HEARING FROM THE CHEETAHS / “THE CHEETAH KNOW HOW” SERIES

© Roberto Alborghetti -  LaceR/Actions

© Roberto Alborghetti – LaceR/Actions

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Guest Writers:

Michelle LaBrosse, PMP®, Chief Cheetah and Founder of Cheetah Learning,

and Kristen Medina, CAPM®, Co-Author

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SEVEN STRATEGIES TO ADVANCE YOUR CAREER WITH PROJECT MANAGEMENT / “THE CHEETAH KNOW HOW” SERIES

Guest Writers:

Michelle LaBrosse, PMP®, Chief Cheetah and Founder of Cheetah Learning,

and Kristen Medina, CAPM®, Co-Author

© ROBERTO ALBORGHETTI,  CRACKS, LACER/ACTIONS PROJECT

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ACTIVATING YOUR NATURAL GENIUS / THE “CHEETAH KNOW HOW” SERIES

By Michelle LaBrosse, PMP®, Chief Cheetah and Founder of Cheetah Learning, and Kristen Medina, CAPM®, Co-Author

When you think of the word “Genius,” what first comes to mind?         Perhaps Albert Einstein, Ludwig van Beethoven, or Isaac Newton. You may be imagining someone who is very different from yourself—someone who sits in a basement and tinkers with experiments, and who routinely forgets to use a hairbrush or eat a meal.

ROBERTO ALBORGHETTI . LACER/ACTIONS . LITOGRAPH - IMAGE OF TORN AND DECOMPOSED PUBLICITY POSTERS

It’s time to change what we associate with the word “genius.” Start by getting up and looking in the mirror: Can you spot the genius? If not, you may need to change your perspective, because it is there. The capacity to be a genius is a part of our physiology. The human brain is a fascinating piece of work. It’s a dynamic neural network that makes billions of connections per second. New neurons are being made constantly in response to mental activity and learning. The reason that this is so fascinating and fantastic is because we are not stuck in any holding pattern—the ability to change our minds, literally, and become a genius on a subject matter is within our capabilities. Whether you think that you are born with natural genius, or you obtained it through your experience and environment, the important thing to be clear: You have it—genius, that is. We all do.  Here are some ways to tap into that natural genius.

Know Your Strengths and Challenges. Being a natural genius does not mean you have to have a natural aptitude for every subject matter under the sun. Albert Einstein, a legendary genius, failed his University Entrance Exam. While he excelled in the math and science sections, he failed the rest (history, languages, and geography).

What this should tell you is: “Don’t get down because there are areas where you do not excel.” Recognize them as challenges, and work to mitigate them. But to tap into your true natural genius,  discover the areas that you excel, and work to develop those into true genius status.

The Drive To Fail. Fail? What, are you crazy? For most of us “Type A” project managers, the thought of failing bring shivers to our spines. But the fact is, you don’t know where your limits are until you push them, and in pushing your limits you are bound to fail once in awhile. To tap into your genius, you can’t be afraid of failure or run away from it. You have to chase after, fail, and learn how to fix your mistakes so that you don’t fail (in the same way) again.

Deliberate Practice. Casual Practice is going out and playing on anintramural baseball league. Deliberate practice is going to the batting cages every night until you have perfected your swing. You will strike out a lot more in deliberate practice, but this is the only way you will master your skill. So what does this have to do with you? When you find your natural genius, you have the ability to perfect it with deliberate practice, during which you will rise out your comfort zone to see just how good you can be.

Kick Stress to the Curb. Every wonder why you can’t think when youare rushing around late trying to find your car keys? Once you find them, it’s so obvious that, of course, they would be in your key bowl on the coffee table. The thing is, stress reduces our ability to think. If we live with chronic stress, our brain is taking the majority of the burden, and it’s impossible to tap into your natural genius, let alone your natural sanity. Pinpoint the biggest stress factors in your life, then mitigate them fast.

