Chapter 3

Internal: mindset

A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step.

Lao-tzu, the founder of philosophical Taoism

Every project goes through three distinct phases:

1 start

2 persevere

3 complete.

Typically, we have strengths and weaknesses at different phases, and it’s valuable to reflect on which phase you are most comfortable, and where you need the most help. For instance, do you struggle with starting? My wife Trish calls herself a ‘momentum chick’: she says she’s great when she gets going on something, but sometimes needs a bit of a shove to get started.

Or are you good at starting, but not so strong at persevering? As soon as you hit a roadblock, do you look for the next project to start? I have a friend who calls this ‘the shiny object syndrome’, because he is easily distracted by the next shiny object that comes along.

If you’re good at starting and persevering, then maybe you’re like me, and struggle with the last 5 per cent? When a project is basically done, and there’s just the last bit of polishing or cleaning up to do before I can call it complete, I have already moved on emotionally. For me it takes discipline to do the last pieces and move the project from my active list to my complete list.

Knowing where you are weakest can give you an advantage, because you can develop strategies to get you through these sticking points and stay on track. Let’s look at the three phases in a bit more detail.


Getting going can be half the battle.

Get The New Rules of Management: How to Revolutionise Productivity, Innovation and Engagement by Implementing Projects That Matter now with O’Reilly online learning.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from 200+ publishers.