Not sure whether something is worth doing now? Trying to make a decision on something you feel is a mid-range to high-range deal? Pros and cons are nice, but may not bring the clarity you want. Try this quick decision-making hack to determine the project’s relevance to you and what you want.
Think ahead 6 months from now. Will the thing you’re considering matter in 6 months? Even think through the potential outcome and results. Will what you think may or may not happen matter 6 months from now? If it will, then do the thing you’re considering. If it won’t, then weigh that into your decision as well. Really think through the potential results. With near exclusivity, only the things that matter now will matter in 6 months. Concentrate on those. Try to be exclusive. Prioritize accordingly.
Note how this question works with things that will matter and won’t matter six months from today. Note particularly how well this works with thinking through “failures” or other potential negative outcomes. If something fails, will that matter in six months? Often the answer is no, it won’t matter. People won’t remember it next week, let alone six months from now. When it comes to what you see as failures — real or imagined — this should be relieving to you. It should also help you to take more chances.
Here is something that ought to enliven you to take more chances: no one’s paying attention to you. If you think they are, start a blog. Write. Create. Start something new. Make a big ask. Try to earn some attention. You’ll learn it’s a hard thing to get, and even harder thing to keep. And yet you earn it through creating and sharing great stuff regularly. It doesn’t mean go crazy with trying things to get attention. It means try your best to create great stuff each day that earns the attention. Crazy has a short shelf life. Greatness lasts. The only real path to Greatness is consistent creation and sharing.
The 6 month rule should allow you to take chances outside of your normal mode of comfort. Making a number of small bets with yourself creeping beyond what you would typically do and behave is a good thing. It keeps you sharp, focused, and engaged.
Look at the media cycle today. It isn’t even one day. The news has conditioned all of us to easily forget about things that happened mere months ago that it is difficult to cement memories from it. The annual retrospectus done in December each year reminds us of what happened that year. And we lived it! The social media news feed is not good for our memories.
Think about the things that last. You can be a bestselling author forever. You can be a coach forever. You can be a leader forever. You can be a great speaker the rest of your career. You can create a course and sell it forever. You can create a presentation as timeless as time allows. None of these things are five minute deals. These things require effort and determination. And if we ask ourselves will these things matter in 6 months? We can answer yes. Yes, they will matter.
The 6 month rule allows focus and determination to reign. Activities that do not have lasting value should not get the priority from us. The small, short term stuff should be backburnered until later. Way later.
Will what I’m doing right now matter in 6 months? Down my list, the yeses are video, presentations, writing, blogging, online courses, books, travel, live events, trade shows, some disciplined social media, and anything to build customer loyalty. What does your list look like?