READ TIME: 5 minutes
Back in June 2018, I wrote an article laying out ten characteristics every successful project manager possesses. As the questions and comments rolled in, I began wondering if I should dive a little deeper into each trait to show how to become better in each.
The result is a ten-week article series. The fourth characteristic I listed was “habitually commit.” Here is what I originally wrote:
“It is vital that you quit testing the water’s temperature and simply jump in.
This avoidance of analysis paralysis is important. The only way you will truly know is actually to do. All of the data in the world will not compare to the experience itself.
There are ways to jump in without committing all of your resources and going broke. Proof of concept should be emphasized. A new website costs thousands of dollars so why not start out getting some traction on free services first. You can try social media, message boards, and so on to test interest. Maybe create a landing page to collect emails. Once you have generated the interest, then dive into a different pool of commitment.”
Now, let’s figure out how to become better at habitually committing.
- The juice is worth the squeeze
Commit to something bigger than yourself.
When I am at a job I cannot stand, the loneliest time of the day is that moment I park the car, turn it off, and the only thing left to do is get out and walk into the office. That pivotal moment of the day is a big determination if the juice is worth the squeeze.
If it is not, that walk feels like the green mile. If it is, that walk is not even a factor in the day. In other words, the risk must be worth the reward. Getting thrown around from team to team only assisting others with their problems for minimum wage is nowhere near as tasty as having people assist you with your problems.
Understanding the reward systems of your team members makes this obvious. Some want money and only money. The more, the better. That is why they show up to work, to get paid. Others want freedom of paid time off or remote work.
Not only does the juice need to be worth the squeeze, but also the kind of juice matters. Everyone does not like apple juice. Sometimes grape or orange are preferred. Different types of rewards can make up for the lack of them.
Sweat equity, time, talent, money, equipment, and so on are all examples of investments. If you have skin in the game, your commitment level naturally increases. You care because the outcome represents you in some way.
Why do you think gambling is such a successful industry? It turns an ordinary game into something worth caring about because money is at stake. Ego and the rush of winning are the main drivers of gambling. These factors commit someone to every play or movement.
Your reputation is often at stake during projects. For many, that is investment enough. You are committed to the project because you signed your name on the dotted line. Nothing commits a person more to activity than signing a piece of paper. Whether you are buying a car or house or kicking off a project, that signature holds a lot of weight.
- Control your choices
If you give yourself an out, you are going to take it.
Committing is about sticking to the plan. If your plan consists of contingencies and buy out clauses, the odds of you sticking around diminish drastically. By not giving yourself that out, you have no choice but to stick it out.
Jiu jitsu was one of the hardest things to start doing. Working out is awful enough but having a sweaty 180 lb. person laying on top of you while you cannot breathe makes it infinitely worse. If I allowed myself an out, I never would have gone back. Because that was not an option, it was never a thought of mine.
Like showing up to work on time or seeing projects through to the end, you do not allow yourself that out. The moment showing up to work five minutes late is alright, five minutes become ten minutes quickly. Ten becomes fifteen, and before you know it, people are randomly showing up whenever they want. If showing up late is never an option, those future choices are not a concern.
- You know enough
There is always more to learn, and you learn more from action than consumption.
If you think you do not know enough to commit yourself to an activity or project, this reminder ensures your knowledge. You always know enough to start. This idea does not mean you are a master. It means you can start and begin committing.
Once you start taking action, your knowledge base grows, and your path to mastery begins. This action step to starting means you will learn more than sitting back and observing. Schedules look pretty on a computer screen or a boardroom table. The action is when the learning begins. A schedule more than likely looks like a plate of spaghetti when the project is complete.
Committing is super important when taking on anything new. The obstacles will not seem so daunting if you know the juice is worth the squeeze. Your journey becomes fun. The stress worth it. The goal must be grander than ordinary.
After jumping, there is no turning back. Do not give yourself that parachute as an out. If you do, you will pull the cord too quickly and never realize the full potential of the idea. You invested the time and energy. You might as well make it worth it.
Finally, you know enough to begin. If you wait for the full depth of knowledge to start, you will never start. No one becomes a master by standing around watching others. They jump in and figure it out from there. Like they say in jiu jitsu, a black belt is a white belt that never quit.