3 Tips to Embrace Imperfections and Bounce Back from Mistakes

by Jennifer Twardowski

“There is a kind of beauty in imperfection.” ~Conrad Hall

Back when I was a teenager, I was kind of a perfectionist. Or, well, I wasn’t really a perfectionist—I was actually a “fake” perfectionist.

Allow me to explain: I put on the perfectionist persona. I acted and behaved in a certain way so that everyone (including both my fellow classmates and teachers) thought and believed that I was the perfect student when I wasn’t.

Everybody thought I was the student who got straight A’s, was a bookworm, was involved in every extracurricular activity that ever existed, never got in trouble in school for anything ever, and was an overall stellar student.

Though some of those things were kind of true—I mean, I was involved in a lot of activities and I never did get a detention ever—I was very far from a stellar student.

I didn’t get A’s in middle and high school; I mostly got C’s. I certainly wasn’t a bookworm; I hated reading all this fiction stuff I was told to write book reports on.

The truth of it all was that I was really stellar at one thing: faking my own perfection. I had mastered the skill of being seen as the perfect, most stellar student in order to hide my own shortcomings.  

I was trying to hide that I wasn’t so great at studying and getting good grades. I was trying to hide that I did, in fact, get in trouble every so often.

I was trying to hide my own imperfections. I was terrified that the world would see that I had weaknesses and inner wounds. I feared that others would know that there were tasks that I was not good at or just flat-out could not do.

To this day, the fear of others seeing my imperfections is still an issue to some extent. Like the fear of judgement that comes up whenever I make a typo in an article or whenever I give a presentation and accidentally mispronounce a word.

My inner critic still likes to creep in and try to debilitate me from moving forward.

Whether we are a child trying to avoid bad grades or an adult who is trying to write the perfect book, we are all struggling with accepting our own imperfections.

We are all on the journey of hindering the voice of our inner critic and allowing our true selves (imperfections and all) to be seen.

happy

Here are three ways that can help you create a habit of accepting your own imperfections:

1. Focus on utilizing your strengths, not your weaknesses. 

Many of us grew up societies where we were told we have to really focus on strengthening our weaknesses. If we weren’t great at math, then we got the idea that we needed to spend more of our time and energy strengthening our abilities in math.

Though there are benefits to strengthening our weaknesses, it can really cause a blow to our self-esteem and motivation to focus on them. We can develop the idea that just because we are not good at this one thing, then we are a failure.

So ask yourself: What things am I really good at? Is it music? Languages? Writing? Speaking? Physics? Identify what things come natural to you and make it a goal to really enhance your gifts so you can be the best that you can be.

2. When you mess up, say to yourself, “I am beautiful!” Then write down all the ways that you are beautiful.

Let’s get real here: Whether you are doing something that is your strength or your weakness, at some point or another you are going to mess up.

The problem, however, is that when we do mess up, many of us shut down. We stop trying, and our inner critic starts telling us how we are not good enough.

Next time you mess up when you’re doing something, say out loud, “I am beautiful!” Then get out a sheet of paper and write down ways that you are beautiful. What are the good things that you do for others? What are the amazingly beautiful qualities that you have?

To enhance this even more, make it a habit to do this same thing when someone else messes up.  See someone trip over their words during a speech? Remind yourself that they are beautiful, and why. See someone make a typo? Remind yourself that they are beautiful, and then write down a quality that they possess that makes them so beautiful.

We are all connected, so by sending other people love when they expose their own imperfections, we will give ourselves space to heal as well.

3. When you mess up, just keep going.

For many of us, the problem is that when we mess up, we just stop working. We get so caught up in the belief of “I am not good enough” that we stop ourselves from moving forward.

I struggled with this constantly when I took my very first watercolor painting class two years ago while I was living in Korea. Over and over again I found myself making a small error, getting all worked up about it, shutting down, and basically just wanting my art teacher to do it for me.

Over time I gradually learned to just let it go and keep going. I ultimately developed and strengthened my skills by setting the intention to keep going regardless of any errors I made along the way.

So, whenever you do mess up, whether that be using the wrong brush for that one stroke, saying the wrong thing, losing something important, or tripping over your own two feet, just brush it off and keep on going.

Breaking down, stopping, and worrying about it doesn’t allow us heal and transform. Accepting the mistake and continuing to act does!

