July 29, 2015 by FlexPro
For years now I’ve been toying with the idea of getting my Project Management Professional certification. While it was something I had often thought of pursuing, it was one of those things that I told myself I would do “someday”. Knowing what’s involved in obtaining a PMP certification, I wasn’t really looking forward to completing the complicated application process and studying at least thirty-five hours for a difficult four hour long test. The last time I had to study that much and take a four hour test was the SAT’s! It was going to be a lot of work and a lot of time invested, but it’s also something I really wanted to accomplish. I knew my hard work and diligence would pay off in the end when I received my certification – and that in itself would be a great reward, but I needed a little more to keep me motivated.
Around the same time I started the process of obtaining my PMP I also found a renewed appreciation for the acoustic guitar. Learning how to play the guitar is another one of those things that I wanted to do “someday”, but it was always put on the back burner for one reason or another. Attending a couple of concerts this year really renewed my interest in learning how to play, although I knew that it probably wasn’t going to be as easy as my favorites Rob Thomas and 3 Doors Down made it look.
So, you ask, what does playing the guitar have to do with getting my PMP certification? Well, I’ll tell you! Knowing what I was getting into when I started the PMP process, I needed a little psychological edge to keep me inspired – especially in the beginning when the finish line seemed so far away. I decided that, as a reward to myself after I completed the certification, I would finally take guitar lessons. I was really excited about my decision and used it as my motivation during all of the studying and preparation for the test. It was kind of my way of creatively tying two completely unrelated goals together into a nice neat little package. Well, all of my dilligence and dedication paid off and in June I received my Project Management Professional Certification. As my reward, this month I started guitar lessons and while I’m not ready to go on tour yet, I’m loving it!
Having an incentive to self motivate myself was a great way to get through a difficult task and help me keep my eye on the goal. It’s really no different then what we do with our kids when we promise them a new bike for a good report card or give them an allowance for doing their chores. As project managers, we are often thinking about rewards and recognition for our team members. Everyone likes to be acknowledged for a job well done and hard work should be rewarded. The difference here is that it’s high time that we rewarded ourselves for a change. Why should we wait for someone else to validate a job well done? Nobody else is going to pat me on the back for getting my PMP certification, nor do I need them to. This was a goal I set for myself, a goal I achieved for myself and a goal I rewarded myself for!
So let’s not forget that in our hectic lives where we’re so often busy doing for everyone else, it’s okay to reward ourselves too. Now pat yourself on the back and go get some ice cream. You deserve it!
-Lynn Faughey, Chief Operating Officer, The FlexPro Group