On the Fertile Unknown site, Robert Richman, Product Manager of Zappos Insights (the division that helps other businesses use the methods that have made Zappos a billion-dollar business), talked about bringing ideas to life and the test he applies to ideas before he decides whether to proceed with them:
"1. If I know it will fail, do I still want to do this? If you answer no, then I'm sorry to say that you probably don't have what it takes to keep working on your idea when times get tough. You'll simply give up. But if you have an idea that would be worth the journey, worth the learning, no matter how it works out, then you have an idea that's worth pursuing.
2. If I know it will be a huge pain in the butt, is it still worth it? Sometimes ideas sound fun, even if they'll fail. But what if it takes you 10 times longer than you thought it would? What if it breaks all along the way and you need to fix it? What if you need to get a lot of help when you thought you could do it all yourself? Is it still worth it? If it is, then you have the passion to make it real.
Second, if your idea has passed these two tests, the next thing you have to do is remove your need for permission. I'm not just talking about approval. I'm talking about permission. If you hear yourself saying any of these things:
- I need more time.
- I need an investor.
- People won't give me help.
- I don't have the right partners.
- My spouse won't like it.
Then you're looking for the permission from someone or something else. You're giving yourself an out if you do this. Instead give yourself permission, and fully commit to it. That's when the answers start coming, because you're looking from a place of commitment and belief, rather than looking for permission."
These are tough questions, but if you're the sort of person (like me) who has more ideas than time to make them all happen, using these two filters can be very helpful in deciding which of your many possible projects you will give your full commitment.
(You'll find lots of useful techniques for getting things done in my book, "Focus: use the power of targeted thinking to get more done" - get the version with the yellow cover, that's the new, expanded edition, available at Amazon and other online and offline retailers.)