Let Go of Control: How to Learn the Art of Surrender

by Dr. Amy Johnson

“If we are facing in the right direction, all we have to do is keep on walking.” ~Proverb

I’ve noticed that things go much more smoothly when I give up control—when I allow them to happen instead of making them happen. Unfortunately, I’m terrible at this.

Although I’m much better than I used to be, I’m a bit of a control freak. I often use perfectly good energy trying to plan, predict, and prevent things that I cannot possibly plan, predict, or prevent.

For example, I wonder if my baby is going to get a proper nap when we travel and, if not, just how crabby she might be. I think through her travel and napping patterns, attempting to figure out exactly what we’re up against, as if her sleep is something I can control.

I also think about the weather a lot when out-of-town guests are visiting. I spend my already-limited time planning for every possible weather/mood combination when considering our itinerary.

Like most humans I know, I spend a lot of time in business that’s not mine. The baby’s business, my friends’ business, Mother Nature’s business.

As a recovering control freak, there are three things I know for sure about trying to control things:

1. We try to control things because of what we think will happen if we don’t.

In other words, control is rooted in fear.

2. Control is also a result of being attached to a specific outcome—an outcome we’re sure is best for us, as if we always know what’s best.

When we trust that we’re okay no matter what circumstances come our way, we don’t need to micro-manage the universe. We let go. And we open ourselves to all sorts of wonderful possibilities that aren’t there when we’re attached to one “right” path.

3. The energy of surrender accomplishes much more than the energy of control.

I suspect it’s slightly different for everyone, but here’s what ‘control mode’ looks and feels like for me:  My vision gets very narrow and focused, my breath is shallow, adrenaline is pumping and my heart rate increases.

My mind shifts from topic to topic and from past to future very quickly, and I have little concentration, poor memory, and almost no present-moment awareness.

In surrender mode, I’m calm, peaceful. Breathing deeply, present in the moment. I see clearly and my vision extends out around me, allowing me to (literally) see the bigger picture.

So the great irony is that attempting to control things actually feels less in control. When I’m micro-managing and obsessing over details, I know I’m in my own way.

Young woman drinking coffee and reading book sitting indoor in u

The Art of Surrender

Surrender literally means to stop fighting. Stop fighting with yourself. Stop fighting the universe and the natural flow of things. Stop resisting and pushing against reality.

Surrender = Complete acceptance of what is + Faith that all is well, even without my input.

It’s not about inaction. It’s about taking action from that that place of surrender energy.

If letting go of control and surrendering not only feel better, but actually produce better results, how do we do that?

Sometimes it’s as easy as noticing that you’re in control mode and choosing to let go—consciously and deliberately shifting into surrender energy.

For example, when I become aware that I’m in control mode, I imagine that I’m in a small canoe paddling upstream, against the current. It’s hard. It’s a fight. That’s what control mode feels like to me.

When I choose to let go and surrender, I visualize the boat turning around, me dropping the oars, and floating downstream.

I’m being gently pulled, no effort necessary on my part. Simply breathing and saying, “Let go of the oars” is usually enough to get me there.

Sometimes it’s a little harder to make the shift from control to surrender. Here are a few questions that can help:

1. What am I afraid will happen if I let go of control?

When you pinpoint the fear, question its validity. Ask yourself, Is it true? If you’re afraid the night will be ruined if your boyfriend doesn’t remember to pick up eggplant (and you’ve already reminded him 14 times), question that assumption.

Can you really know the night would be ruined without the eggplant? And if it would be ruined (by your definition, anyway), what’s so bad about that?

2. Find out whose business you’re in.

Your business is the realm of things that you can directly influence. Are you there? Or are you in someone else’s business? When we’re trying to control things outside of our own business, it’s not going to go well.

3. Consider this: Would letting go feel like freedom?

It almost always would. Let that feeling of freedom guide you toward loosening your grip.

A Friendly Universe

Einstein said, “The most important decision we make is whether we believe we live in a friendly or hostile universe.”

I believe in a friendly universe.

Being receptive and allowing things to happen is a skill that can be practiced and improved upon. It helps to believe in a friendly universe—one that is supporting you at every turn so that you don’t have to worry yourself over the details.

We can always choose to do things the easy way or the hard way. We can muscle through, or we can let go of the oars and let the current carry us downstream.

