Let’s face it. Ideas are abundant. There is no shortage of creativity. By its 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?
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?
It is NOT (just) 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 were 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 sport. It speaks of life, love, and relationship more than a pristine sports car hidden under a tarpaulin in the garage.
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 make sure money stays in its proper place on the list of priorities.
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 for my business. It’s a subtle but profound difference that will determine so much of what you do and the avenues you pursue.
Make & Minister?
So here is the idea I want to share today.
This is one of the keys that helps me measure the worth of any idea I may have.
There are so many 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?
Their focus is purely on the ‘make’.
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.
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.
Zig Ziglar, a late Christian businessman and motivational speaker famously said:
“You will get all you want in life, if you help enough other people get what they want.”
Does your idea have the potential to bless and encourage others?
Does your idea have the potential to help others reach their goals and provide actionable keys carrying them closer to their hopes?
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 its 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, but that they would be willing to pay for?
Does your idea SERVE your audience, not SHEAR them of their hard-earned cash like some helpless lamb?
The first question I ask then is, will what I make minister value to others?
I then look for ways in which that idea can be packaged in a way that communicates that value, so people will be willing to invest their time or money to benefit from it.
It gives clarity to what I do and keeps 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 idea worthy of time and attention, and others quickly trashed or consigned to the one-day-maybe-never shelf?