The 5 questions you must answer before you take on another project

August 24th, 2015

Four years ago, I was coaching 12 clients a week, had a two-year-old and was seven months pregnant, and I decided to go back to school into an accelerated business degree program.

I know, what was I thinking? I had taken on another project and my husband’s worried look confirmed that this was a questionable decision.

Two grueling months in the program went by. Each week, I’d been staying up late, sometimes until 3:00 a.m., writing 12-page papers and trying desperately to wrap my head around statistics. And every morning, the sound of my baby crying combined with my two-year-old calling was the alarm clock I never had to set.

I was feeling brain-tingling tired and wondering if I had made the right decision. Was I really going to go through with this?

I realized I needed a system for deciding when it was a good idea to start something new.

There are so many things I want to work on and the ideas are never ceasing. But I know that I have the tendency to take on too much.

Project overload is so common for us entrepreneurs. We take on so many projects, so eager to try things, whether it’s for money, to try something new, to get to work with someone that we’d love to partner with, or for new exposure. Whatever the reason, new projects can also distract us from staying focused on our bigger, longer-term goals and what’s most important to us.

Here’s what I came up with to help me decide:
Should I start this new project or not?

Five questions to answer in order to make sure your project is going to enhance your life and business and not suck you into a new distraction hole:

1 Why am I doing this?
• Deeper Dive: How will I have changed, and what will be different for me at the end of this project? What bigger life or work goal will this help me reach?

2 Do I have a passion so strong that I’m excited to spend every day obsessing over it for the duration of the project?
• Prerequisite Questions: How long will this project take me? What if it takes twice as long? Do I have this time? Will my passion stay strong for this long?
• Deeper Dive: Am I willing to learn new skills and grow for the sake of this project?

3 Do I have the drive and ability to stay focused and work hard without being accountable to anyone?
• Deeper Dive: Who or what can support me in doing this? Can I get that support?

4 Am I humble enough to ask for help and advice, make mistakes, fail, and keep going with this project, if needed?

5 Do I have enough courage to take risks and just start doing? Even if there’s no way to know if it will work out as I want it to?

These aren’t easy questions to answer but that’s not the point. This is about taking your time and decisions seriously. If you don’t, you’ll end up taking on too much, giving up, or feeling bad about yourself.

I made it through school, graduated with a 4.0, and was the speaker at my graduation. I don’t like bragging, but I tell you this because it meant the world to me. It was shocking and invigorating, given that I barely graduated from high school.

The answer to my number one line of questioning is that I knew that this business degree was going to bring me three truly priceless, desired outcomes:

One: Advanced skills to bring to my clients and work in general.
Two: More confidence, something never to be underestimated, both from my new skills and from completing something so mind-bogglingly hard for me at the time.
Three: More trust from potential clients who weigh decisions like hiring a coach based on credentials just as much if not more than on results and testimonials.

I’d love to hear about a project you’re considering—leave a comment below and tell me your why to get started on deciding whether to do it…or not.