There is a peaceful, yet focused energy that accompanies holding the intention of what I want, but not forcing myself to do it. That energy is magic. I’m still a work in progress, but I’m allowing it to become a habit instead of making it a habit.

25 Little Changes to Make the Day More Exciting

by Lori Deschene

“All appears to change when we change.” -Henri-Frédéric Amiel

I admit it, I’m a change addict. I love new cities, apartments, jobs, and friends. This can be both a strength and a weakness.

On the one hand, I never shy away from a new experience or opportunity. On the other hand, it takes a strong effort for me to stick with anything once the novelty wears off.

So today I started thinking about all the ways I can make a day exciting without changing any of the big things that need to stay constant if I’m to make progress on my larger goals. Here’s what I’ve come up with:

exciting

1. Start the day with a blank piece of paper and the question: “What if today were my last?”

Write down what you’d do differently and then try to do at least five of those things.

2. Wear something much bolder than you usually do.

This gives people the opportunity to see you in a new light, which means they may interact with you differently.

3. Take a different path when you walk to work.

Maybe you’ll pass a restaurant you’d like to try sometime or a gym that’s offering free classes.

4. If you drive, park your car a mile away and take the bus the rest of the way.

I did this one time and met a man on the bus who I dated for a month. Well worth the detour!

5. If you take public transportation for your commute, make the time meditative or educational.

Practice deep breathing, listen to soothing music, or download an audio book for the ride.

6. Bring your camera and take pictures of things that catch your eye throughout the day.

You’ll notice a lot more than you usually do—and new people will likely talk to you to figure out what you’re doing.

7. Change your workspace.

Bring new pictures and candles, or move your desk if you’re able. Rearranging furniture always makes my space more exciting.

8. Start collecting something you often see throughout the day.

It will make the whole day more interesting if you have your eyes peeled for rare coins, specific pens, and odd food labels.

9. Make it a goal to talk to five people you don’t know.

And I mean real conversations. Ask them what they do on the weekends, what their favorite memory is, and whether or not they like spam. (Okay, the last one is less interesting, but I think it says a lot about you if you eat unidentifiable lunch meat.)

10. Commit to complimenting everyone you encounter on something.

Sometimes it will be easy; sometimes it will be challenging. Every time it will brighten someone’s day and fill you with joy.

11. Take a class during your lunch break.

Head to the gym, learn to do pottery, start guitar lessons. You can always eat a sandwich at your desk later.

12. Eat lunch at a different time than usual.

You never know what you’re missing in the office when you head out at the same time every day.

13. Make lunch and bring enough for two people.

Then offer some to someone in your office.

14. Give yourself a challenge.

Maybe it’s to find a lower car insurance rate or talk to someone you secretly admire. I get a big kick out of little victories like these.

15. Read about a topic that’s completely new and interesting to you.

Then start a conversation about it. It’s always fun to share a new passion, especially if the other person gets excited, too.

16. Learn ten new words from a thesaurus and then use them all twice during the day.

Maybe I’m just a dork but I get excited about stretching my vocabulary!

17. Practice mindfulness during a boring activity.

In Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh’s book The Miracle of Mindfulness, he explains how he stays fully present when washing the dishes—and enjoys it. Anything can be interesting if you get curious about how it works.

18. Count risks.

See how many (smart) risks you can take throughout the day, like accepting a difficult assignment or committing to something you’ve never done before.

19. Say yes to everything.

In the movie Yes Man, Jim Carrey said yes to absolutely everything, even an intimate moment with someone’s grandma. I’m not suggesting you go to that extreme, but you’ll likely have an exciting day if you say yes to most things you’re asked.

20. Commit random acts of kindness.

You’ll get a warm fuzzy feeling and you’ll create some good karma for yourself. You never know when that kindness will come back to you and open up your world.

21. Bet on things.

Once on The Office everyone bet on stupid things, like how long it would take Kelly to explain Netflix to Ryan, or whether Creed would notice they replaced his apple with a potato. If you’re pulling an all-nighter, this could be a fun way to hold onto your sanity.

22. Set up a profile on a dating site (if you’re single).

I was on Match.com for a while—don’t laugh—and I have to admit I kind of watched my email like a kid counting down ‘til Christmas.

23. Ask someone to come out to play.

Kids are always willing to jump around, get messy, and give get their blood pumping. You still have legs and endorphins—tap into that. Play basketball after work, go bike riding, or spend some time on the swings.