Somewhere, someone is looking for exactly what you have to offer.”—Louise Hay, Motivational Author.  It’s hard to recognize our natural genius if we are not in the environment that appreciates or needs those specific skills. You can try to change yourself to best fit into a professional environment, but the likely result will be mediocrity. To fully develop your natural genius, you need to find a place to be the “Best of the best,” where you can do what you are best at. Find out what that is, and go there. In 2013, make a commitment to discover your natural genius—it is in you!

About the Author:

 Michelle LaBrosse, PMP, is an entrepreneurial powerhouse with a penchant for making success easy, fun, and fast. She is the founder of Cheetah Learning, the author of the Cheetah Success Series, and a prolific blogger whose mission is to bring Project Management to the masses.

Cheetah Learning is a virtual company with 100 employees, contractors, and licensees worldwide. To date, more than 50,000 people have become “Cheetahs” using Cheetah Learning’s innovative Project Management and accelerated learning techniques.  

Recently honored by the Project Management Institute (PMI®), Cheetah Learning was named Professional Development Provider of the Year at the 2008 PMI® Global Congress. A dynamic keynote speaker and industry thought leader, Michelle was previously recognized by PMI as one of the 25 Most Influential Women in Project Management in the world.

Michelle’s articles have appeared in more than 100 publications and websites around the world. Her monthly column, the Know How Network, is carried by over 400 publications.

She is a graduate of the Harvard Business School’s Owner President Manager’s (OPM) program and also holds engineering degrees from Syracuse University and the University of Dayton. 

SPRINT AFTER YOUR GOALS AT CHEETAH SPEED

 

ROBERTO ALBORGHETTI – LACER/ACTIONS PROJECT – IMAGES OF TORN AND DECOMPOSED PUBLICITY POSTERS – 2010

 

By Michelle LaBrosse, PMP®, Chief Cheetah and Founder of Cheetah Learning, and Kristen Medina, CAPM®, Co-Author

 

Imagine yourself at the starting line, stretching and flexing and         making sure that your shoes are tied tight and that your winning bib  number is securely fastened. This is you, at the gate, achieving   your wildest dreams. As the starting gun sounds, you sprint to            action, with every muscle in your being toned and prepared to get   you to your end goal. As you race across the finish line, the crowd,    full of your friends and family, go wild, yelling your name and            congratulating you for your race of a lifetime. Now, come back to reality. How did that scenario make you feel? You just completed an amazing accomplishment with the support of friends and family; an accomplishment you were so passionate about that it compelled you to perform at your very best. Now imagine if every  goal you went after ended this way. It can happen when you pursue  your goals vigorously and passionately. Here are 10 ways to help you sprint towards your goals at Cheetah Speed.

 

1 – Make sure your goals are SMART. You have a big, hairy, audacious  goal—that is fantastic. Now how will you know when you’ve reached  that goal? When making a goal, ensure that it’s SMART, which  means: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely. When your goal is measurable, you can be held accountable for your  goal, and will be more likely to achieve it.

2 –  Don’t Limit Yourself with Limiting Beliefs. What are your limiting beliefs? If you’ve ever thought to yourself: “I’m unlucky,” or “I’m not the running type,” or “I’m a bad negotiator,” these are limiting beliefs, and they just aren’t true. Take a moment to take inventory of any limiting beliefs that may be holding you back from going after your goals. When you get rid of your limiting beliefs, you get rid of your limits.

3 – Visualize Your Goal. Just as you visualized finishing the sprint    just a few minutes ago—practice visualizing how you will feel when  you have accomplished your goal. See it in your mind—that is, see    yourself achieving the dream, whatever it is. Like passing the PMP  exam, or having happy children, a very successful career, your         dream house, a very in-shape body—whatever your dream is. Think   and feel how awesome it is you achieved your dream for a few  seconds… (1,2,3)… Amazing right?

4 – Take Small Steps. One of the biggest things that can stop us in     our tracks is when the enormity of our goal paralyzes us. To prevent that, break your goal down into bite-size deliverables that can be accomplished every week, and decide when and where you will make time to accomplish that weekly goal.

