Let’s face it. Ideas are abundant. There is no shortage of creativity. By it’s very nature, creativity is self-generating – ideas lead to ideas in ever-expanding circles. But Not all ideas are equal. Not all ideas deserve your best attention and time. How do you evaluate those moments of inspiration and weigh them before investing them with the privilege of your time and attention?
I don’t think I am unique in facing this quandary. Your time is limited, and so is the emotional and creative energy that you can expend. Certainly you don’t want throw your efforts into unfruitful pursuits.
What then sets an idea apart, making it worthy of the next step?
Well, number one, and some may disagree. I’m comfortable with that.
It is NOT all about the money!
Although the breath of business is cashflow, if we make money the only measure of the worthiness of our ideas we will fall short of fulfilling our financial destiny. There are plenty of miserable business people fighting for more every day, having forgotten what they are really fighting for decades before.
Money is one measure of success, but not the primary one. Despite the prevailing culture that wants to shimmy up to you and tell you that the Ferrari is your magical key to significance, the litter strewn 7 seater packed with smiling kids is a far greater accolade to bear. It speaks of life, love and relationship more than a pristine sports car hidden under a tarpaulin in the garage.
Money should follow, it should never lead. It is a fabulous servant, but a fearful and fickle master.
Above and beyond this, some of the best ideas have nothing to do with money. Today, for example, one of my best ideas is to sneak out and get a tasty lunch that I can cook up as a pleasant surprise for my wife. That’s a real investment that brings real returns, but not monetary ones.
Keep your perspective. Know what’s important, and relegate money a little lower on the list.
Don’t misunderstand me. I believe in making money and owning things. I just don’t believe that things should own me. I believe in business, but want my business to work for me, not me work for my business. It’s a subtle but profound difference that will determine so much of what you do and the avenues you pursue. [Check out this post for more about value based thinking about marketing].
Make or Minister?
So here is the idea I want to share today.
This is one of the keys that help me measure the worth of any idea I may have.
There’s so may people hustling for a dollar out there. Unscrupulous ideas, projects and products that are clearly made with one measure in mind: How much can I make from this?
But how about we turn this on its head and ask instead, how much can this minster value to others? What can I give should be the first question we ask and answer, and afterwards the ‘getting’ will take care of itself. The principle of generosity is one that makes no real sense until you see it in action. Give, and it will be given back to you, Jesus said. Not in equal measure, but running over.
Does you idea have the potential to bless and encourage others?
Does your idea have the potential to help others reach their goals and take hold of their dreams?
Does your idea solve problems others are facing, and ease their anxiety?
Does your idea play to your strengths, and align with your values?
Does it have staying power enough to keep your attention beyond it’s inception, enough to carry it to completion?
Is the idea of enough substance to become a product or a publication that offers value to the reader or purchaser, in excess of what you charge them?
Does your idea SERVE your audience, not SHEAR them of their hard-earned cash like some helpless lamb?
So there’s my idea measure – MAKE or MINISTER.
It gives clarity to what I do, and keep s my heart aligned with my actions.
How About You?
How about you? How do you evaluate the worth of ideas that you have? What makes one worthy of team and attention, and others quickly trashed or consigned to the one-day-maybe-never shelf?
Knowing what ideas to pick up and run with is a key to your long-term success. Share here if you can what makes an idea of value for you and your life and business…