I went skydiving this past week, so naturally I found similarities between this and what I do for a living.
Looking like an idiot is okay, just don’t be an idiot. Take a look at that picture. Yes, I look stupid. Dumb red cap. Well, it keeps you warm during the descent from 12,000 feet. (It’s cold up there) plus it has goggles that keep the wind out of your eyes, so you can enjoy the free fall. Just because you look stupid doesn’t mean you are; just make sure you have a good reason for it. People may think you’re idiot for writing a JOFOC (formerly known as a justification & approval) in some way, so show them you’re not stupid with your evidence and reasoning. Remember: he with the better argument wins…usually.
Preparation keeps you from being dead. Properly packing the chute keeps you alive. In the same way, properly planning your acquisition keeps you alive…in the sense of having a job at least.
Things can happen really fast. Once you’re out that plane, you’re disoriented from spinning in all directions, your internal organs are stressed with g-forces, and you’re travelling at least 120 mph. In contracting, everything often happens at once. I don’t know what it is, but it happens. When it comes, you had better be flexible enough to adapt. Of course, that’s where preparing can help keep you alive.
Only panic after the backup chute fails. You will go “splat” if this happens when falling from the sky. Panic isn’t productive if something bad happens up there. Even when something bad happens, walk away from your desk, go outside, take a walk, whatever you have to do to calm down. I’m prone to panic, so I work have to do this as well. And when the contracting backup chute fails (i.e. you did something bad), make sure you’ve got legal at your back or even contracting officer insurance. (I know FEDS provides this; disclaimer: yes, it supports YGL which I am a board member of, but I don’t know any other company doing this).