I am an idea person. Once a month I come up with an idea for a new project or organization, I of course always think they are great money making, world changing ideas; however I know I don't have the time or energy to follow up on all of them. So how do we decide which project or job to follow up on, which to let go, and which to put on the back burner until a later date.
There are many things to consider when starting a new project, job, company, or career path. I hear all the time that having multiple streams of income is the way of the future, but how do we decide which streams are worth pursuing, and which job opportunities are leading us to our ultimate career goal. Recently I decided that I needed to postpone a project that I was really interested in; here are some of the things that I took into consideration.
The first thing to consider is whether or not this project aligns with your personal mission statement. A personal mission statement defines who you are and where you are headed within you career. Ask yourself, does this project or job get you closer to your career goals and align with the contributions you are looking to make in the world? This can be a hard conversation to have, especially when faced with a great opportunity. But a great opportunity can end up holding you back, when it takes time and focus away from your ultimate mission.
Every project or job will require some sort of time commitment in order to be a success. Even with full time jobs the amount can vary depending on the position and industry. Decide first, if you have the time to commit, and second, if this project is worth the amount of time that it would require. Again, this goes back to whether this project aligns with your mission and if this is the best way to use your time in service of your ultimate goal.
Return on Investment
Now it's time to consider what we are getting in return from this project. If we have already decided that this project aligns with our personal mission, then this may be a very easy question to answer. We should ask ourselves if this is bringing monetary gain, key experience, or key contacts within an industry, and how long will it take before we see the fruits of our labor. Sometimes when it comes to starting a new job the returns will be immediate, especially when talking about monetary gains, but other times it can take longer before we see a return on our investment. Not only should we consider if we have the time to commit, but we also need to consider whether we have the time to wait to see a return on our investment.
It's so easy to get swept up in the excitement that comes with starting a new project or being offered a new position, however taking the time to consider these questions will definitely pay off in the long. Considering all aspects of a new opportunity will cut done on "buyer's remorse" or energy spent contemplating or regretting your decision. Of course it may still turn out that the opportunity was not what you expected, but with everything it gives you the chance for continued growth and the opportunity to further define and add to your personal mission.