Three Questions to Ask Yourself before taking on a New Project

Tapping into Intrinsic Motivation

“Should I take on this new project?”



“I should do this, the financial payoff could be enormous!”

“I should do this…opportunities like this don’t come along all the time.”

“I should do this…if I pull it off it will make me look amazing!”

“Should you make time to do this?”

“Everything new you take on makes it harder to do everything else you’ve already taken on”.

Intrinsic vs Extrinsic Motivation

Invitation is how we bring others (and ourselves) into the conversation.

The Power of Intrinsic Motivation

The Three Intrinsic Motivation Questions: Focusing on Play, Purpose and Potential

should you take on that new project? Yes…if it connects with your deepest sense of intrinsic motivation.

Play: Will this project create pure joy for me, right now?

Purpose: Does this project connect to my unique zone of genius or my biggest, hairiest, audacious goals?

Potential: Will this project help create a life I love?

An Inner-Work Checklist for reflection on that shiny project

  1. Know how our whole body responds when we consider the project. Getting out of our heads and into our present-tense embodied experience call tell us a lot… if we pay attention.
  2. Do we know where our zone of genius lies? Coined by Gay Hendricks in his book The Big Leap, he suggests that there are many things we can do with our time and our talent. Our zone of genius is the best use of our time AND our talent. We may be competent and even excellent at many things. Hendricks suggests that we should commit to spending as much time as possible engaged with our deepest talents, aligning ourselves with our best use — our purpose, what we were made to do.
  3. Do we know our BHAG? The notion of a BHAG (or a Big Hairy Audacious Goal) was coined in “Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies” by Jim Collins and Jerry Porras. Knowing your BHAG can help you say yes or no to a project. If it connects to your BHAG, find time for it.
  4. The last question “Will this create the life I love?” comes from my coaching coach, Robert Ellis’ work in Coaching from Essence. He teaches that we all have a core essence, that when expressed, is valuable and worthwhile. In short: You are enough. When we let our essence express itself fully, we feel it. Creating a life you love means finding forms that will help you express your essence. That is our highest potential, fully expressed
  5. Finally, the diagram as I’ve recreated it, asks us to be intentional about STOPPING doing other things. If we find something that aligns with our sense of play, purpose and potential, it’s time to take a look at the other things on our calendar. Make space and time to look at how you are spending your time!



Executive coach. Host of Often riding bikes to the ocean.

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