5 – Make the Time. When is the last time that you sat down and focused on your goal, and only your goal, for 30 minutes straight without interruption? This is called timeboxing. Like a sprint, timeboxing  will help you cover a lot of ground in a short amount of time. Set a timebox for yourself today, and sprint towards your goal.

6 – Write it Down. You write out your grocery list, your “to do” list,   your guest list—what about your GOAL list? According to a study    done by Dave Kohl, a Virginia Tech professor, people who regularly  write down their goals earn nine times as much over their lifetime   as people who don’t. What goals can you put on your goal list             today?

7 – Learn to say “NO.” Say it with me: “NO!” Now get used to saying  this word over and over again. Why is the word “No” so important?  If you always say “Yes” when asked to do something, you are giving  away your time, your resources, and your talents. Say “No” in order to create the time and space you need to go for your goals.

8 – Get Psyched. Napoleon Hill, in his book “Think and Grow Rich,” said: “The starting point of all achievement is desire. Keep this constantly in mind. Weak desires bring weak results, just as a    small amount of fire makes a small amount of heat.” What goal      ignites your desire? What gets you over-the-top psyched? Get that  feeling towards achieving your goals and watch how fast you can              turn your dreams into reality.

9 – Get in the Driver’s Seat. YOU are the driving force in reaching     your goals. While others can help you, no one can do it for  you.     This means that you cannot live in your circle of concern and            worry about what you can’t control and how that is preventing you   from achieving your dreams. Focus on what you CAN control, and    steer yourself in the direction that you need to go to successfully complete your goal. No one will do it for you—embrace the driving force inside you so you can race towards your goal today.

10 – Today is the Day. There is a wise Chinese Proverb that says, “The  best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The next best time is  today.” Do you have a tree you’ve been meaning to plant, but stop  yourself because you are “too late”? The power of the present  should not be underrated. Plant your tree today and watch your     dreams grow, and do it TODAY.

 

We hope you are excited as we are about you racing towards your   goals today. On your mark, get set… GO!!!

 

About the Author:

 

Michelle LaBrosse, PMP, is an entrepreneurial powerhouse with a  penchant for making success easy, fun, and fast. She is the founder   of Cheetah Learning, the author of the Cheetah Success Series, and a prolific blogger whose mission is to bring Project Management to the masses. Cheetah Learning is a virtual company with 100 employees,  contractors, and licensees worldwide. To date, more than 50,000 people have become “Cheetahs” using Cheetah Learning’s innovative Project Management and accelerated learning techniques. Recently honored by the Project Management Institute (PMI®), Cheetah  Learning was named Professional Development Provider of the Year at   the 2008 PMI® Global Congress. A dynamic keynote speaker and  industry thought leader, Michelle was previously recognized by PMI as one of the 25 Most Influential Women in Project Management in the  world. Michelle’s articles have appeared in more than 100 publications and websites around the world. Her monthly column, the Know How Network, is carried by over 400 publications. She is a graduate of the Harvard Business School’s Owner President Manager’s (OPM) program and also holds engineering degrees from Syracuse University and the University of Dayton. 

 

 

FIND THE FUN IN YOUR FIELD

By Michelle LaBrosse, PMP®, Chief Cheetah and Founder of Cheetah Learning, and Kristen LaBrosse, CAPM®, Co-Author

Roberto ALBORGHETTI – “No Clouds”, Canvas/Mixed Media, 70×47 – Lacer/actions Project/Images of Torn and Decomposed Publicity Posters

Passionate Pauline is driving down the boulevard in the early morning, whistling to the tune “Oh Happy Day” with a big smile on her face, ready to take on the day with a vengeance and excited to tackle any challenges that may come her way. In the next lane over, Sullen Sue is sulking, and somehow stuck in the slow lane … again! Things don’t typically go her way, she dislikes her job, and she’s dreading the mounting paperwork that is piling up on her desk.

Which driver’s seat would you rather be in every workday morning, 52 weeks a year, for the odd 40 working years of your life? Your career is an endeavor that requires a great deal of your time, energy, and focus. If you’re sitting in Sullen Sue’s driver’s seat, only you can change directions to find a career that ignites the passion in you and makes you find the fun in your field.

