By Kathy Martucci, PMP:
Strength, balance and flexibility… basic foundations of yoga AND good project management.
Try this: the next time you’re in a particularly galling meeting, inhale deeply through your nose all the way from your abdomen through your rib cage to your chest. Feel your breath bathing your inner body with light and tranquility. Hang onto that breath for a brief moment before you quietly expel it through your nose discharging all your tension and that overwhelming urge to slap whoever it is in your face now. Soften your shoulder blades. Repeat until your blood pressure is in normal range. WOW. That could have been the lead-in line to any yoga class.
I’ve been thinking a lot about the similarities between yoga and project management. It’s weird, I know, but kind of intriguing.
Most people think yoga is all about stretching. Yes, there’s a fair amount of that. But have you ever seen a yogini in crane pose, efficiently balancing her entire body weight on her palms? It takes that kind of confident strength to be a good project manager… strength of character, integrity, perseverance… all major success factors for any PM.
Here is where the mainstream thinking of yoga lies and perhaps it’s those photographs of people in contortionist-like postures that fosters the myth. In project management, flexibility is the name of the game. Have you ever experienced an environment that requires contortionist moves and is more in need of flexibility than a project? Creative thinking, problem solving, meeting challenges with an open mind and an ability to not just react but be proactive – all basic requirements to survive a project, let alone exceed expectations.
Stand in tree pose for 5 minutes. Sounds easy – try it sometime if you’d like a challenge. Over time, you can improve balance with sustained practice. In project management balance is key. Shuffle resources, juggle priorities, maintain a work-life balance…easier said than done but critical to success. Practice balance, improve balance.
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