What to expect: when nothing seems to go right

No, you’ll not read “go left”. Even if you can. When nothing goes right or at least appears so, stop. Yes, stop.

Years ago my good friend, Viorel, gave me the best advice in a moment of what i thought of as the tragedy if the year: stop and brief.  That’s right. Regular, mindful act of briefing in and briefing out.

It works in life. It works in project life. To recover a project you need to be able to recover yourself first. As in the airplane safety instructions: “put your oxygen mask first, before attempting to help others”.

As I learned that such a moment comes almost inevitably into the world of the project manager, i learned to be prepared to welcome or to face it.

As project managers do not like to be caught of guard, you’d love to know that you have an aid kit, which you’ll create, for the simple reason that it needs to work for you, only you and no one else.

So, You’ll trigger or open your magic recovery kit when you think that nothing goes right. Put your smart phone to shame. Make your kit options unlimited. Here is a hint or two on what can be “inside”:

It can be something material or mental. It can be a ritual – e.g. learn the art of Japanese tea.

It can be finding or creating a space, place, a sanctuary where you can go to – e.g. a meditation or prayer room, a bench in a park.

Put together a memory/trophies/awards/love letters box. And open it to see evidence of “magnificent you”.

Turn on your fav tune. Dance. Or just wave your hands in the air.

Go to gym or for a walk.

Hug someone. Or a tree. I would hug you but I am only a text.

Call someone whose voice has a soothing effect on you. Listen to a tape you love.

Watch your fav movie or show.

Cook or bake for someone you love. Someone you love can be you.

Take a cold shower or immerse in a hot tub.

Open a bottle of sparkling wine and celebrate. Because soon you’ll be too busy again with that fantastic project of yours :).


What works in my case? A ristretto and a hot Cusco chocolate. The other day I asked for the bill to pay for my Cusco. The waiter, seeing my card: “it might not work. Our terminal does not work today”.  “Try. I do not have cash”. He tries and it works. I leave the coffee shop with “after a Cusco, everything works” and a trace of smiling waiters’ faces.

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