Charlie Gilkey on Start Finishing, Part 3

In his book, Start Finishing: How to go from idea to done, Charlie Gilkey discusses how we can follow a nine-step method to convert an idea into a project and get the project done via a reality-based schedule.

These are some of my favorite concepts and takeaways from reading the book.

Chapter 3, Pick an Idea That Matters to You

In this chapter, Charlie discusses what idea we should make a project out of it. Of course, we all want to do the best work, but we often avoid asking ourselves the hard questions of what idea we should work on realizing. Finally, he offers the following views for us to think about:

  • When we try to choose an idea to work on, we thrash. Thrash is the emotional flailing we do when we do not fully commit to our best work. The more an idea matters to us, the more we will thrash. That is because the idea’s success or failure is critical to us.
  • Failure is inevitable when we try to do our best work. Doing our best work is showing up and dancing with uncertainty. Fortunately, failure can reveal what matters to us, show us when we are out of alignment on something, and reveal areas for growth.
  • The five hard questions to ask when picking the project that matters most:
    • When someone close to us asks what was the most important thing we have done over the last year, what would we say?
    • Which item on our idea list causes the most gut-level anguish when we consider cutting it from the list entirely?
    • Which item on our list are we most likely to create the schedule space to work on?
    • Which item on our list, if finished, will matter the most in the near or distant future?
    • Which item on the list is worth claiming one of our remaining “significant project” slots during our remaining lifespan?
  • Due to the limitations of time and energy, each decision carries an opportunity cost. We must let go of ideas that are not allowing us to thrive, so we can trade up the projects that do.