From surviving to thriving – My Success Journey during the COVID-19 Crisis

From surviving to thriving – My Success Journey during the COVID-19 Crisis

Today is the day I was born again with the freshness of wellbeing and feeling the goodness of staying alive. Yet another birthday reminder set in my gadget resonates in the morning hours flashing in screen “Happy Birthday Dharam, it’s your 51st year on this beautiful earth”. Freezing my alarm bell, I sit in solitude silence with many thoughts running in my mind, “What Next, What Next, and What Next.”

After performing my daily yoga routine, I start to feel relaxed and think about sharing my experience of how I survived and thrived during this pandemic through what I call a “What Next Approach” to achieve success. As we see the historical strategies, I came across a P-R-S (Problem, Reaction, & Solution) strategy that perfectly matched our current scenario. Here the problem is the COVID-19 crisis, and we need a reaction, i.e., a call to action (What next action will we take)—finally, moving forward is the solution of surviving throughout the crisis till it ends. Surviving and thriving are synonymous with each other. Surviving is like riding a car or a bike, and thriving is the fuel. If the engine stops due to lack of fuel, that’s where the problem begins.

P-R-S strategy

P-R-S strategy

The “What Next?” Approach

Oprah Winfrey Quotes, “Don’t worry about being successful but work toward being significant, and the success will naturally follow.”

“What Next” is a focused and futuristic approach by asking certain simplified questions to yourself and finding the best solutions to your problems during uncertainty. The list of questions given below varies individually, and you can frame “What Next Questions” depending upon your scenario. It is a self-consciousness assessment, where you will be the learner and solution provider for your wellbeing. It enables us to derail faulty thinking where we make decisions that our future selves so often later regret. I am trying to share a common template that could be useful for all.

Q1. What next to make my life better than it was before?

Q2. What next steps should I take to make progress in my professional career?

Q3. What next specific outcome you’re seeking?

Q4. What next critical behavioral change you want to do with?

Q5. What next set of trade-offs am I going to make both on the personal and professional front?

The "What Next?" Approach: Finding the root-cause analysis

The “What Next?” Approach: Finding the Root-Cause Analysis

Current Self vs. Future Self

Einstein quotes, “Imagination is more important than knowledge.”

Imagination design your future self. Your current self creates a fixed mindset, content with whatever status you are in and stopping the roadmap for achievement. Future self generates a growth mindset and pushes us to move forward towards our goal. An uncertain future breaks you apart emotionally and behaviourally, which impacts your mindset. It ultimately leads you to cognitive dissonance, which refers to a situation used to create mental discomfort that results from holding two conflicting beliefs, values, or attitudes. We all need to break these silos within ourselves.

Empathy not Sympathy

Empathy not Sympathy

Empathy not Sympathy

My caring for self is caring for other people. That’s what we need to establish in ourselves. Sympathy as a common feeling does not give us positive outcomes, but empathy bridges the negativity gap. Renowned psychologists Daniel Goleman and Paul Ekman have identified three components of empathy: Cognitive, Emotional, and Compassionate. So put it together, we can be mentally strong, emotionally stable, and compassionate towards the family and people we work with. Empathy helps us to overcome anxiety, embarrassment, regret, sadness, shame, and stress.

Forward-thinking leaders

Leaders are the pillar of strength to the foundation of an organization. The old school of leadership thoughts is diminishing and has created a “Leadership Vacuum.” This vacuum can be fulfilled only by forward-thinking leaders who think beyond growth by understanding the good and bad corporate world that is in place. These leaders are empathetic and have a transparent working model put in place. They connect, collaborate, and create a cohesive ecosystem for the employees to achieve their vision and goals. The whole world is filled with uncertainty, and there is no certainty that the desired objective can happen or not. Forward-thinking reshapes the decision-making process of uncertain events within the stipulated time, avoiding greater loss to the organization in the future.