Don’t let society define your role.  Why did you choose the career you are currently in? Did it seem like the “thing to do” after you graduated college? Or did you have some time to introspectively analyze your innate strengths and interests, and decide on a career path based on that?

As a single mom, I have heard all types of stories of how hard my life must be. This role as a struggling victim didn’t quite suit me, however, and instead of focusing on what others expected of me in my “role,” I focused on how I could best create a life for my children and myself in the best way I knew how. We are all unique individuals with strengths and assets that direct us to a special purpose in life.  Fuel your career growth by doing your thing, regardless of what society says you can or can’t do.

Change Your Job Description. Who knows you better – the HR director who hired you while they were interviewing 40 other candidates, or YOU? We all have parts of our job that we love, and other parts that we hate. Chances are, the person sitting in the next office space is in the same boat. What you see as boring and tedious, another might regard as satisfying and even fun. In order to create a job description that fits like a glove, make sure to keep an open and honest dialogue with your peers, subordinates, and mangers about what work keeps you energized vs. which work sucks your life force.

Be Proactive.  The happiest workers are those who have a strong sense of control over what they’re doing and why their efforts are important to a company’s mission. If you don’t like the projects you’ve been assigned, be more proactive in seeking your roles in projects – it never hurts to ask.

If there is a certain process that you find to be cumbersome, tedious, and (in your opinion) useless, take the initiative to change it to improve it. Your work is your world, and the more waves you make that are of your own initiative, the more fun you will have. So don’t sit idly by hoping things will get better – jump to it!

Smell the Roses. At the end of the day, we all want to feel that we’ve accomplished something of importance – that we’ve been an asset to our employers, made the world a better place, come a step closer to solving poverty, and all that before lunch if we can. But the truth is we are all human, and sometimes our best intentions can lead to us neglecting what keeps us going.

Every day, make sure to take some time for just yourself to re-energize and refocus so that you can go back to work ready to take on the world’s problems. Try taking a quick walk at lunch and smell the roses. On the busier days simply allow yourself to get up from you computer, and take five minutes to focus on your breathing and to stretch. You owe it to yourself, not to mention your organization, to be at your best. So put it in your Google calendar if you have to, and take your breaks!

We all have the decision every day – which driver’s seat do we want to be in – Sullen Sue’s or Passionate Pauline’s? Whatever your decision, make sure you are making it consciously and with intention. And remember, the Passionate Paulines have more fun!

About the Author:

Michelle LaBrosse, PMP, is an entrepreneurial powerhouse with a penchant for making success easy, fun, and fast. She is the founder of Cheetah Learning, the author of the Cheetah Success Series, and a prolific blogger whose mission is to bring Project Management to the masses.

Cheetah Learning is a virtual company with 100 employees, contractors, and licensees worldwide. To date, more than 30,000 people have become “Cheetahs” using Cheetah Learning’s innovative Project Management and accelerated learning techniques.  

Recently honored by the Project Management Institute (PMI®), Cheetah Learning was named Professional Development Provider of the Year at the 2008 PMI® Global Congress. A dynamic keynote speaker and industry thought leader, Michelle was previously recognized by PMI as one of the 25 Most Influential Women in Project Management in the world.

Michelle’s articles have appeared in more than 100 publications and websites around the world. Her monthly column, the Know How Network, is carried by over 400 publications, and her monthly newsletter goes out to more than 50,000 people. 

She is a graduate of the Harvard Business School’s Owner President Manager’s (OPM) program and also holds engineering degrees from Syracuse University and the University of Dayton. 

MICHELLE LABROSSE: “KNOWLEDGE IS POWER. CLAIM YOUR INDEPENDENCE THROUGH LEARNING”

By Michelle LaBrosse, PMP®, Chief Cheetah and Founder of Cheetah Learning, and Kristen LaBrosse, CAPM®, Co-Author

 

Do you remember when you were younger and the excitement you had when you learned something new? That feeling when you were riding your bike and suddenly realized that there was no hand holding your seat anymore – and you were zooming down the street all by yourself. Or the thrill of picking up those little books in kindergarten and seeing that you didn’t need to have someone read you a story – you could do it on your own.

