Do You Suffer from SOS – Shiny Object Syndrome?
Have you ever gone out to lunch with a friend who wanted to share their next big idea with you, and as they’re talking you start nodding and thinking “wow, yeah that sounds cool”
Then as their passion come across and they paint a rosy picture of how easy this new idea will be to pull off because “no one else is doing this” and you can be the first to break into a new niche or market.
By the end of the conversation, all the projects that used to be your priorities look a little bit more like a burden when compared to this new, cool, exciting idea your friend just laid out.
Or that you saw on the Internet.
Or that you saw on TV
Or after you went to another seminar?
Then you, my friend, may suffer from Shiny Object Syndrome.
S.O.S. – Shiny Object Syndrome shares the same initials as the international sign for distress at sea; save our ship!
In Morse Code it’s unmistakable with three dots, three dashes and three dots again, even visually representing a break in continuity, and indicating distress.
Shiny Object Syndrome is typical in entrepreneurs, and is extra sneaky because it derives from the same origin as the passion you have (or had) for the initial project you were working on, and that you necessarily must have to write a book, or build a business or brand out of nothing and embody and own it.
But SOS can also prevent you from realizing your full potential as it diffuses your energy and leads to overwhelm.
One day you’re focused on working towards worthy goals you have defined as worthy and have rallied your efforts, and possibly a team around.
Then next day your mind is preoccupied with this shiny new object’s potential and promise.
And while it may feel good to be excited and passionate about something (anything), the reality is that it takes focused effort and consistent execution to truly complete something great.
Plus, based on the entrepreneurial laws of physics, it usually takes at least twice as long, and cost twice as much to complete the book you envisioned, or build the business you’ve dreamed about, or get enough coaching clients to sustain a practice or whatever!
So when you feel yourself getting pulled in a new direction and shifting your focus and priorities on a whim, come up with your own S.O.S. code to alert yourself that you may be getting off course.
How to Stop Shiny Object Syndrome in it’s Tracks
One trick is to take a breath – step back from the heat of the moment, or the enthusiasm of your friend to reconnect with the reasons you are on your current path.
Does this new idea warrant more than an excited discussion over lunch?
Will you still feel as enthusiastic 2 days after the webinar you’re watching where it all just look so easy?
If so, then AWESOME you may have found your next big opportunity for growth and development.
But if not – and if you get a lot of exposure to excited authors, entrepreneurs and mission-centered business owners like me that’s going to be 90%+ of the time – then it may be Shiny Object Syndrome trying to draw you of course.
Shiny Object Syndrome is one of the biggest contributors to failure in business.
Not failure to accomplish anything, or the complete demise of your business.
But failure to realize the full potential of your idea…to play the game you want to win, and WIN!
Trust me, I would know.
Throughout my twenties, I always prided myself on working on 2-3 projects simultaneously.
I liked feeling the variety of switching focuses on projects throughout the day and week.
I liked being in the early stages of creation where everything feels new, exciting and great.
But it was the times when I gave 100% focus to just ONE thing, at least for a while, where I saw the biggest results.
It is much easier to accomplish 2-3 projects sequentially, than it is simultaneously.
Not to mention, if you’re self-funding your ideas to the point where they start generating income, it is way more costly to fund 3 projects simultaneously instead of focusing the majority of your efforts on one until it’s up and running.
Then shifting focus on tackling project two until it’s got legs, and finally tackling the last.
That way you can either:
- Prove the potential of Idea One and have a new product, brand, book or program on the market, or
- Disprove the business thesis and fail fast without too much at stake.
In either case you’re better off than if you spent a year working on and investing your time, energy and resources in three projects only to see that when you finally launch only one of them is really viable.
The Cure for Shiny Object Syndrome
I encourage you to stay passionate about your work. But also prioritize your efforts and tackle the most important one first.
For example, if you’re an aspiring author, actively working on a book. Your #1 priority should be (drumroll…) writing your book – and consistently writing and creating content first thing in the morning.
Not after an hour on social media.
Not after diving into your inbox and responding to emails, getting sucked into other people’s agenda for your most creative time.
But right when you wake up and feel inspired.
Perhaps before you even get out of bed
Like I’ve done with this article
Hope this is a helpful concept to keep you on track – Let me know how Shiny Object Syndrome has appeared in your life below and how – or if – you’ve dealt with it.
I’m really interested.
To your success,