Digital Adoption

As we have moved from industrial evolution to digital evolution, it is a fast-paced movement that professionals need to sync with adaptability. Until March 2020, being an individual traveling worldwide for my training programs, COVID-19 had checkmated my plan of action. It directly impacted my business, which forced me to rethink my business model. The change to digital transformation was imminent. We need to change our mindset to move on to adopt digitalization. My shift to online training programs paid dividends. I stress individuals be from the working class or in business, choosing the right tools and team are critical in achieving success despite testing times.

Adoption

Adoption

Being Physically Active during this Pandemic

Research shows at least 150 mins of physical activity per day is required for a person to stay healthy and live longer. Most people will be spending time with exercise by going to the gym, swimming, running, be in some form of sports activities, etc. unfortunately, COVID-19 has shut down all the avenues due to social distancing. Physical activity depends on the intensity you do, and it is measured based upon it. The intensity ranges from moderate intensity to vigorous intensity, along with muscle and bone strengthening.

Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (CDC-DNPAO), details the Physical Activity for Particular Age Types, which I have shared here for your reference.

Physical Activity

Types of Physical Activity

Another interesting measurement is the MET (Metabolic Equivalent of Task) which offers insight into how an individual’s variation in age, height, and body mass may influence the intensity of physical activity.

With the help of these, I am able to ascertain where I stand and plan to be more active and more productive by doing my regular physical activity routine. I got the opportunity to practice Yoga at a young age which led me to be super fit. With mudras, pranayama, and Yoga asanas, I overcame the physical disability (clubfoot) that I was born with. Gradually Yoga has made my mind, body, soul, and my entire lifestyle strong and disciplined. Yoga has created a positive synergy with extraordinary benefits both on the personal and professional front with stress-free life.

Later on, it motivated me to become a Yoga teacher to my community back in Sydney, Australia, through YiPEE (Yoga in Park for Extreme Energy) Yoga from 2011. With YiPEE Yoga, I was able to conduct free yoga sessions during the weekends to the community. In the USA, I plan to organize free community Yoga sessions once all the pandemic-related restrictions are over and people are back to normalcy. But, for now, I continue to practice Yoga indoors and record these sessions that are later shared on my Youtube Channel.

One such session that I plan to do is scheduled the day next to my birthday and during this International Yoga Day, 21st June 2021. The session is intended to communicate the true value of Yoga and realize how individuals can add quality to their mind as Yoga is all about enriching the mind and empowering the body. Yoga is the journey of the self, to the self, through the self.

Join Link: https://bit.ly/3xw4O4u

Date: Monday, 21st June 2021 [Southeast Asia & Oceania],

Sunday, 20th June 2021 [Americas]

Time: 6:00 PM – 7:00 PM (PDT) / 7:00 PM – 8:00 PM (MDT) / 8:00 PM – 9:00 PM (CDT) / 9:00 PM – 10:00 PM (EDT) / 6:30 AM – 7:30 AM (IST) / 9:00 AM – 10:00 AM (SGT/MYT) / 11:00 AM – 12:00 AM (AEST)

You can subscribe to my YouTube Channel to watch all my podcasts and interview sessions with leading project management experts, along with my yoga session videos at https://bit.ly/2NDY8wd

“The Why” and “The How” of my life

Why and How

Why and How

Tracing back from a humble beginning and reaching the peak of the career path is not an easy achievement. The upward curve of my life is decided by calculated risk, a strong decision-making process, and nurturing from rightful mentors who fined tuned my path towards success. As we live in a pandemic world, and most professionals are into a midlife crisis, it is time to overcome the delusion it creates that pushes us into a panic mode. Midlife crisis is a crisis of identity at the age of 35-40 explored and researched by eminent Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung and German-American psychologist Erik Erikson, who coined the word “Identity crisis.” On the worrying side, this delusion leads to depression and affects the biological clock of the individual.

