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Overview

Critical Path

Critical Path

When people go through critical life changes such as the ones I have experienced and continue to experience, it can be a catastrophic series of events. Whether self inflicted or forced upon, emotion tends to become the driving force. After floundering in the fog during the infancy of my life change, I came to realize that if I was going to survive, I needed to move away from my reactive emotional behaviors to a more proactive, analytical decision-making process. I chose to use the critical path as my model.

The critical path is a marker used in a program evaluation and review technique chart (PERT.) The PERT chart is a tool used for project management. It is an analytical and methodological technique that plans, predicts, and controls the project process. The critical path in a PERT chart will mark the events that have control over the timing of the project and thus will determine the completion date. All other paths are inconsequential to a chronological series of events.

With the critical path as my theoretical guide, I produced my mission and vision statements, a strategic five-year plan, objectives and goal statements.

Today I can say that I have achieved 2 out of my 3 objectives. I am in a much better place than where I was 5 years ago. However, I have more work to do (that 3rd objective still eludes me) and a new strategic plan to create after evaluation.

Yes, I know this seems very cold and analytical but I have to say that the emotional influence was and is always there.  After all, I am dealing with my personal happiness here. In a way, knowing that I have a plan and goals allows me to sink down on occasion. It is always two steps forward and one step back and whether change is good or bad, it will always be painful.

All I know is that I have truly discovered and embraced that life is not about self worth and accumulation, but of connection with other beings as they cross my path. Our connection to one another is the gift of heaven and it is finite. Optimizing life to its fullest potential is the key (extract from my vision statement.)

Comments»

1. BigLittleWolf - October 31, 2009

I find this very refreshing. For those of us who are right and left brained, this makes great sense. However, life tosses many things into the mix that are beyond our control, and as you certainly know, every project plan includes slack, and needs periodic assessment and adjustment.

And let’s face it – some things cannot be planned. We can increase the probabilities of certain events occurring through logistics and personal factors we can control, but beyond that – don’t think so.

But I must say – I love the approach. I’m curious how much you’ve adjusted your plan and its requirements over the past few years. And, as time goes on, how you’ve adjusted your objectives.

2. jassnight - October 31, 2009

You are so right, external variables will always present themselves and wreak havoc with the best laid plans. The biggest wrench in my plan/strategy was the economic crisis that unfolded at the same time I finished my second masters degree. I had left a very stable position in order to take advantage of a full scholarship in the form of a graduate assistantship. I found myself at the beginning of an 8 month job search that ripped every bit of self-esteem right out of me. That took some re-programming on my part. The point is that creating a plan – a direction – is far better than roaming the jungle without a map. Yes, there will need to be flexibility and redirection from time to time. However, remember that it is really the journey that is important. I may not be at that destination yet, but I am far happier in just taking this journey than where I was before.

Thank you so much for your input!

3. TheWildMind - November 30, 2009

Wow!
I followed you home from my blog and I’m glad I did. Your overview, PERT chart application to your personal situation and figuring out the critical path is blowing my mind.

I’ve been kind of floundering and stymied after critical life changes I experienced almost three years ago. I suddenly found myself in a place where the terrain was new, unfamiliar and the possibilities almost endless. Figuring out what I wanted hasn’t been as easy as I would have thought. Figuring out which direction to head to get there, even more difficult.

I’m looking forward to learning more about this and reading more of your thoughts and experiences.

4. TheWildMind - March 25, 2010

Seems like it might be time for an update on the progress of your own Critical Path.


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