24. Learn something new during all your routine activities.

When you buy coffee, ask the barista how long the shop has been there. When you make copies, pay attention to how the machine works.

25. Swap apartments with a friend for a night.

Assuming you trust each other, why not? A change of scenery can work wonders; and it’s always fun to see how someone else lives.

I once read that intelligent people are never bored because they’re always curious. You’re smart—start exploring! If you keep your mind engaged and fresh during your downtime, you’ll have far more passion and focus when it’s time to get productive. And equally important, you’ll enjoy more of the minutes that would otherwise just pass by.

Do Affirmations Work? Yes, If You Know the Rules!

by Evelyn Jacob

“Do affirmations work?” is a very common question that all personal development teachers hear over and over. The short answer is, YES.

Think about it. All day long, you are talking to yourself. Whether what you say is positive and empowering or negative and disempowering, the point is, YOU LISTEN, you believe yourself, and you act on what you tell yourself. Therefore, what you tell yourself over and over again, with feeling, does imprint in your subconscious mind and it does influence your behavior.

For example, if all your life you’ve been telling yourself, “I’m no good at art. I can’t draw even the simplest thing!” then that is a command. With repetition you start to believe it, and so anytime you’re asked to draw something, you hesitate or refuse.

So based on all the negative self-talk you’ve been subjecting yourself to, with negative results, it stands to reason that if you shift your self-talk toward the positive end of the spectrum, your behavior and your results will change for the better.

Knowing that you DO listen to yourself, and follow through on your self-commands, here are some rules for saying the right affirmations in the right way, that will make them effective in creating a better life:

First, eliminate the word “affirmations” from your vocabulary if you’ve tried saying affirmations in the past and they didn’t work. You don’t want the negative connotation tainting what you are telling yourself. Let’s call it “self-talk” or “commands.” If you don’t mind the word, go ahead and use it.

Be in a happy frame of mind - exercise helps!And now, the rules:

1. Be in a relaxed and happy frame of mind. That’s not always possible, for example if you’re buried in debt, stressed out about it, and you want to change your financial situation. But you can do it. Exercise is one way to snap out of a negative mindset so that you can use positive feelings to drive your self-talk. If you’re stressed, your self-talk creates negative feelings and these in turn cause you to think more negative thoughts. Flip that switch! Go for a run, bike ride, walk, do some yoga, dance, hit the racquetball around, play some hoops… whatever – get those endorphins coursing through your body and then when you’re feeling great, do your self-talk (even during exercise, if you want!).

2. Focus only – emphasis on ONLY – on what you want. That is, think about the end goal and how incredibly fabulous you feel when you think about that goal. Never mention the current situation because every single mention or thought about it, only gives it that much more importance. Your subconscious mind’s job is to match your outer reality to your inner reality so don’t think about what you want to get away from… think only about what you want.

3. Feel it. In fact, you’re going to use these positive feelings to drive the idea “home” into your subconscious. The secret key is to be happy, and at the same time talk about how great you feel when you think about your goal. For example, “I love how I feel when I think about having a successful web design business!” or “I feel so good when I imagine helping women with career and business coaching!” or “I feel like I’m soaring, I’m so happy thinking about traveling the world as a photojournalist!”

Using feelings is the secret to moving past “what is” in your physical reality and allowing yourself to believe the “what is” that lies in your imagination… the “what is” that is already real in your mind and just needs to be brought into your physical reality.

The reason using feelings works because your subconscious mind has filters in place that disallow conflicting ideas to enter. That’s why affirmations like, “I am a successful artist” will work eventually, but it takes a LOT longer because your mind creates resistance to this idea based on what it already knows. However, the mind does not filter out feelings. So use the feelings as a carrier. It’s a sneaky way to imprint cool new ideas and beliefs into your subconscious mind!

4. Never mind “how.” That’s your subconscious mind’s job, so just let it do its work. Say your affirmations in the present tense, and let that idea “ferment” in your mind and solutions will come forth. You can always add, “or better” to any affirmation to open yourself up for a better alternative!

5. Never put timelines on your affirmations! Who’s to say it won’t happen sooner than you think? The fact is, unless your beliefs are in line with what you want, you won’t receive what you want. So be patient and work on those beliefs. Once they’re aligned vibrationally, manifestation can be quite spontaneous.