While these are my memories, we all have similar ones from growing up and feeling the excitement about becoming more and more free every time we jumped in and did something that we previously could not do. As we grow older, we can sometimes forget what this excitement of learning looks and feels like. But you only need to look at the face of child learning to ride a bike for the first time to remember the excitement.

We were taught at a young age that knowledge is power and freedom. Don’t forget this lesson!  Constantly focus on rekindling your spark for learning in order to claim your independence.

Take Responsibility for Your Learning.  We all have unique circumstances in our life that can either promote learning moments or not. How we use our powers of influence to capitalize on these circumstances affects our learning and our independence.

Let’s take for example the case of Bored Bill. Bored Bill has worked in the same job for 10 years and does the exact same thing day in and day out. Bill would like to advance in his career, but his company will not pay for continued education or credentials, so Bill sees no other option than to remain where he is, bored out of his mind.

Sitting across the cubicle from Bill in a cozy corner office is Crafty Chris. Chris started in the same job as Bill 10 years ago but, since then, Chris has been investing in his education by earning credentials that are important to his career path, as well as taking night classes to earn a degree in his field.  Chris recently got promoted to manager of his division, and is stimulated and challenged daily by the work tasks that lay before him.

When thinking about your learning goals, rather than focusing on your circle of concern (what you can’t control), focus on your circle of influence (what you can control).  Learning is a very personal investment that will stay with you throughout your life wherever you go. So make sure to take responsibility of your learning goals and invest in them as you would any other valuable asset.

Believe in You. One of my favorite quotes is from Vincent Van Gogh; it says: “If you hear a voice within you say, ‘You cannot paint,’ then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced.”  With my recent interest in the show “Dancing with the Stars,” a voice started to creep into my head that told me – “Wow, those dancers are talented. You are way too uncoordinated to do that!” And that is when I decided to start salsa lessons. In these weekly salsa lessons, as I learn new moves, I get excited at the realization that I am getting better, and while I might be a way off from “Dancing With the Stars” status, I am much better than when I started.

What internal voices do you have that keep you from learning something new? Sometimes you have to be really quiet to hear them, as many of these voices have been around for so long that they have become a belief system that we no longer question, but just take as fact. Things like, “I’m not good at math,” or “I have two left feet and could never dance well.” The thing about these statements is that they are self-fulfilling prophecies, because if you believe them you will never strive to improve.

Take a moment to write down all of the negative self-talk that your sneaky subconscious has led you to believe. Then, on a new piece of paper, write the opposite, such as “I am awesome at math” or “I can achieve ‘Dancing with the Stars’ status.”

If there is a learning goal you are going after, you first need to tell yourself that you are capable of doing it – and you will be. Claim your independence through learning today.

About the Author:

Michelle LaBrosse, PMP, is an entrepreneurial powerhouse with a penchant for making success easy, fun, and fast. She is the founder of Cheetah Learning, the author of the Cheetah Success Series, and a prolific blogger whose mission is to bring Project Management to the masses.

Cheetah Learning is a virtual company with 100 employees, contractors, and licensees worldwide. To date, more than 30,000 people have become “Cheetahs” using Cheetah Learning’s innovative Project Management and accelerated learning techniques.  

Recently honored by the Project Management Institute (PMI®), Cheetah Learning was named Professional Development Provider of the Year at the 2008 PMI® Global Congress. A dynamic keynote speaker and industry thought leader, Michelle was previously recognized by PMI as one of the 25 Most Influential Women in Project Management in the world.

Michelle’s articles have appeared in more than 100 publications and websites around the world. Her monthly column, the Know How Network, is carried by over 400 publications, and her monthly newsletter goes out to more than 50,000 people. 

She is a graduate of the Harvard Business School’s Owner President Manager’s (OPM) program and also holds engineering degrees from Syracuse University and the University of Dayton. 

