Let's Talk About Personal Wellbeing for Project Managers

From the The Professional Project Manager Blog
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Let's Talk About Personal Wellbeing for Project Managers

Let’s talk about personal wellbeing.

It’s not the normal topic I talk about. Usually when I post it’s about technical skills like maturity assessments, cost and time estimating, or practitioner competency development. If I talk about soft skills I talk about skills like leadership, communication and team development.

The thing I noticed about all of these skills is that they are all outward facing. They require the leader or the project manager to give something to someone else. I realized that maybe it’s time to start looking after our own wellbeing first. By doing this we can be healthier people and be better prepared for our personal and professional challenges.

This post is also founded in my own personal experience of letting a state of “ill being” sneak up on me in very small barely noticeable steps. I won’t go into too much detail but there was a point in 2018 when I had to admit that I had let several years of stress and lack of good health practices adversely impact my overall state of wellbeing. I am not the only hard working professional to end up like this, I won’t be the last and maybe you can relate or know someone who can.

What helped me recover and return to a state of wellbeing was positive psychology, signature character strengths and learning resilience techniques.

I’m going to leave you to google the science of positive psychology and it’s founder Martin Seligman from the University of Pennsylvania. The elements of positive psychology that have helped me most have been learning about and focusing on my signature strengths, mindfulness and gratitude. If you bought one of his books I would recommend “Flourish”.

The science of resilience is an incredibly powerful set of tools and insights from Karen Reivich & Andrew Shatte, which at its heart teaches us that it isn’t the event we experience that shapes us, but the way we respond to it, and we can learn to have more control over the ways in which we respond. I’m going to encourage you to get their book “The Resilience Factor: 7 Keys to Finding Your Inner Strength and Overcoming Life's Hurdles” and learn some practical techniques for improving your levels of resilience.

If I could pass on two basic tips that you could use immediately to increase your levels of wellbeing it would be to start a simple gratitude practice. Each evening before you go to bed either write down, or share with someone, three things you are grateful for that happened that day. It’s a great way to end the day and it’s been proven that gratitude increases wellbeing.

The second tip would be to find out what your signature character strengths are and begin to leverage these more in your personal and professional life. Everything seems easier and takes less effort when you use your signature strengths. You can take the free assessment at the link below.

So, let’s keep sharing great ideas about leadership and project management. Let’s exchange ideas about Gantt charts, kanban boards and earned value management. Let’s debate agile versus waterfall approaches. Let’s keep inspiring others with stories of great leaders, communicators and team builders. But let’s also start to talk and share stories about our own wellbeing, and what works for each of us.

Find out your Character Strengths here:


Posted on: May 18, 2019 10:23 AM | Permalink

Comments (11)

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Great suggestions for wellbeing of project manger. Thanks for sharing Sean !!

Great topic, Sean! Especially we busy project bees need to take care. Great suggestions!

I really appreciate this posting Sean, it’s important for PM’s to recognize that self-care needs to be taken seriously. It’s quite easy for us to get caught up in projects and not realize that we haven’t come up for air in some time. Unfortunately, as you said, stress is often the wake-up-call that makes us realize we need to make adaptations in our project-life.

Great post. It is important that we recognise the need to exercise self-care AND give ourselves permission to do so.

I definitely agree with this and it shouldnt be a 'negative' thing to discuss. It's such an important topic for all of us!

Hi Emily, I agree that it’s a topic we all need to be talking about. We talk about our physical health and recognise it’s importance to our wellbeing, and mental and emotional wellbeing is just as important

Thanks Sean for an unusual topic on this forum. I personally follow gratitude since last 2 years and seen tremendous results in my life. I hope everyone follows it and get positive results.

Great tips Sean. Thanks for sharing.
Agree with every point mentioned, not that we do not know but may not be doing .
Well-being, importance well addressed.

Tip 1 promotes positive attitude and with a positive attitude one can easily conquer difficult and challenging situations. The moment one discovers his or her signature character strengths (Tip2) and leverage on the same the more that list on Tip 1 grows and eventually the quest to hone and put into practice the outward facing skills increases too. Practical, value adding and life changing stuff thanks a lot Sean for sharing.

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