Midlife Crisis

Midlife Crisis

The solution that I adopted is clearing structuring, “The Why” and “The How” of my life. “The Why” streamlined by behavior and attitude, whereas “The How” clearly defines the stages and transition in midlife crisis.

Devising self-structured questions which purely depends on your circumstances and the yardstick you’re in. Here I am sharing one question on each subline;

  1. Why should I live with a standardized life course?
  2. How can I live with an extraordinary life course?

Simple but thought-provoking questions that every man and woman would have come across. The anxiety of aging, dissatisfaction with not achieving things, and social instability created by the surroundings take a toll on us personally and professionally. I urged myself not to quit and create an obsessive focus to live an extraordinary life with extraordinary aspirations. That obsessive focus should be on what you can control and not on things you can’t control. The critical aspect is to strike a balance between family and network. I created a cluster pool of networks during my migration to Australia, which stabilized my way of living.

Persevere

Persevere

Perseverance is one of the greatest skills you can develop during this crisis. First, you have to decide to put yourself in the category you strive for, either a standardized life course or an extraordinary life course. I chased for the latter by getting out of my comfort zone as I clearly understood that success is not a comfortable procedure. I envisioned myself getting out of this crisis through better companionship with my family and kids. They are the ones who complement “The Why” and “The How of my Life.”

Organizations ignore the middle-level managers who are profoundly between the ages of 30-35 in the organizational structure. It is the right time to spearhead those people to overcome the delusion created by the midlife crisis by proper people management and engaging them with psychological counseling. Organizations need to revisit their handling of human resources by taking steps to create work-life integration rather than work-life balance. We can’t regret losing talented professionals in that time zone. “People Value” should outweigh “Profit Value.” Let’s create a “Happiness Greenhouse” and overcome this together.

At vCare Project Management, I train individuals to be resilient project-program-portfolio management professionals and achieve success in the time-intense examinations required to obtain the most elusive advanced PMI certifications, viz. the PgMP® and PfMP®. Through my systemic approach, I unleash their full potential, enabling them to turn their aspirations into reality. As on 7th June 2021, Out of 3660 PgMP®s across the globe, 330 are my students spread across 46 countries. As on 6th June 2021, out of 1106 PfMP®s across the globe, 65 are my students who have empowered me with a 100% success rate.

If I can do it, sure can you.

Inspire yourself, and Inspire your surroundings.

Let the change begin from today!!!

Working Together For Success!!!

Resilience of Project Management Professionals amidst COVID-19

Resilience of Project Management Professionals amidst COVID-19

The impact of Covid-19

The key to surviving a global crisis is to display resilience by adapting to the ever-changing circumstances and giving up current practices in favour of those that are more tailor-made for the situation at hand. Given that Covid-19 has led to an unpredictable stagnation of growth, we are now faced with what is known in project management terms as the “unknown unknown”, which are risks that come from completely unexpected situations. We are witnessing this in the form of a disease outbreak that has upset all of our lives.

Resilience of Project Management Professionals

Resilience of Project Management Professionals

Entire business pyramid collapses have left organizations with the question of whether or not to change their entire mode of operations. Naturally, the answer is to adopt any means necessary to ensure that they continue to generate value for their beneficiaries. With a PgMP® certification, program managers can add value to their organizations and truly make a meaningful difference in this aspect. There will always be a demand for qualified professionals in the market. A PgMP® certification allows its holders to stand apart from their peers.

PMP® and PgMP® certification – What is the difference? 

PMP®: It is purely knowledge-based and theoretical, relying on test-taking to quantify a candidate’s ability in recollecting facts and data. There are over a million holders of this certification globally.

PgMP®: It is competency-based, and it requires the candidate to become acquainted with theoretical concepts and demonstrate their applications in a practical setting, akin to the real world. The candidate is subjected to a peer review where he must explain the thought process that led to his decision. Such rigorous scrutiny has kept the bar high and has helped produce some of the most competent program managers that the world has ever seen. There are only around 3100 holders of this certification.

