a living, working is bad right? I disagree, even in some of the worst jobs I’ve had I take a great deal of pride in what my work produces whether it’s managing an $800 million NASA project or wiping tables clean. Take time right now to close your eyes and make a conscious decision to take pride in your work, love where you are in life, and be happy. If you can do this, you will undoubtedly become more and more successful because you will exceed anyone’s expectations. Why? Because you’ve chosen not to simply work … you’ve chosen to be successful.