NURTURE SOMEONE ELSE’S BABY / HELP OTHERS SUCCEED WITH THEIR DREAMS

By Michelle LaBrosse, PMP®, Chief Cheetah and Founder of Cheetah Learning, and Kristen LaBrosse, CAPM®, Co-Author

 

It has been said, “Teaching is the best form of learning.” When was the last time you put on your teaching hat to help someone else? When you take time to help others, you not only do them a favor but you also improve your own skills in the process of helping them with theirs. Part of being a good project manager is using your PM skills and talents to give back to the community. Ask yourself this question: “How can I help someone else reach his or her goals and dreams?”

Helping others is an often-overlooked avenue to achieve success and, yet, is perhaps one of the best ways to do so. Each and every one of us has the ability to help someone else in a significant and impactful way. We all have unique, innate talents and strengths that can serve others. What we do with these talents defines who we are, professionally and personally.

Become a Mastermind! One of the best ways to help others is by starting or joining a Mastermind Group. Don’t know what that is? Don’t worry, neither did I when a friend of mine asked me to lead a gathering of her small business friends in Simsbury, Connecticut. What I learned is that a Mastermind Group is a collection of people who agree to get together periodically with the sole purpose of expanding their opportunities. My friend got the idea after reading Napoleon Hill’s book, “Think and Grow Rich.” She assembled 22 people for our first get-together. We agreed to meet every two to three weeks throughout the year.

The experience I had leading my friend’s group was nothing short of amazing. People brought business problems they couldn’t seem to solve, and after a few months they came out with stronger businesses and more confidence in themselves.

The key behind the mastermind philosophy is that you are putting people of various strengths into one room. You may have a problem that seems insurmountable, but for someone else it may be a routine snag they have already overcome.

When joining a Mastermind Group, take a minute to evaluate your strengths and to realize the assets that you can bring to the table. (Everyone has his or her own unique set of strengths—yes even you!) The more people you help, the more you will learn, and the stronger PM you’ll become.

Donate Your Time and Resources. Recently Cheetah Learning donated a one-day course, Project Management Project Accelerator, to a non-profit organization in order to help them prosper. We picked a foster and adoption agency because we saw the great work they were doing for children and adolescence in their town, and knew how important it was for them to do well for the sake of their community.

During this one-day course, we taught what we knew best: How to run fast and effective projects. We didn’t really expect to learn much that day, because hey, we were the teachers! But we forgot the golden rule, “Teaching is the best form of learning.”

During the process of teaching this organization how to manage projects, we had to answer hard questions about how to apply standardized PM practices and techniques to the very volatile world of foster care. We learned more about what it was like to manage projects in the non-profit human service sector, which is very different from our typical corporate clients.

The point is, the more you can get out and help people of different backgrounds, the greater your skill sets will be.

So what are you waiting for? Get out there and help others grow their dreams today!  And don’t be surprised when your own dreams grow in the process.

About the Author

Michelle LaBrosse, PMP, is an entrepreneurial powerhouse with a penchant for making success easy, fun, and fast. She is the founder of Cheetah Learning, the author of the Cheetah Success Series, and a prolific blogger whose mission is to bring Project Management to the masses.

Cheetah Learning is a virtual company with 100 employees, contractors, and licensees worldwide. To date, more than 30,000 people have become “Cheetahs” using Cheetah Learning’s innovative Project Management and accelerated learning techniques.  

Recently honored by the Project Management Institute (PMI®), Cheetah Learning was named Professional Development Provider of the Year at the 2008 PMI® Global Congress. A dynamic keynote speaker and industry thought leader, Michelle was previously recognized by PMI as one of the 25 Most Influential Women in Project Management in the world.

Michelle’s articles have appeared in more than 100 publications and websites around the world. Her monthly column, the Know How Network, is carried by over 400 publications, and her monthly newsletter goes out to more than 50,000 people. 

She is a graduate of the Harvard Business School’s Owner President Manager’s (OPM) program and also holds engineering degrees from Syracuse University and the University of Dayton. 

Check out Cheetah PHAST – an exceptional new quarterly magazine 

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