How I Face Scary Stuff: The IDEA Criteria

Today is Halloween, which is supposed to be the scariest day of the year…for obvious reasons. But this Halloween has an even scarier connotation attached to it for yours truly. That’s because I’m embarking on some scary stuff from this day forward.


I’ve already written about my departure from Lifehack – today is my last day as Managing Editor there – but I haven’t written much about what I plan to do next. That’s because I have so many thoughts on where to go next that I’ve yet to pare them down to something that’s manageable. There are some absolutes that I’ll be working on, most notably improving my efforts as a stay-at-home parent, but in terms of generating sustainable revenue…I’ve got a lot of ideas on that front and know I can only execute a few well (re: successfully).

Besides running some of these ideas by those I trust most – or as my 70Decibels comrades over at the Home Work podcast call them, my Board of Advisors – I am letting any and all ideas percolate so that I can decide if they meet enough of what I need to have to make them something I want to act on. I have four criteria that an idea needs to meet before I’ll pursue it with fervor. I call this criteria (fittingly) The IDEA Criteria.

Here’s what an idea must fulfill in order for me to move forward with it:

  1. Ideals that I hold must be upheld by pursuing it.
  2. Does not interfere with anything else that I am excited about. (In fact, it should complement it in some form or another.)
  3. Excitement about the idea must be lasting.
  4. Able to generate direct or passive income.

As you can see, the four items spell out the word IDEA…which is clearly intentional. But it is really not forced in that all of those four things are what makes a good idea something that can take hold, gain momentum, and lead to greater things for all involved.

Leaving something that is pretty much a “sure thing” and making changes is scary stuff. I’ve done it plenty of time and I still get scared – which means that it’s something worthwhile. But I don’t just run into (or away from) something without weighing my options.

Having this tool in my arsenal makes the scary stuff less scary. Or perhaps it gives me an informed willingness to take on new things rather than stay still and do the same old things. Either way, The IDEA Criteria helps me make better decisions, and I have no doubt it will continue to serve me well.

As for what some of those ideas are and where I’m going from here…I’ll have more to offer later this week on that.