In the last article, we examine how to apply the three things you can control to the Freedom V. Now we’re going to take a step back and see how you can utilize those three things along the Project Mood Curve. 

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As a reminder, the three things you can control are:

  1. Your actions and choices
  2. Your attitude and perspective
  3. Whom you trust. 

The Project Mood Curve is a mental model that helps you visualize the trajectory of any human endeavor. Inevitably, with any project, you will come to a point where you feel like giving up: what we call the Pit. Knowing that the Pit will come can help get you past it and to a place where you can thrive. 

Forming 

At the beginning of a project, you are in the Forming stage. Here, you are excited about your endeavor and are dreaming about how it will go. 

In this stage, don’t feel like you have to have everything lined up perfectly and control how the rest of the project will go. You cannot control the future; you can only control your actions and choices in the moment. You can choose good actions that will set you up for success and choose to trust the right people to join you on your team. But you must keep your focus on the present moment instead of worrying about what is ahead. 

Storming

Next comes the Storming stage where you encounter road blocks that get in the way of achieving your goals. It’s easier to maintain a positive perspective in the Forming stage, but remember that you can choose to control your attitude in the Storming stage as well. The Storming stage is a place of reckoning where you have to decide if the project is worth overcoming the inertia to continue, or if it would be better to turn back and start over. But starting over does not mean that you bypass the Pit. It only delays having to go through it again on the next project. 

Sometimes you get stuck in the Pit because of external forces that work against the project or from struggles internally on the team. The way to get through the Pit is to focus on what you can control. You cannot control external circumstances or the actions of others. But you can control your own choice and attitude in the midst of whatever circumstances come at you.  

Forming 

If you get through the Pit, you will enter into the Forming stage. This is where you take everything you learned in the Storming stage and apply it to the project. You’re creating a new-normal and setting expectations for the team. 

In the Forming stage, it can be tempting to control others’ actions in an attempt to overcompensate from the struggles of the Storming stage. If you feel like you have learned and now know what is best, then you will want it done your way. But remember, once you have chosen whom you trust, you cannot control what they do with that trust. You can only control your own actions. 

Performing 

The final stage of the Project Mood Curve is the Performing stage. This is when you have figured out how to act efficiently together as a team with the right structures in place. Having done the hard work in the previous stages, you can thrive as a result. 

The reality is that the Performing stage won’t last forever. Even within one project, you will loop back around to the beginning of the curve as you introduce new parts or team members to the project. Prepare yourself for the cycle again by practicing choosing your own actions and perspective when it’s relatively easy so that you are in the habit of it once the Storming stage comes around again. 

Gracie McBride is the Content and Systems Management Coordinator for The Crossroad.