6. Practice daily. It took time to create self-defeating mental habits, so it will take time to create empowering mental habits – anywhere from 21 to 90 days to imprint a new belief. Do not quit before saying an affirmation feels natural and comfortable; it’s as natural to think this new thought as it is to wear your favorite pair of jeans. Embody your command with feelings, visualization and repetition.

7. Be happy now. Never wait until your desire manifests to be happy. That’s not how it works. You can’t attract happiness with unhappiness. The Law of Attraction only attracts what you vibrate. So be happy now! Be grateful for what is in your life right now, put a smile on your face and take that great feeling with you all day long.

8. Finally, take your wish for granted. That means, quit worrying about whether you’ll get it. Make it as part of your everyday existence as the dishes in your kitchen, the clothes in your closet, the furniture you sit on… make your desire an “already mine” feeling. Just expect it to come to you. If you’ve been faithful in saying your affirmations consistently, persistently and with feeling, those commands will NOT be ignored and whatever experience, thing or situation you want in your life, will manifest.

Four Techniques to Manage Your Schedule

You will never be a successful project manager if you do not know how to build and manage a schedule. The schedule may be the most fundamental tool for managing projects. Here are four techniques to help you take full advantage of the project schedule.  

schedule

  1. The remainder of the schedule is the most important

The schedule should represent your best-guess at any particular point in time on how to complete the remaining work. The more complex your project is, the more change is going to be required in your “best guess” over time. The project manager must evaluate the schedule on an ongoing basis and determine the current state of the project. Based on the current state of the project, and your current understanding of the work remaining, you need to re-plot a course that will allow the work to be completed within the original budget and deadline.

  1. Update the schedule weekly

For most projects, the schedule will need to be reviewed on a weekly basis. During this review, the project manager updates the schedule with the current state of work that is completed and in-progress. The remaining work should be evaluated to see if the project will be completed within the deadline. If it can, you are in good shape. If it cannot, the project manager must implement corrective action.

  1. Proactively manage schedule variances

The project manager may be in a position of having to constantly utilize his experience and creativity to get the project completed within expectations. One week your project many be on track. The next week, you may have work assignments that are late and issues that have surfaced. If you are good at it, managing the schedule can be one of the more challenging and rewarding aspects of project management. If you do not relish the detailed work that is required, you may find it much more difficult to be successful as a project manager.

  1. Validate who can update the schedule

On most projects the project manager is the only one that is allowed to update the schedule. However, there are other options, especially for larger projects. The project manager may ask each team member to update the schedule with actual hours worked, remaining hours and proposed end date. For very large projects, it is also common for one or more people to be assigned to update the schedule on behalf of the project manager. These people are sometimes called project administrators, project coordinators or project schedulers. They can get information from team members and update current status and actual hours worked. They bring this all to the project manager for final analysis and evaluation.

Five Strategies for the Responding to Risks

Identifying risks is only the start of the risk management process. If you identify a risk you are obligated to create a risk plan to respond to the risk. You should create a risk response for all “high” risks. There are a number of general options that the project manager should consider for responses.

Risk

1)      Leave it. In this approach, the project manager looks at a high risk and decides to do nothing. This can happen for one of two reasons.

a)      First, the project manager may feel that cost and effort of managing the risk is more than the impact of the risk event itself. In this case you would rather deal with the costs of the risk occurring that the cost of trying to manage the risk.

b)      Second, there may not be any reasonable and practical activities available to manage the risk. For instance, it is possible that there is a risk of your sponsor leaving and a new sponsor canceling the project. However, you may not be in a position to do much about it as long as the current sponsor is in place, and you may just need to leave it and see how events play out.

2)      Monitor the risk. In this case, the project manager does not proactively manage the risk, but monitors it to see whether it is more or less likely to occur as time goes on. If it looks more likely to occur later in the project, the team must formulate a different response at a later time. This is a good approach if you have identified a risk that should be managed, but the risk event is far off in the future.

3)      Avoid the risk. Avoiding the risk means that the condition that is causing the problem is eliminated. For example, if you find that a part of the project has high risk associated with it, that whole part of the project can be eliminated. The risks associated with a particular vendor, for instance, might be avoided if another vendor is used instead. This is a very effective way to eliminate risks but obviously can be used only in certain unique circumstances.

