Sunday, January 29, 2012

Mental Whirlwind

A couple of projects are waiting for takeoff, almost simultaneously in the runway, looking for the resources who will kick start the mission forward, oftentimes the same pilot driving many planes at the same time. For example, preparation for deployment in Canada, with a new system that needs to interface with my program, a different set of challenges, especially in testing; a significant milestone where all eyes is looking. At the same time, another project involving the biggest retailer in the world, another sensitive assignment with all judges focused on the team, raising blood pressure and stress levels. Unfortunately, I find myself at the center of the game, moving forward to prevent stasis, pushing issues to other parties to resolve, always in motion, feeling like a juggler with too many balls in the air, walking a tightrope like a fool, willing to risk a mistake without a safety net, strangely hoping that management will step in and save you from your recklessness.  The weather is not cooperating too, winter cold and rain making the mood dreary, feeling sick but still one pushes forward perhaps waiting for a collapse to end it all.

So one mind maps the situation, hoping to get clarity from visual tools, releasing the mind from confusion via drawings that make sense to the turmoil of thoughts, achieving some sort of clearness, realizing that it’s all about appearances, of playing a role and hiding a frantic mind, thinking that all will turn out well in the long run. The projects are a step up for me, meeting a new set of people and challenges, like a bar has been raised, working at a different level with people with a higher skill level than one usually works with, like being in the big leagues. It is a test - one thinks, a test of endurance and skill, a test of preparedness, a test to see if one can work in the big leagues, and one rushes along like ‘Sea Biscuit’ the legendary horse who sprints right out the gate, spectators wondering if he has the legs for the long run, still rushing forward, muscles rippling and hearts nearly bursting, running like it was a sprint, but the race really a marathon. Can one survive the grueling pace, is this an intentional tryout, to learn the limits of one’s endurance, one’s breaking point?

Fortunately, one thinks he is smart, an experienced multi-tasker, willing to juggle tasks with the aid of mind mapping  and the relevant experience to handle the tension; grace under pressure, exercise, tai chi and meditation via journaling, perhaps the key to keeping one’s sanity. Rudyard Kipling’s poem - an inspiration, to keep one’s head when all others are losing theirs, going home tired, perhaps slightly fatigue, drinking Red Bull or other such energy drinks, watching ‘The West Wing’  to understand the working of the White House and a team of extremely talented and passionate people, similar but to a lesser degree like the project team. Is this enough to survive, to be successful at work with conflicting or even overwhelming challenges, it’s all in the mind, working with other people to get the work done. Yesterday, one finds out that the powers that be disapproved a project member’s travel to Canada, the feeling of indignation sweeping over one, wondering if cost savings is really the reason, the team being broken into two, wondering if a different model of deployment can be used, using an outsourced company, but one soldiers along, accepting the new rules of the game.

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