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Get mad about your March project

Michelle LaBrosse
March 17, 2014

“No great mind has ever existed without a touch of madness” ― Aristotle

There is a lot of talk about madness in March. For one, March Madness refers to the infamous US college basketball tournament that takes over every media outlet. Upon further research, it turns out March Madness can also refer to the main breeding season of the European hare—and if you are familiar with the word ‘twitterpated’, I suspect it is the main breeding season for many other creatures as well.

With so much talk about madness, what do we really mean when we say ‘mad’? One of the more positive definitions of the word madness is of having ecstasy and enthusiasm. This positive connotation is the one I prefer when I think about madness. And with this definition in mind, madness is an excellent condition to have at times. Madness causes a complete devotion to a subject to the point of absurdity. Madness can consume you so that you can’t focus on anything else but what you are mad about.

Consider what makes you just mad about your life. For some, it is watching tall college basketball players running around in pursuit of the win. For others, it is accomplishing a challenging goal. How can madness help you live a fuller life?

Mad about a goal

Do you have a goal in your life that excites and energises you? The best goals to get mad about are the ones that are challenging and yet still achievable for you. This part about being achievable is important, because if you don’t feel like you can accomplish the goal, you may just feel overwhelmed rather than excited.

In life, even if you can find a goal that is challenging and attainable, it may not always be exciting. To foster excitement and motivation for your goal, envision how you will feel when that goal is complete. Imagine that the big, hairy, audacious goal that you just set out for yourself has just been completed. How do you feel? How do others feel about you?  What can you do now that your goal is complete?

The more you can envision yourself in the end point of achieving what it is that you set out to do, the easier it is to stay inspired and to see your goal through to completion.

Get focused

March is also ‘mad’ because it signifies the start of spring in the northern hemisphere and new beginnings. And with anything new and exciting, there can be anxiety and a sense of urgency in March that destroys all productivity in favour of sheer exuberance and anticipation for what lies around the corner.

Don’t let unproductive madness destroy your focus. To tread this fine line between motivation and procrastination, learn to focus your excitement about your goal into specific activities and hold yourself accountable.

To get focused, create SMART goals, goals that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely. Create a calendar on what exactly you will do every day to accomplish your BIG goal.

Controlled madness

There is freedom in boundaries. How can you create boundaries throughout your day to help you better accomplish your goals? Maybe your boundaries are in fact blocking out some of the madness that the world can throw at you. From social engagements to personal obligations, the outside world can ask a lot of us—and if you don’t set up boundaries for yourself, no one else will.

Be one with the madness. Get mad about a goal, turn that madness into a laser focus, and don’t let external madness keep you from reaching your potential.

Co-authored by Kristen Medina

Michelle LaBrosse
Michelle LaBrosse (PMP) is one of the Project Management Institute's (PMI) 25 Most Influential Women in Project Management in the World and the founder of Cheetah Learning, a former PMI Professional Development Provider of the Year. She boasts a background in engineering and is a graduate of the Harvard Business School’s Owner President Managers (OPM) program, as well as a prolific writer and educator, having authored Cheetah Negotiations, Cheetah Project Management, Cheetah Know How and Cheetah Exam Prep as well as numerous articles in publications worldwide.
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