Project Management

The Pros and Cons of Single-Mindedness in Career Development

Andy Jordan is President of Roffensian Consulting S.A., a Roatan, Honduras-based management consulting firm with a comprehensive project management practice. Andy always appreciates feedback and discussion on the issues raised in his articles and can be reached at andy.jordan@roffensian.com. Andy's new book Risk Management for Project Driven Organizations is now available.

When I was a child, my mother always used to tell me to “aim high and hold the aim.” What she meant was that it was important to believe that I could do anything I wanted, and then to keep focused on that goal, doing whatever it took to achieve it.

And I did. Putting aside the childhood dreams of being a rock star (!), from the age of around 8 I knew I wanted to follow in my father’s footsteps in the British military. I did all my research, I was part of the cadets at school, I met with the military career counselor every time he visited my school. My career ambitions were well set.

And then, three months before I finished school, the medical requirements for the role I wanted to pursue were changed and my eyesight went from being just inside the cut-off to being just outside. My career dreams were destroyed. I had aimed high, held the aim and been denied.

Now don’t feel sorry for me. If that hadn’t happened, I wouldn’t be sitting here now writing this, I wouldn’t have met a colleague in my chosen career and gone out for a drink with him after work one evening. Which means I wouldn’t have been in the pub at the same time as the woman who would go on to become my wife was, and we would never have met.

I don’t know what would have happened if the medical requirements hadn’t changed, but I’m pretty …


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"It is one of the blessings of old friends that you can afford to be stupid with them."

- Ralph Waldo Emerson