I’ve stepped into the most important, most influential and creative project I have ever led!
I have a few projects going right now. I usually do. They aren’t all related and yet in some ways they are. That’s one of the things that I lovingly inherited from my dad. He is a bit of a Renaissance man, and I see more and more that I am a Renaissance woman. On any given day I’m teaching math, science or French as a substitute teacher, painting in plein air, teaching Nia+Yoga or hiking in the local hills (or sometimes the not so local hills.) And really, when I think of guys like Da Vinci I remember that being an artist and a scientist and a few other things all at the same time is not indecisive…it’s awesome!
Wait, back to my projects. So, I’ve currently got several projects on my plate and recently I’ve noticed that there is this one particular project that I need to be deeply involved with every single day. This project, which I’ll call “project-V”, is the one I know inside and out like the back of my hand. It started out on a small scale and yet the growth these days is pretty exponential. I really can’t take full credit for “project-V”’s creation. I didn’t do the initial hard work to get it off the ground. It started out more as a family business and now my parents have handed over the reins. I am currently 100% responsible for how smoothly it runs, who is on my team, the direction it takes, and its overall impacts on a local and even global scale. I have full choice as to the risks that are taken with it and the manner in which it is publicly presented. I have to admit, tonight, while I am writing this, I am pretty excited about it.
I know it will lead to great things. It took me a while to know that, and I can admit that I didn’t always have complete faith in its potential; and yet I know now that it will change the world…for the better. That isn’t something to take lightly, right?
Sure, it has its ebbs and flows. There are definitely days when “project-V” isn’t hitting the milestones I set out for it in the time-frame I had planned, and it isn’t uncommon for setbacks and failures to glitch the underlying operating system a bit. The thing is that I’ve finally come to realize that I am the only one who can effectively handle the hardware, the operating system and the software on this project. When something breaks down, it is up to me to get the team back on track. I am learning to do this faster, more efficiently and without the drama that can easily accumulate around these sorts of situations. The more quality time I spend with “project-V” the better I get at keeping it running smoothly and at full capacity.
Now let’s talk about this whole “leadership” situation.
I had never really thought of myself as a leader. To be totally honest, just the word “leader” used to conjure up images of priests and politicians, captains and commanders. All the roles for which I have respect and yet I respect someone else being in them. So when I first recognized that I was the leader on “project-V”, it felt a little uncomfortable. There were times I wanted to just hand it over to someone and say, “Here, you take care of this, I know you’ll do a good job and frankly I’m overwhelmed by the whole thing.”
Then I stopped to think about what would happen if I were to hand it over and let someone else lead, or if I stopped putting in the heartfelt creativity and genius that has made this particular project so unique and special. I imagined what would happen if I just let it go along following the path of least resistance, sitting back and watching time take its toll… and my gut reaction stopped me in my tracks.
This one, this project is too precious for that and so I am stepping in 100% as CEO, chief engineer, art director, human resources and cruise director. I choose to be the leader…and now I’m owning it!
Now comes the cool part. Well its pretty cool for me as I’m a newbie to this whole project management deal. Now that I’m really owning the leadership of this big project, there is this awesome trickle down effect I’m seeing with all the others. What I’ve noticed is that when I’ve got “project-V” running relatively smoothly, when I can remember to handle the glitches and failures without getting caught up in that workplace drama thing, and when I stay tuned to my belief that it will absolutely make a lasting impression on this planet… this is exactly when all the other projects on my desk seem to get a little easier. They flow a little more elegantly, they are way more fun and even the setbacks are easier to handle since I’m using all the tools I learned from “V.” It’s like some sort of weird miracle project domino effect and I am into it!
I know some of these smaller projects may come and go. Maybe I’ll co-lead on a few of them and maybe some of them weren’t really my cup of tea in the first place.
What I now know for sure though is that I’m in “V” for the long haul. I am setting my sights high for the outcome of “V.” It is by far the most important, influential and creative project I have ever led. Like I said, I had never thought of myself as a leader but hey, c’est la Vie.