How to Resist Shiny Object Syndrome
And focus on what matters most.
Having been a graphic design freelancer for ten years, I was burned out with nothing to show for it. Blaming the design industry for my poor results, I stopped accepting client work.
That was when the meal kit delivery services started to burst into the scene, I thought maybe I could start one in Singapore too! Hence, Potluuck was born. I got all pumped up about something new I’ve discovered, took a day to whip up a website, launched and expected a crowd to bang down the doors and signup…
All I got? 🦗 Not even a cricket.
What did I do next? I started chasing the next big shiny ball and got fired up again! I started a podcast, a niche website and many many others that failed miserably.
“How you do anything is how you do everything” — T. Harv Eker
Unfortunately, I’m not the only one. Many entrepreneurs experience such syndrome.
How do you know if you are chasing shiny objects?
If you have many ideas and tend to wonder if you should work on all of them because they seem exciting, or they just might be the next big thing, chances are, you are experiencing Shiny Object Syndrome.
Just like a 2-year-old child, one minute she is happily playing a toy. Another minute, another toy catches her eye and she drops what she has been playing with and starts chasing the new toy.
You may even experience this in different facets of your life. Things like work out program, instead of sticking to one until you see results, you tend to switch programs every few days just to find “the one” that works. Or maybe you sign up to every social media platform so that you are always in the know of what everybody is doing, but you are not really involved.
You have a tendency to start something new but never finish them.
What’s so bad about chasing “shiny objects”?
Shiny object syndrome is a common problem. Other than mere distraction, just like having the Fear Of Missing Out (FOMO), it can cause further effects that impact your life and business.
Here are the biggest effects I know most people are experiencing:
- Missed goals. You may take 3 years to accomplish your goals when you could have taken 3 months. Or worse, you may not even accomplish anything for the rest of your life because you’ve been spending time chasing for the next big thing rather than accomplishing one thing.
- Missed opportunity. Complete irony. You are in search of new opportunity, but in doing so, you had to leave something behind that may bring you the gold if you “dig” further. Opportunity is everywhere. The trick to getting results is to keep working on one thing till success.
- Missed investments. Be it time or money, both can be well-spent on self-improvement or grow your current business. There will always be someone claiming the next best advertising tactics, the best ways to get more leads or best tools to close more sales. They may be true, but they may not be what you should be investing right now.
On the flip side, if you are able to use shiny object syndrome to your advantage, it may not be such a bad thing after all. As an entrepreneur, it’s part of our DNA to keep up with changes in customer behaviours and trends. We have to know what’s shiny out there, try new things in order to know what sticks and what doesn’t.
That said, one does not feel good with such a problem. Good news is, there’s a way to stop this.
How to focus on what matters most to you?
Here’s a four-step process I used to stop chasing shiny hot balls:
- Write down your goals every day. It’s good to have big hairy goals, but it’s easy to get distracted seeing others succeed in other areas. Putting your goals on paper every day helps remind you of what you need to do, and keeps you on track.
- Look within. Success does not come simply because you chase for it. Most times, self-awareness is key. What are your strengths that you should use more of to improve your results? Picture yourself having got that shiny ball, is that something you want? Why? This usually gives me a clearer picture of what I’m aiming for in my life and business.
- Stay active in a community. Keep talking to people on a daily basis. Keeping things to yourself makes your mind believe that your assumptions are realistic. Your mind is powerful. The assumptions may or may not be true, so it’s best to talk to people to get the real answers. Most people in the community are involved to help one another. They get what you say and are willing to share their experiences.
- Enjoy the process. For example, you may hate doing anything out of your comfort zone. For me, it’s doing sales. Give yourself some time to reframe your mind that this is a learning and growing process. Rather than focus on being rejected, think of it as a chance to practise and get better. In this way, you won’t simply chase the shiny object for an easy win. You are doing the work for a purpose.
I don’t have a magic formula for you to make those shiny objects disappear. They are everywhere and just by knowing you have to focus does not help. Knowing what matters to you should be of highest priority, and being crystal clear about what you want will make any other object less shiny.
Now it’s time to start and finish, one thing at a time.