4)      Move the risk. In some instances, the responsibility for managing a risk can be removed from the project by assigning the risk to another entity or third party. For instance, you may identify a risk associated with a new technology. Outsourcing the function to a third party might eliminate that risk for the project team. The risk event is still there, but now some other entity is dealing with it.

5)      Mitigate the risk. In most cases, this is the approach to take. Mitigating the risk means that you put in place a set of proactive steps to minimize the likelihood that the risk will occur. If possible you could eliminate the risk by minimizing the likelihood down to zero percent. Another purpose of mitigation is to ensure that if the risk occurs, the negative impact of the risk is minimized. In many cases it may not be possible to totally eliminate a risk event, but given that you have time to prepare, you should be able to minimize the probability of the event occurring, or minimize the impact to the project if the risk event does occur.

These are typical risk responses for negative risks. You can first identify one or more risk strategies and then put the detailed activities in place to effectively manage the risk.

Six Options When Managing Projects With Unrealistic Deadlines

If you are a project manager dealing with what you perceive to be an unrealistic deadline, the first thing you will want to do is talk to your sponsor to see if there are any business factors that are driving the deadline. For example, there may be some event occurring that this project needs to support. On the other hand, sometimes managers set arbitrary end-dates just to provide what they consider to be stretch objectives. You may find that by better understanding the reason for the deadline, you may have an easier time getting the team motivated to achieve it.

deadlines

Once you understand the cause for the deadline date, there are project management techniques that can be utilized to increase the chances of success.

1)      Increase resources.

If you find that the deadline is not in alignment with your resources, talk to your manager about increasing the resources that are available for the project. Adding resources to the project may increase the cost, but may allow you to hit the deadline. If the deadline is most important this may be a viable option.

2)      Reduce scope.

Talk to your sponsor about reducing the project scope. See if there are features and functionality that he can live without for now so that you can deliver the project within the deadline specified.

3)      Identify and manage the deadline as a project risk.

Utilizing risk management will help better manage expectations early in the project and also be a way to gather input and ideas for ways that you might be able to hit the deadline.

4)      Manage scope with zero tolerance.

On many projects, you start with an aggressive delivery date, and then the situation gets worse because you do not effectively manage scope. It is absolutely critical that you manage scope effectively and do not increase scope without an appropriate increase in budget and timeline.

5)      Manage the schedule aggressively.

In many projects, you might get a little behind but have confidence that you can make up the time later. However, when you start a project with the deadline at risk, be sure to manage the schedule diligently. You have no margin for error. As you monitor the schedule, treat missed deadlines as problems and work hard to solve the reasons behind the slippage.

6)      Look for process improvement opportunities.

Lastly, take a hard look at your schedule and your approach for executing the project. Talk to your team, clients, and manager about any ideas they may have for making the project go faster. This will get everyone thinking about being part of a solution.

Although it appears that you are being held accountable for events and circumstances that are not within your control, you do have control over the processes you use to manage the project. Use them proactively and wisely.

 

Was Your Project Successful – Within Tolerances?

Estimating the time and cost is an important part of project planning. If you estimate a project to cost $230,000, is your project a failure if the actual cost is $230,500? You missed your budget, right? Yes, but this gets into the concept of tolerances. If you delivered within $500 on a $230,000 budget, you should be lifted on your manager’s shoulder and paraded around the company as a hero.
Your company needs to establish the tolerance level that they consider to be reasonable for projects. For example, the tolerance level may be -10% to +10%. That is, if you deliver the project 10% over budget, it is still considered a success. For the $230,000 project, that means you could have gone overbudget by $23,000 and still have been considered successful.
Normally there is some room for tolerances with your deadline as well. In most cases, you can deliver a little late and still be considered successful. Of course, not all projects have that flexibility. Some projects do have a fixed end date that cannot be moved. But many projects have some flexibility.

project success

Declaring Success From a Project Perspective

Once you understand your tolerances (if any), you can start to evaluate success from a project perspective. Generally, the project team members can declare success if:
1) The project is delivered within the estimated cost, plus or minus the tolerance.
2) The project was delivered within its deadline, plus or minus the tolerance.
3) All of the major deliverables were completed. (Some minor ones, or minor functionality, might not be delivered.)
4) The overall quality is acceptable. (It does not have to be perfect.)
Other factors may be important for specific projects. For instance in a construction project, safety might be a key success component.

