Skip to content

How Personal Development Gets You Unstuck in Projects

If you are a Project Manager, then chances are you have, at one time or another, been ‘stuck’ in a project or perhaps in a few of your projects.  Hey, it happens to the best of us!

If you are like me, then perhaps you experienced (or are experiencing) things not moving, maybe a contractor managed to slow the whole project down, or perhaps getting the right permit is taking too long.  Sometimes you simply don’t know what to do because there are so many open issues, pending tasks and hour by hour new trouble is surfacing.

Surprisingly, being a transformational coach has actually helped me in my own projects because of the element of personal development.  And perhaps it can support many people with a little practice.

Here are some ideas on how you can get unstuck in your current situation at work when you deal with difficult projects (or difficult people within projects). Keep in mind, that there are multiple solutions out there to any problem or stuck situation, you just have to be available for the solutions! Here are some potential ways of finding solutions and generating new ideas to get unstuck from your current situation using a bit of personal development:

  1. Believe in your vision and your gifts when no one else believes in you.  You don’t need anyone else to believe in you – just you. Remind yourself of your strengths and be your own pillar of confidence.
  2. Breath deeply and take a 3 minute nap to calm down.  Being emotionally charged can bring you further away from viable solutions.
  3. Be grateful for your talents.  Write it down.
  4. Unclutter your desk and your office.  It can support you in thinking more clearly.
  5. Smile more ~ sometimes a smile can be the source of your happiness…it also makes you more approachable and easier for other people to communicate to.
  6. Remember that victims are frightened by troubles and issues, and leaders are inspired and challenged by them.  If you are a PM you ARE a leader first.  There is no room for victimhood in projects.  You are the people everyone looks too in a time of need.
  7. Clean out any form of “victimspeak” in your vocabulary and start running the language of leadership and possibility.  In the words of Hafiz, “The words you speak become the house you live in.”  So speak responsibly and in an empowering way to others AND to yourself.
  8. Prepare a list with all the issues, add a description, give a severity ranking to each topic, add a potential solution to it and list your priorities.
  9. Do a collage filled with images and graphics of your “completed” project. Look at it once a day for focus and inspiration.
  10. Make the choice to let go of your past. It’s history and it has no place in polluting your future. Plan the remaining items of the project to gain clarity.
  11. Remember that you empower what you complain about. Focus on your project collage instead or on solutions.
  12. Know that a problem only becomes a problem when you choose to see it as a problem.
  13. Say “sorry” when you know you should say “sorry.”  Get rid of the need to be right.
  14. Finish what you start.
  15. Make excellence your way of being (versus a once in a while event).
  16. Do a nature walk at least once a week. It’ll renew you (you can’t inspire others if you’re depleted yourself).
  17. Use the first 90 minutes of your work day only on value-creating activities for your project (versus checking email or surfing the Net).  Whether this includes meditating or looking at your collage.
  18. Say “please” and “thank you.” It makes a difference, especially if you need support in solving your troubles or depend on others to get past a certain stage in your project.
  19. Be radically optimistic that you can solve the issues.  Because you CAN solve the issues.
  20. Brilliant things happen when you go the extra mile. Use it to get unstuck.

Use these points to move yourself into a better position to solve the issues and challenges. The best way to utilize these above-mentioned tips is to make daily practices out of them.  When they have become a habit you will no longer experience problems in your project~ just challenges.  And challenges are fun, stimulating and are the fuel for growth…not only that, but the solutions will arrive much faster as well.

As an alternative, and if you are truly stuck in your project, it may take another ‘doctor’ or a 3rd person to come in and have a look at your project.  Sometimes they can see what you have overlooked or missed because they have fresh eyes.  Find a mentor or someone you can call upon when times really get tough…but use sparingly.  You don’t want to annoy them with every little issue you have.  And besides, there is always room for growth.  Even if you have been a PMP for 20 years or more there is always someone out there you can learn from.

Wishing you endless solutions and opportunities in all your PM endeavors!

Peter Wyss