The marathonist spirit, part 2/2Published: 2020-12-22 09:34
Let’s go for the second part of the marathonist spirit. As in the race, it was quite comfortable to clear the first half. But it’s a long run and now begin the troubles…
”Know thyself” said Aeschylus , Socrates and Plato.
As stakeholder in a project, it’s good to know the way you’re handling this kind of exercise. Are you more efficient alone or in a team? How do you react when you’re facing something unexpected? How are you handling due dates? What’s your behavior when you’re meeting change? This last question will be the subject of one of my next posts, I promise.
As a runner, ”knowing yourself” will be developed when you build the bases… you will understand how your body consumes energy, how it reacts to pain and loooooong efforts. If you are fan of data analyze, the smart watches will feed your need! You will easily understand, recognize the warning signals, know when your pulse is becoming unstable, when you steps are getting irregular…
Anticipating the problems.
A large number of troubles are waiting for you to ruin your journey. Let me explain a couple of those…
In a marathon, especially the first time you’re running one, you will most likely ”hit the wall”, usually between km 35 and 40. That mostly happens if you don’t feed properly, regularly, or if you’re caught by the general enthusiasm of the mass of people; as a consequence you overwarm your body machine. How to describe it? Quite easy. A couple of minutes before it happens, it seems like you have a sudden regain of energy, that you can go faster, easily. You feel well, good, self-conscious and confident. And BOUM, that was a trap from your body. In less than 30 seconds, a dark veil comes in front of your eyes and your sight becomes blurry. This euphoria drops a package of melancholia and you feel empty, you feel that nothing’s going out of your body anymore, you want to give up, you don’t see how you can reach your target. It’s like each step requires more and more energy, and you can look at your watch so often you want, every single hundred meters seems like hours of pain. From a basic point of view, the time of euphoria that you lived previously was a warning signal from your body. It’s burning the last reserves of energy in some kind of epic firework. Right after this, the engine is out of gasoline. And even if you take some sugar right now, it will take time to recover. ”The wall” is probably the biggest fear of all marathonists. But there are way more things that are waiting for you. Internal, as stomach and digestion pains, blisters… or external, as the rain that can catch you during those 4 hours, or a dog that will suddenly chase you and make you become an Usain Bolt’s challenger…
In a project of course, Pitbulls may not chase you along your project. I mean not literally… because some stakeholder can definitely become furious beasts when things are not going the way they expected. That’s why the problem anticipation has to go through different simulations, in which people impacted by the project must take part. They are the most aware of the different variants, of what can be the unsuspected impacts of your project on their daily work. And in such case it’s better to try different scenarios, different possibilities. You also have to count on the people relation to the change itself. And in such situation, it might be a bit different compared to the way you’re handling change yourself. Because if your project is not affecting your entire way of working, it can be the case for them! And so comes your talent of diplomat in the game. And you’ll have to find all the ways to make the implementation of the project the smoothest possible
Being able to adapt.
or being flexible. In a project, you will necessarily have to face the reality. Always have a B plan ! You’ll always be confronted to delays, reluctance, and it’s quite common to discover that there are actually gaps between the plan and the hard reality. Better start your gymnastics training.
In your marathon, you can also be forced to adapt. Adapt to the playground, if you didn’t choose a flat road. Adapt to your strength, that will obviously decline along the way. Adapt to the team, if you’re not taking this challenge alone.
In all cases, the most seriously you took the problem anticipation step, the less you’re supposed to be forced to adapt!
Set intermediate targets.
Having milestones on your way is the best psychological help you can find! During your marathon, most of them will be set after the half of your race, and will probably become closer and closer to each other. You will experiment the relativity theory the hard way. But that’s the beauty of the thing.
And of course, having intermediate targets on your projects is a great help to keep the motivation at its top level. People can lose courage, energy if they don’t see the end of the operations. A dashboard to follow the project evolution is a good compass in the ocean you’re crossing!
Celebrating the success.
Here we are, your project is executed and you managed it with success. Don’t forget to celebrate, to thank all the people that have been involved. Enjoy the time, and take all the lessons that you’ve learned during this time for your next challenge, either positive and negative ones.
If you reached the finish line of the marathon, congratulations. I’m pretty sure that the satisfaction will erase the pain… for a while. Don’t forget to stretch and enjoy endorphins running through your veins. The first one will leave you a life memory!