Before I embark on any project, I ask myself two very important questions. After I’ve evaluated the viability of the business idea, these become the focal point of how I move forward. You’re doing yourself and others a disservice if you aren’t asking these questions as well.
1) Will this venture create real value for people and society?
What do I mean by “real value”? It’s a subjective subject based on your beliefs, but there’s a difference between creating a high-end restaurant chain and a multibillion dollar pharmaceutical company. Is the end result of what you do going to be fulfilling to others?
I have started or been a part of projects because they could make a real difference in people’s lives. Spine-Health is depended on by millions each year for pain information and community. Buck the Slump was an effort to provide valuable information to people seeking news about the recession, an incredibly important subject given recent circumstances. I can tell you how the effects of the jobs I take on will have on the world.
If I don’t believe the job is going to provide real value in some way, I’m not going to be part of it. If you don’t believe in the cause you’re working towards, then what are you doing anyways? Peple who believe in the value of their research, their business, or their work just work happier and work more efficiently.
2) Will this venture create real value for me?
Just as important as creating value for others is creating value for yourself. Self-fulfillment is too often ignored by people seeking riches in the wrong places or trying to do “the smart thing” or “the right thing.”
Sometimes, you just have to do the dumb thing.
If you love the idea, love working with it, and are confident you’ll love working on it every day, then why aren’t you working on it already? Your work is one of the core components of your life – treating it as anything else will only make you miserable in the long-term. People don’t take the risk enough for happiness sometimes, but in the end it may simply be a waste of your passion and your talent on the world.
So ask yourself about value before embarking on any project. But if you know the answer to these questions, then find a way to make it work. And don’t be afraid to reach a little farther than you’re used to.