Appreciating the Little Things

Leading by example is one of the most positive ways to influence people and is the reason I avoid conversations about New Year’s resolutions.  I just “get on with it”, appreciating when others do too.  There are a number of strategies we can use to meet this end each day, week, month, and year.  I have found more than a few strategies that have worked.

A fail safe strategy is to reflect on the past.  Lessons from 2015 are one way to see what worked well and what we will do differently.

Another strategy is to use the right tools. In mining, we can’t extract and refine ore without the proper equipment; nor can we deliver projects well without effective tools. A fantastic tool for me personally in 2015 was guided meditation.  One of the clearest benefits of meditation is that it helps “quiet the mind”. In a down market, like we had in the 2015 mining sector, it would have been easy to lose our heads while there was chaos going on all around…..

Projects being cancelled, mines closing, retrenchments and billions after billions being written off the books.

My tool of choice is Headspace.  This smart phone app offers guided meditations that I found useful for learning to meditate properly. While the whole concept may sound “wooly” coming from a Project Management Professional, Headspace has had over 4 million downloads.  Apparently, the developers have unearthed a gold mine that will enrich as many minds.

The second most valuable tool I found in 2015 was the The Five Minute Journal. This little book (also available as an app) is a short simple way to remind yourself where to focus in your life.  On a daily basis, there are prompts to prioritize what is important for that day.  There is also a guided section to appreciate things in our lives.  One of the three items to appreciate needs to be something small, yet important, which brings me to my tool of choice in 2015.

The smallest and most significant tool I am appreciating from 2015 is ear plugs.  While this may sound funny or trite, these small cheap ear plugs were very effective in so many ways.  They reduced “the noise”. They helped me focus thoughts when my project teams were running at full speed.  As I was reminded over the holidays, the ear plugs also helped me sleep better because I forgot to wear them the same night my kids decided to be loud. Ear plugs also helped organize my mind and of course they protected my hearing.

While I am enjoying being in the moment thanks to meditation, I am also looking forward to 2016; to see if I can dig up anything more valuable than ear plugs.

Written by John F. Gravel