Project Practitioners > Shift Your Mindset

Shift Your Mindset

By Chris Cook, PMP

READ TIME: 5 minutes


Give a (wo)man a fish, he/she eats for a day. Teach him/her to fish, he/she eats for a lifetime.

The mindset shift that comes from perspective is world-changing. As a project manager, giving answers all of the time is hurting your team, not helping. You think providing quick responses is moving the project along swiftly. In reality, you are bottlenecking the decision making of your team.

You are instilling a scarcity mindset. Only you have the answers, even if that is not the case. You hire talented individuals to do their jobs. Use that to your benefit. Give them autonomy instead of scarcity. Teach them to problem solve and reach out to make those decisions easier. Be the bridge in developing relationships.

Once you set your team members free, appreciate their contributions. Acting like no one else can do your job is a great way to perform all tasks. Again, a bottleneck effect on performance. While you may be better, you are on chapter 15 of your story, while the person you are teaching may be on chapter 2. You should be better, but that does not mean your team member cannot perform at your level someday.

Delegation is powerful and should be leaned into rather than pushed away. It may feel more comfortable to possess ideas, answers, skills, and so on. That control becomes difficult to relinquish. However, to be the most powerful project manager, delegation and sharing are required skills.

The limiting, selfish, and controlling mindset is a dangerous game. Your ego starts to drive decisions. Your recognition becomes of utmost importance. Your title is king. If that is the case, have fun leading no one anywhere.

Here are a few mindset shifts to consider:



Having an abundance mindset means there are enough resources and success to share with others. There is not one pie everyone must gain a slice of. Instead, more pies are baked every moment. Do not focus on someone else’s share of a pie or how many they have because you can have as many, if not more.

Cooperation and collaboration happen in an abundance setting. You do not feel obligated to hang on to information or answers. You express freely because others' success shines a light on you organically. That feeling is passed on from individual to individual. Word of mouth spreads that you are a great mentor and help with issues.

People gravitate towards you. When they are successful, they refer to you as a beacon of light. That recognition, while not sought after, is inevitable. Had you held on to your thoughts, ideas, and answers like they are generational secrets, your impact is not as great.

Sure, you are successful, but that success is not helping others reach that level. You are the crab in the bucket pulling the others down when they start to get ahead. Why not help that one out of the bucket so you can chain together, and everyone escapes?

If you are the best, why not produce other ‘bests?’ Instead of a team of one great project manager, have an entire squad of them.



Have an appreciation for everything across the board. You are living another day. You are managing a team of talented people for another 8 hours. The car you drive, the phone you navigate with, and the coffee you are drinking all are magnificent.

Taking things for granted only leads to increased expectations. As I wrote last week, increasing expectations develop less happiness. Once you start to appreciate the way things are rather than forcing things to be a certain way, you have the energy to deal with the now.

Project managers like when plans come together as they were established months before this moment. When the moment comes, how often do those pieces line up exactly? In some cases, it is a beautiful thing. Often, the match is not exact, and shifts need to happen to make it work.

Appreciating the process, not the result, makes these shifts understandable and manageable. Either you win, or you learn. That phrase is tossed around the jiu jitsu community because people are afraid of losing. They think it looks bad on them. There is no undefeated fighter. At some point, that person has a loss. Maybe not a professional lose, but personally, they feel a certain way.

Start to appreciate the process, your team, and yourself.



A classic phrase for children is ‘sharing is caring.’ For them, this refers to toys and other physical items. For adults, this phrase applies to much more. Share ideas, plans, formulas, templates, and so on.

Ideas spurn growth. Roots of an idea spread to create a strong foundation. What was once just an idea is now a movement. Keeping that idea to yourself is a lonely twig in the ground starving for water. Sharing that idea taps into many other ideas and spreads.

Share a story about yourself to a team member. Get to know someone more than just the person who installs the part on the widget. I went to a football game. I told that to a property manager. It ends up his family is from the same state I am. We had a bonding moment over college football — an out of nowhere connection that was established based on a quick story.

His name on the screen becomes more than the guy who sends me work orders and wants updates. It is now someone I have slightly bonded with and can establish a better relationship.



A change in mindset or perspective is essential every year. The new year is approaching quickly. It is a time of reflection and establishing new ideas. For most, this lasts a few weeks then back to business as usual. For a few, a real change occurs.

They see the sea of podcasts, books, blogs, art, and so on yet decide to try their hand. All successful ventures have not already been established. New avenues are created daily. Technology is expanding at an all-time high. An abundance mindset recognizes that. Scarcity shuts all that down.

Instead of sweating the small stuff, start to appreciate it. The dog waking you up way too early feels terrible at the time, but if you appreciate that dogs company and realize he or she will not be around forever, that barking is not so bad anymore.

Share and see what happens. It can be anything. Food, a pencil, your time, and whatever comes to your mind are shareable items. Sharing is typically additive, not a zero-sum game. You gain perspectives and ideas by sharing. You do not lose it once you share it. It is a gain of someone else, and that gain is normally reciprocated.

Shift your mindset now and realize the return on investment later.

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