Sorting out the Good Ideas from the Should Ideas

Sammy Hagar's Outfit Sammy Hagar appearing as himself in the 1984 music video for “I Can’t Drive 55”

I like really fast cars (I’m still mourning my full of potential 1970 Dodge Dart that I had to give up). But I’m really not one to regularly drive fast down the highway. Because A) I’d like to keep as much of my hard earned money as I can, and B) Other drivers are idiots. I probably could have guessed my future driving behavior when my “kinda-too-serious-for-a-6-year-old” brain interpreted Sammy Hagar’s song: “I Can’t Drive 55” to mean that he thought 55 mph was way too fast. I mean, I couldn’t even imagine wanting to go 55mph on my then set of wheels (my Desert Rose Huffy bike with the pink banana seat).

But granny drivers like me can still have other areas in their life where they are a total speed freak: in our business.

Between hosting webinars, doing speaking engagements, going to trade/industry events, volunteering, setting up free calls, posting in Facebook groups, starting your own Facebook group, participating on Twitter, starting a Meetup group, planning a workshop, starting a YouTube channel, interviewing others and starting a podcast…there are TONS of initiatives going on out there in the online business world that you feel you must do #allthethings. You see other successful solopreneurs promoting their latest this or the trending that, and swear under your breath that they must have Hermione Granger’s Time-Turner in order to get all that shit done. So, feeling like you’re behind on what you “should” be doing in your business, you kick your brain into 5th gear and come up with a thousand and one things that you NEED to do THIS INSTANT in order to catch up. Like you’re Jack Bauer and only have 24 hours to complete your mission or the world will blow up.

Feeling pretty proud of yourself, and for accountability of course, you share your new list of Should Ideas with your fellow solopreneur friends who respond, “You are so full of ideas! I wish I had your creativity and drive!” Then, like a virus unleashed, they feel like they are behind and hustle off to come up with their own frantic list of Should Ideas. (You may have even been one of those friends at one time or another.)

But really, I wouldn’t wish this kind of creativity on anyone.
Because with great power, comes great responsibility. (Come on, you know I couldn’t pass on using that Spiderman quote.)

Why? Because with that power, you just created for yourself an exhausting list of things you have to accomplish mostly, if not entirely, by yourself. Which could either leave you stuck in the middle of the whirlwind of those ideas not able to take action on any of them, or trying to take on everything all at once in fits and starts never gaining any real traction on any of them. So then, frustrated and determined, you muster up enough strength to grab onto that one bucking bronco of an idea and ride it to the end because, goddamnit, you’re not gonna be left behind.

(Here comes the responsibility part…) But as you’re riding that idea at breakneck speed with your head down so fixated on getting something, anything done and launched out into the world…you forgot your responsibility as a business owner to ask yourself one teensie, tiny, incredibly important question: Do I really WANT to do this thing in the first place?

WARNING: By asking yourself this one, simple question may cause you to stop dead in your tracks.

Because you’re super smart and know that these ideas have worked for others and could work for you, it made logical sense to add them to your to-do list all super shiny happy with yourself. But taking a moment to think ahead to after you’ve launched that new initiative into the world and appropriately assess if this is a Should Idea or a Good Idea for your business can save you time, frustration, and confusion down the road. Just because someone else had success with it, doesn’t mean you should (or need to) do it too.

Because going fast towards something you don’t want is just as bad as not going after what you do. Click To Tweet

How do you separate the Good Ideas from the Should Ideas?

Ask yourself things like:

  • Do I have the time to do it?
  • Will it help my business? (i.e. Will it help make me money?!?)
  • Will it cost money to do it? (If yes, see the question above.)
  • Is it something my ideal clients are interested in or show up to anyhow?
  • Would I enjoy doing it over and over and over again?
  • Does it play to my natural strengths? (Not everyone likes public speaking or Twitter, and that’s ok.)
  • Is it going to get me one step closer to where I want to take my business or one step farther away?
  • Am I only doing this because someone else told me I should? (Hmm.)
  • Have I ever done this before? And DID I LIKE DOING IT?

So, I’m giving you permission to stop. Slow down. Drive 55.

Honestly answer the questions above and decide which items on your list are Good Ideas for YOU. And go tell Hagar and the others that speeding is overrated. (And that outfit was a REALLY bad idea.)

What other questions do you ask yourself in order to sort out your Good Ideas from the Should Ideas? Share in the comments below!

 Can’t tell what you want (what you really, really want)?
Or are you too in it to win it?

Joel Smith

Solopreneurs have a lot of choices to make. Some pertain to really difficult decisions. Others are less important but – let’s face it – sometimes we let ourselves get bogged down in these less scary (read: less important) ones.

Working with Amy can help you sort through all that, so you can get down to the decisions that are most difficult to face but which make a real difference.

Joel SmithFounder272Woods Hole, MA


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *