What questions to ask when everything looks shiny!

July 9, 2013

As an entrepreneur leading a startup community I have had many ways to direct my energy. I realized recently that I was at a crossroads of opportunities because EVERYTHING was looking shiny… and I wasn’t sure which way to turn.

I know, not a bad place to be.

But it can be overwhelming if you are someone that wants to do everything. Prior to kids I probably would have jumped in and treaded until I learned to swim. However, gratefully, my life and time are no longer just my own.

This means I needed a process to start crossing off things that weren’t a perfect fit. I believe there are no accidents, so I am sure each thing would have led to something else  even if it was the “wrong” path.

However, although there are no accidents, burn out is very real. So I created a list of all my shiny things and began to cross things off that couldn’t answer this for me:

    1. Does it make me feel alive? My test for everything is the ALIVE/JOY test. Does it fill my bucket when I do it and would I do it for free. As a somewhat obsessive person, the “free” marker is always a good test.
    1. Does it challenge me? Boredom to me is the worse death sentence. For me, I love to problem solve and keep myself living on the edge.
    1. Am I willing to do it even if I fail? This has been a recent new marker for me. I have learned the biggest lessons from my failures. My goal is obviously not to fail but if my attachment to success is too great, I miss the opportunity to pivot and build the resiliency in spirit and intellectual thought leadership.
    1. Does it transition into my life? This was never a question on my list prior to kids. But when you share your life with others, their resistance to drastic change is a force that can drain your energy. For me, besides draining of my energy, it is also something I am not willing to put my family through massive change without having somewhat of a safety net or a negotiation of expectations. Early on in motherhood, I used to see this question as one that meant I was holding back. But what it has actually meant now is this gift of selecting your true priorities.

Being conscious and noticing the overwhelm of opportunities was the first step. But these questions became the second step. Creating questions and markers helps to distill your list so that you can wrap your brain around the best opportunities.

I would love to hear some of your questions that are markers for you.