Project Practitioners > Pull The Trigger

Pull The Trigger

By Chris Cook, PMP

READ TIME: 5 minutes


Is that voice inside your head stronger than ever? Telling you to start doing what you have a passion for. Even if project management is the profession, the industries vary widely. You can be a project manager for a cannabis grower in the Pacific Northwest or a road construction conglomerate.

These variances allow for a fluid career. Any industry you can think of needs a project manager. Listen to that voice inside your head. Of course, the questions of failure and what-ifs abound. The only true way of answering is to pull the trigger.

Is starting your own business scary? Hell yeah. But is it worse than the nightmare of going to the same office to see the same people and perform the same tasks? It is funny how working 40 hours for someone else does not compare to working 60 hours for yourself. Those 60 seem like a breeze when it is your name, logo, and signature on the paperwork.

Part of the journey is just jumping in the deep end and figuring out how to swim. The safety net of a 9-5 is always available, especially for the talented.


Prevention Mindset

Instead of promotion focus, which is if X gets done, then I look great, you adopt a prevention focus mindset. The prevention focus is to perform a task to keep what you already have. This refocusing keeps you from winning and losing in the eyes of the judge. Rather than it going great, so you win, you focus on the maintenance.

Say you start a business or a new division of an organization. Your decisions become prevention-based. How to keep the division in existence is the focus rather than how to make the division shine always. You are going to take your lumps. Trying to hit home runs every at-bat leads to striking out a majority of the time.

A prevention mindset keeps those strikeouts in perspective. You are not ‘losing’ because you struck out. You are trying new and creative ideas and learning throughout the process. You are not ‘winning’ because you hit a home run. The process is the same. Meanwhile, the results may differ.


Dismiss Your Feelings

Go full robot mode. You don’t feel like doing something? Cool, your feelings do not matter. Get some discipline and make the call or take the plunge. Feelings get in the way of great decisions being made. That phone call is a difficult one to let someone go. However, the addition by subtraction takes your team to the next level.

Your feelings procrastinate this decision and let it continue far too long. The robot inside you tells you the numbers do not add up, and this piece of the cog needs to be eliminated to run smoothly. Tap into the robot side more often.

Relying on the analytics and robotics is not the prescription either. There are intangibles that individuals have that cannot be accounted for on a spreadsheet. The production does not add up, but the leadership aspect of an individual makes up the difference. Each team member has a role. Some produce, some lead, some follow, and so on, but those roles each add up to a great team.


Use Uncle Mo

Momentum, otherwise known as Uncle Mo, is a fabulous thing. You get one small thing accomplished, and that leads to another. The snowball effect of momentum provides great benefit. You jump in the deep end of the home swimming pool. That leads to jumping off the diving board at the public pool. Years later, those experiences lead to cliff diving in an exotic location.

Those small, additive events lead to breakthroughs. Overnight successes are decades in the making. Use momentum to drum up interest and business. You lead a small team of three people. Next year, one person gets added to the team. The following year, the team doubles. Before you know it, you are the head of the department.

Celebrate those small wins. A day without rework is positive. A week without injury is positive. A month without absences is positive. Those weeks turn to months, which turn to years. You look back and do not even recognize the team that started this venture. That is the power of momentum.



No one cares because no one is watching like you think they are. You think people notice when all they are doing is going through their motions of life — concerned about their issues and their struggles. Your small little jumps into the deep end are going unnoticed. People start to realize what you are doing when they see the photo of you midair 30 feet up after taking the leap.

By then, it is too late. You are off and running. Whatever happens, happens. Your feelings no longer play a role. You are diving into the ocean whether you feel like it or not. The robot inside is alive and well. Your instincts are driving your actions. There is no stop button. You are mid-air, heart in your throat, and hitting the water whether you like it or not.

For most, that is a scary feeling. For some, that thrill is unlike any other, and they need more.

Feeling froggy? Leap.

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