The Man in the Glass

Working in project management is very frustrating. Have a diverifised team is even more so. There are so many competing interests and so many people that have their own agenda at times, that it seems many projects are destined to fail. At times like this and other instances I think of the team as a mirror. In that mirror I want to see the reflection of a person that is true to who I am and to the spirit of the project, accomplishing the right things. I want to share with the class the following poem by Dale Wimbrow.


 The Man in the Glass

When you get what you want in your struggle for self

And the world makes you king for a day,

Just go to the mirror and look at yourself,

And see what that man has to say.

For it isn’t your father or mother or wife,

Who judgment upon you must pass;

The fellow whose verdict counts most in your life

Is the one starring back from the glass.

He’s the fellow to please, never mind all the rest.

For he’s with you clear up to the end,

And you’ve passed the most dangerous, difficult test

If the man in the glass is your friend.

You may be like Jack Horner and “chisel” a plum,

And think you’re a wonderful guy,

But the man in the glass says you’re only a bum

If you can’t look him straight in the eye.

You may fool the whole world down the pathway of years.

And get pats on the back as you pass,

But your final reward will be the heartaches and tears

If you’ve cheated the man in the glass.

Dale Wimbrow (c) 1934



When I am dealing with difficult people, thinking about this poem and what it means really pulls in my inner strength and calm. Please share other poems or quotes or items that you feel resontates with you to give you strength to take on any challenge, or deal with any difficult situations/people working in you team. What advice would you offer others?

3 thoughts on “The Man in the Glass

  1. Great Poem! I can definitely see how this would bring you calm. I have come across some difficult personalities in my past experiences, especially when running events (two jobs ago and in my staff group). It is really hard not to let it get to you. Everyone has opinions regardless of how much actual work they have put in or what contributions they did or did not make, it can be maddening. As long as you are content and satisfied with your efforts then you can withstand the negativity, you also have to be working for your own passion and goals. Great reflection Fareed, I will have to keep this poem in mind.

  2. Yes, this is a great poem and one I may be using frequently from here out. I don’t have a particular poem I turn to, but I do have a phrase that my mentor will often repeat to me when he knows I’m having difficulty with a colleague. That phrase is simply: “Don’t confuse the issue with logic”. This has many applications for any type of frustration you may have with any person or any organization. It always clams me and helps me remove myself from the situation so I can think of the item from another perspective. It immediately snaps me out of whatever obsession I can’t draw focus from.

  3. What a wonderful poem! I will have to save and print this, because it is a great reminder of how we should aim to maintain an integrity and compassion for others in the same way we hope it will be given to us.

    I think working on diverse teams brings out the worst in people when things are going right, but it is the managers who contain their calmness at all times that truly stand out and keep the respect from their peers and team.

    What brings me, personally, an inner peace when dealing with difficult people and situations at work is my Christian beliefs. I think we have some great examples in Christianity of how we should aspire to live our daily lives, with a humble and compassionate demeanor at all times without exception.

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