A checklist to guarantee passion projects

This guest post is from Andy Nulman — President of Just for Laughs and author of “Pow! Right Between the Eyes: Profiting from the Power of Surprise.” See the original post this was adapted from and more like it on his blog.

checklist

I carry a journal with me just about all the time, which I fill with copious thoughts, notes, ideas and random observations.

Most of these scribblings make no sense to anyone but me, but every once in a while, I jot down something that ultimately takes on a life of its own — either as a project, a speech, a reminder, or, in the case of this blog post, an action plan.

What’s special about the aforementioned action plan is how strongly it resonated with others when I casually mentioned it.

It started out on September 7th as a mere scribble on the corner of a journal page; a quick list of criteria to help guide decisions I need to make in my role as “Chief Attention Getter” for the city of Montreal’s upcoming 375th Anniversary. It was indeed a simple “note to self.”

But every time I shared it, the reaction was always the same, namely: “Wait…can I copy that down?”

Whether it was a meeting with government officials or with the head of a major international conference, eyebrows and fingers were raised… the latter to either write or type the list for future reference.

So this week’s lesson is a shorty-but-goodie. I say that not just because of the way those with whom I’ve already shared this have responded, but because I really believe in the outcome following the listed steps can bring.

So without any further ado, here is my list of guiding principles, a “Check and Un-balance list” designed to separate the boring and standard from the exciting and inspiring. No matter what project or process you may be considering, it works. So, before committing to anything, ask yourself the following:

  • Does it draw attention?
  • Is it photo-worthy?
  • Is it talk-worthy?
  • Will people take the next step and actually share it?
  • Is it The Most/The Best/The Biggest/The Fastest/The First/The Something?
  • If not… why the hell would we do it?

Now let’s face it; the criteria cannot apply to EVERY project or decision; sometimes we need to do something as a favor, or as payback, or because of personal or corporate politics. But if that is indeed the case, at least the final question allows you to admit it and move on.

But by following said criteria, you will at least be ensured to do two things:

  1. Eliminate tedious projects that are most likely doomed to failure.
  2. Increase the amount of passion projects you’ll be excited to work on… and deliver.
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About Andy Nulman

President of Just For Laughs, world's biggest comedy organization. Former mobile tech entrepreneur. Wild public speaker. Wilder public dresser. Author. Hockey player. Gym rat. Needs a longer bio.

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