Taking the Leap, Scheduling the Exam

Sometimes your only available transportation is a leap of faith...I’ve been sweating the PMP credential for at least the past nine months, and it’s been something vaguely over the horizon for me since… approximately 2008. I have 15 years of project management experience, but I also have a lot of friends and colleagues who’ve taken the exam and warned of how difficult it is: A 4.5-hour test involving frequently semantic details about the esoterica of project management… from the perspective of a mythic entirely by-the-book, perfectly ethical, absolutely legal, morally upright, considerate, well-mannered, politically correct, and socially acceptable uber-mensch. I sat through the two-day capstone class Thursday and Friday this week and can highly recommend Carl Pritchard‘s approach to engaging with the material, but my brain still felt like mush at the end of it–even if I was somehow managing more right answers than wrong. I’ve heard the recommendation several times to Take The Exam as soon as possible after one of these reviews, so I’ve plunged in and scheduled my test date for THIS WEEK. We’ll see whether all this studying and stressing gets me across the finish line. It’s a leap of faith for me, although I have invested significant study time and expect to be able to at least replicate my practice exam results. (If  you want links to decent test prep question sets, pmstudy.com and oliverlehman.com are two I’ve used–aside from those Pritchard included in his course materials and what’s available in the Rita Mulcahy Exam Prep book.)

Cross your fingers that it’s sufficient and I only have to go through the exercise once… Several people I respect did not manage it in the first go.

This week also wraps up Round 2 of ROW80 for this year. I’m glad I had the PMP on my list of goals, because other than having committed to finishing the writer’s workshop, walking, and time nurturing my relationship with hubs, I’ve managed only a small fraction of the writing I had expected. That won’t change this week with the necessary last-minute cramming, either. Walking fell off a little this week, too, between the combination of major storms (no power yesterday for 2.5 hours didn’t help my study plan) and massive humidity. Still, we managed 5 for a total of 13.1 miles.

Hubs continues to feed my need for small distractions and large amounts of support. This week he forwarded 22 Aristotelian quotes, one of which reminded me that excellence is not an act but a habit. Not only that, but an introductory set of guidelines for Hua-Tou meditation, one of the most provocative of which (for me) was: What was my face before my parents were born? It puts a different perspective on pursuing professional credentials, and helps redirect my focus to the more timeless element of the pursuit… Oddly in alignment with Maslow’s hierarchy, which was something we discussed in class Friday: Self-actualization isn’t a state you can maintain on a daily basis. And it requires the risk of failure–even life-or-death failure–in order to reach that pinnacle. We joked that passing the PMP would be a moment of self-actualization at the time, and there’s more than a small grain of truth in our laughter. Similarly, on the list of 20 Alan Watts quotes translating eastern philosophy to something more accessible to westerners, his comment on permanence most likely being lifeless is yet another way of accepting current choices as a mere further step along a path.

Honoring hubs’ help, last week I found a hilarious fart story and sent him an email with the subject line “a whole new meaning to ‘I can TASTE it'”… which he thought was my blog title for the week. It’s still appropriate… on oh, so many levels. And worth re-reading for shits and giggles.


In spite of all these meditative (and silly) attempts at equilibrium, my dreams have been disturbing and my brain foggy, and I keep having to remind myself to relax my jaw. In the end, I’ll just be happy to be on the other side of the test hurdle. So, once again, I’ll refer you to my ROW80 buddies, who are also starting to wrap up their goal-reaching process for this round, and I’ll be back next week to report on whether I managed this feat.

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