Declaring Success from a Company Perspective

From a company perspective, success is also based on whether the company received the business value that was promised. There are many examples of projects that were completed successfully, yet are not delivering the value promised. It is possible that the return on investment calculations were faulty, or the marketplace was misjudged by the sponsor. We believe that success against the project business value, as defined in the Business Case, is ultimately the responsibility of the sponsor – not the project team.

Utopia on Earth. Is it possible?

Would you like to live in a better world? Mankind has spent millennia looking for a perfect society—a utopia—where all can live in peace and happiness. Why has it always gone wrong? Will we ever have utopia on this earth?

utopia

A utopia is a community or society possessing highly desirable or perfect qualities. The word was coined by Sir Thomas More in Greek for his 1516 book Utopia, describing a fictional island society in the Atlantic Ocean. The term has been used to describe both intentional communities that attempt to create an ideal society, and imagined societies portrayed in fiction. It has spawned other concepts, most prominently dystopia.

The word utopia was coined in Greek by Sir Thomas More for his 1516 book Utopia, describing a fictional island society in the Atlantic Ocean. The word comes from the Greek: οὐ (“not”) and τόπος (“place”) and means “no place”. The English homophone eutopia, derived from the Greek εὖ (“good” or “well”) and τόπος (“place”), means “good place”. This, because of the identical pronunciation of “utopia” and “eutopia”, gives rise to a double meaning.

On which ground shall we start an utopian view of paradise on earth? Shall we erase our experiences as human beings or shall we preserve them as the pillars of this utopian dream?

I wish to say that life is… imperfect. Therefore, we can only approach the topic from a human point of view. Desire is the cause of imperfection and utopia is the fulfilment or transmutation of this desire to unify, to harmonize…

Less desire, then less craving, then less ego and selfishness….it is always difficult to eliminate desire. Desire create ambition and ambition create action for growth. This make it hard…to progress and evolved, desire is needed. Can humanity still achieve utopia alongside with technological and economic progress?

For thousands of years, philosophers have debated: What would a perfect world be like? How would it come about? Yet, in spite of all their ideas and efforts, human beings have not been able to create a perfect world. Why not? Has Utopia failed—or is it even possible?

Seven Steps to Manage Stakeholder Expectations

You performed an initial stakeholder analysis when you defined and chartered the project. The stakeholder analysis should also be updated periodically to ensure that the stakeholders are being engaged successfully. If the stakeholders are not being engaged as you wished, you should update or change your activities. It is possible that you will also discover new stakeholders as the project progresses, and they should be accounted for in this process as well.

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  1. Establish an agreement. This is probably the most overlooked yet most obvious piece. It is difficult or impossible to manage stakeholder expectations if you do not have some agreement to begin with. You need to agree on what the expectations are. 
  2. Manage change. Once an agreement has been reached, changes should be managed through the change management process. This ensures that the stakeholder approves all changes and helps keep expectations in line.
  3. Communicate proactively. When the agreement has been reached, continue to communicate proactively through the status reporting process or as part of a broader Communication Management Plan – especially if there are any problems meeting the expectations. This helps the stakeholder keep up-to-date on progress, issues, risks, etc. The main motivation is to avoid surprises.
  4. Periodically assess performance. The project manager should be assessing expectations on an ongoing basis. If it looks unlikely that you will meet expectations, immediate steps should be taken to get back on track.
  5. Deliver against the expectations. Again, this may seem obvious. However, once an agreement has been put into place, you need to make sure that you deliver as expected. One of the weaknesses on the part of many people is that they do not fulfill their agreed-upon expectations, and they do not communicate with the stakeholder to inform them of the status and acknowledge the missed expectation.
  6. Reset expectations if necessary. If you determine that the original agreement cannot be satisfied, the agreement should be re-negotiated. This process includes gathering the facts surrounding the inability to meet the original agreement. In addition, alternative courses of action should be formulated to determine how to perform as closely to the original agreement as possible in a way that will satisfy both parties. Once a modified agreement has been reached, reset the expectations and begin the work necessary to meet the requirements of the new agreement.
  7. Complete the agreement. Review the completed work with the stakeholder to ensure that the terms of the agreement have been fully met. If not, negotiate what will be required to fulfill the agreement.

The project manager should ensure that the stakeholders are involved in the project and that the expectations of the stakeholders and project manager are always aligned. Then manage the expectations and achieve the commitments.

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