PMP® | PgMP®

PMP® | PgMP®

In this environment of job insecurity and mass layoffs, such certifications are the most worthy qualifications that a professional can possess, to project his skill set and capabilities.

Value management: The generation of value is at the core of any organization. It may take on the form of project, program and portfolio management. Still, it is ultimately based on a single, underlying framework that binds them together, which is termed as “value management”. When program managers realize and embody this simple principle, an increase in revenue, market share and share value is bound to follow.

Value | Change | Risk

Value | Change | Risk

Change management is the ability of a manager to respond to disruptions, and it is the key to survival. But even when things change, some things will hold true at all times; one of which is the importance of the bond between organizations and their stakeholders. In times of adversity, program managers must display resilience and instil confidence in not just their organizations or their clients, but also their community at large.

Risk management: According to the PMI-PMBOK guidelines, risk is a subset of threats and opportunities. Where one sees a threat, another senses a chance, and by wreaking havoc on traditional establishments, the current economic climate has revealed gaps in the same that can be exploited by opportunistic individuals. The example that comes to the forefront is the health-care sector, and especially companies that manufacture masks, which have directly benefited from this disruption. However, this does not tarnish their reputation, as the global pandemic was neither orchestrated nor premeditated. Instead, they are merely providing an essential commodity that has gained tremendous value seemingly overnight. Hence, they are right to capitalize on this timely outcome.

So, while the path is clear for the health-care sector at the moment, it leaves professionals in other fields without clear guidance. Given the increased availability of free time, they ought to set their sights on an immediate short-term vision and leverage this half-year time frame to up-skill themselves, such as by acquiring PMI certifications, and the PgMP® in particular. This strategy would not only secure one’s immediate future but also pay dividends in the long term.

Staying ahead of the curve:

One of the ramifications of mass layoffs is the sudden arrival of experienced professionals in the job market pool, which inevitably fosters intense competition among job seekers. Driven by desperation, even veterans in the industry are willing to work for lower wages, which further snuffs out the ever-shrinking prospects of inexperienced, first-time jobseekers. As for those who have managed to keep their jobs, they still face the dilemma of maintaining relevancy within their organizations and justifying their pay. In both cases, an advanced certification such as the PgMP® will go a long way in proving one’s ability to create value, which is the hallmark of a competent manager. As stated by Michael Porter during the 2014 PMO conference, managers must always compete on value creation rather than a price reduction.

Staying ahead of the curve

Staying ahead of the curve

Growth mindset vs predefined mindset

Growth mindset: A program manager who possesses this mindset is willing to adapt to changing situations by following the best course of action even it requires him to give up standard procedures.

Predefined mindset: A project manager who possesses this mindset sticks to the standard procedure regardless of the situation at hand.

Growth mindset vs predefined mindset

Growth mindset vs predefined mindset

Despite the aura of despair in our current scenario, there is a case to be made for a bright future for those resilient managers who are willing to adopt a growth mindset and let go of a predefined one. And in terms of value proposition, an advanced certification can lay down the foundation for a sustainable future for one’s business as well as personal career growth.

In the below video, you can watch my interaction with Thomas Walenta and Olivier Lazar on the Resilience of Project Management Professionals amidst the COVID-19 crisis.

You can subscribe to my personal YouTube Channel using the link http://bit.ly/2RMvsTv. In this channel you can find videos of success stories, Q&A sessions and interactions with project-program-portfolio management experts. Subscribe to the channel and get notified on new videos.

For any questions related to Project Management training and certifications, you can book an obligation free 15 minutes session with me by visiting http://bit.ly/2SbhTOK.

View all our Online PgMP® Mentoring Programs

View all our Online PfMP® Mentoring Programs

PgMP4U LinkedIn Group: http://bit.ly/2SBPwIp

PfMP4U LinkedIn Group: http://bit.ly/31P7GKR

Email: [email protected]