There is no shortage of ideas out there. When you see an opportunity pop up, it’s hard not to want to drop everything else and chase this shiny new endeavor. But ideas are a dime a dozen and mean nothing without action. Mark Cuban says “sweat equity” (his phrase for action) is the most valuable asset you have to give.
To avoid getting distracted by Shiny New Idea Syndrome, a filter is needed to see if the work fits your criteria. Before we dive into the three-step filter, one preliminary question to consider: Are you finished with your current work?
If you’re not, the automatic answer is no. Finish your current work before you take on any more opportunities. Starting and stopping projects is a nasty habit that will stop you from finishing.
If you’ve finished your work — great. What you need to do now is check the opportunity against the following questions:
- Does the work align with your goals? These are the most important areas to you in life. If you need more help with goals, check out this video or pick up a copy of Ready Aim Fire! by yours truly and Erik Fisher. Another way to word this question is — will the work stop you from achieving your already-established goals?
- Do you have the resources to do this work well? Time, energy, finances, focus, or anything else you know will be required? Remember – your resources are limited.
- Are you excited about this project? Not just excited, but willing to lose sleep, money, and even miss some other things you enjoy for this project?
If you can’t answer these three questions, the idea does not fit into your filter. Remember, just because you say ‘no’ to something right now, doesn’t mean you are saying ‘no’ later. You can always put a project on your ‘to do later’ list.
Focus on the task at hand and the work will be of higher quality. Focus requires saying ‘no’ to good things so you can say ‘yes’ to great things.