How to project manage your "Jam"

At the gym one day, I struck up a conversation with one of the trainers.

She made a distinction that was simple, but so subtle many professionals miss it and pay for missing it.

She said,

"I love getting people back into shape after they've been sideline. That’s my jam,”

Which I took to mean, her specialty, passion, favorite thing to do.

It so perfectly contrast her title and her job with her speciality, passion, expertise. Her "jam."

Whatever your "jam", here are some lessons I've learned about nurturing it

1 -- This is your project. And it might not be your job. If it's not, it may lead to dual streams of income. That means more stability and security, which will make you a better employee while you remain one. The important thing is this: you are not your title.

Today, the woman leading a yard crew next door told me that she’d retired from the Department of Defense, “I was there 27 years! I had this company on the side.” Her "jam" is working outside and her company is how she did it. When she retired, it became her full-time. What's your "jam?" Know it. Nurture it.

2 -- Help someone else. Feeling stuck or tired? Pause your project long enough to help someone else. This is dis-proportionately helpful to you, too. And so under-rated.

3 -- Double all your time estimates. Remember: your long-term goals will happen faster than you think and your short-term to-do list items will take longer.

4 -- Team up – you'll need allies, so get some. Join a mastermind, take a course that emphasizes collaboration. Flying solo can be very dangerous. Tip: you’ll outgrow some of these folks as you go.That happens and it's normal.

5 -- Kill the Goose that lays a golden egg. When something works, break down the components so you understand why it worked. Keep a list. Notice patterns.

6 -- Field notes. Make time for them. Get a book or a logbook, diary, even a journal – you want a history of what you’ve done and how. You’ll need it for the next project, your memoirs or both. Also set aside a section to track wins, big accomplishments and notable moments for your resume and profiles. These are too easy to forget.

7 -- Read. If you “don’t have time” to read, then listen to books and audio training. The more you know, the easier it gets. So help me, this is gold.

8 -- Chase one rabbit. In our society, there are so many distractions “Squirrel!” So many wonderful diversions and things to do. Chase one rabbit and you’ll have more fun, get more done and feel less overwhelmed.

9 -- Don’t stop - even if your own work disappoints you at times. This phenomena is explained beautifully in this two-minute video:

10. Here’s to you – put a candle in a cupcake, toast with cold milk (or Champagne!). The little wins are often the sweetest and if you’re not savoring and enjoying them, what’s the point? Mourn when you need to. There will be times when it’s appropriate. That’s just the way it is, so honor that.


P.S. What's helped you? I'd love the hear about it. Click the link below and leave a comment. Thanks.

The best thing you can do for your career is help someone else with theirs.

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