The Project Mood Curve is a tool we use to help people and organizations transform the way they view challenge, struggle, and failure.
Essentially, the mood curve is a mental model to help us see the journey of expectations to disappointment into perseverance, growth, and productivity. Everything we do follows the shape of the Mood Curve. All relationships, projects, and every other kind of human endeavor. The darn thing is inevitable.
The only thing that varies is the depth to which we fall. Our plunge from expectation to reality is something we call the pit of despair. The honeymoon phase is over. The inevitable difficulties kick in. It is at this crucial time that people (individually and communally) have to decide if their vision is worth persevering toward.
And although we cannot avoid the pit of despair, the one variant in the inevitability of The Project Mood Curve is how deep the pit will be. How far, so to speak, we will fall. And there are a few things we can do at the beginning to help lessen our drop, which in turn sets us up to persevere and excel more effectively.
See It Comin’
We all love the beginning stages of our projects. We love the hope and excitement, the possibilities and the expectations. We love finding someone we are attracted to and feeling the butterflies in our stomach during the first few months of dating.
But it comes to an end. It has to. All of these things are superficial, hypothetical. We cannot live in our imagined worlds. We need to face the realities of relationship. We need to acknowledge the obstacles in achieving our desired purposes. If we don’t, we settle for a superficial manifestation of what we are really after. We close ourselves off from the truth.
The heights of intimacy require the depths of vulnerability.
The best thing we can do to lesson our dip into the pit of despair is to know it is coming and prepare for it. I am not suggesting we go looking for it. But when it arises, if we have been expecting it, we are better equipped to see our way through it.
The Ole’ Lighthouse
For some reason I am really feeling the apostrophes in these subtitles. What I mean by this one is simply this: when you find yourself in the pit of despair, there are only two options – quit or persevere. Which you will choose depends on how committed you are to the vision you are pursuing.
If you want a strong and healthy marriage, you will work through the challenges. If you want to accomplish what needs to be done, you will face the challenges with courage.
Vision serves as a lighthouse in the pit of despair. It is the only way you see yourself out. Knowing it upfront, with as much clarity as possible, is perhaps the strongest tool you can take into The Mood Curve.
Ol’ Fashion Honesty
One thing we forget when we are in the pit of despair, at least in the context we’ve been talking about. You are not alone. You’re on a team.
We too often try to hide from those around us either because we want to protect them or we want to protect a façade we are trying to put forth. Neither are helpful in the pit of despair.
Your team needs your honesty. They need to know how you feel and what you think. Even if it is imperfect, they need you to communicate. Imperfect and honest communication are like magic in difficult times. As long as they are partnered with humility, they can bind teams/groups/couples together and can propel you out of that pit almost as fast as you found yourself in it.