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You love your business and you love being an entrepreneur… but maybe you’re constantly struggling to reach your goals and just focus. If this sounds like you, you might be dealing with a bad case of shiny object syndrome — something that so many entrepreneurs struggle with at some point in their lives.
It’s something that’s pretty common and can easily get in the ways of growing your business.
What is shiny object syndrome?
Shiny object syndrome (SOS) is all about distraction. It’s about entrepreneurs chasing after that next “shiny object” that they come across and getting into the habit of doing that over and over again.
Think about a kid playing with a toy. If he sees something new and shiny, he will abandon the toy and go after the new one.
This is very similar to business owners dealing with SOS. They often find themselves losing focus and going after the next best thing because they think that’s what they should be doing.
Signs you might have shiny object syndrome
You have ideas but never follow through
As entrepreneurs, we tend to have a ton of ideas! (and hey, there’s nothing wrong with that!) I love being creative and coming up with new ideas all the time — it’s just what I do and it’s what a lot of business owners do too. But the problem lies when you have way too many ideas and never really follow through on ANY of them.
If you’re struggling with shiny object syndrome, you tend to have idea after idea and never end up going after any of them, leaving you constantly stuck in the same place.
Projects go unfinished
And some of the ideas you DO go after? A lot of them might end up as unfinished projects.
If you’re finding yourself starting a lot of new projects in your business but you struggle to fully complete them, you likely are dealing with shiny object syndrome.
While it’s totally normal to have failures in business and abandon ideas, taking on too many new projects and never finishing them can be a red flag. And it can be that you’re not focused on the right kind of things for your business as you try to become a jack of all trades.
You’re constantly spending money on things you think will be a quick fix
Finding yourself blowing through all the cash you just earned in your business? Entrepreneurs with shiny object syndrome are always looking to buy the next course, the new fancy software tool, or hire a bunch of people to fix things with no real plan or strategy in place for why you’re doing these things.
Your spending habit can be costing you not only your income but it can also stunt your business growth if you’re just buying things to buy them. Those “quick fixes” aren’t really fixes and you’re just putting a bandaid over the real situation.
And if you find yourself enrolled in hundreds of online courses and never actually completing them, then the SOS is strong.
When you have too many courses and programs that you’re enrolled in, you might forget which ones you have and end up buying ones in the future on the same topics *facepalm*
Lack of productivity
When you are working, you find yourself task-switching, getting sucked into the black hole that is Instagram or losing focus on what you should be doing right now.
If you’re struggling hard with SOS, you may find it takes you longer to complete tasks than it actually should.
And if you’re constantly filled with ideas and confused with what you should be doing next in your business, your productivity can suffer from that too.
Poor communication with your team, if you have one
If you have a team, you may find that you’re struggling with your communication with them. If you’re constantly changing things, coming up with new ideas, and starting and abandoning projects, your team will find it very hard to keep up. And you definitely don’t want an unhappy team!
How to combat and avoid it
Don’t worry if this is you! There are ways to combat it and nip it in the bud so you can increase your productivity and get back to reaching your goals. Here are some steps you can take to fight the dreaded shiny object syndrome:
#1 Set real, achievable goals
The first thing you’ll want to focus on is setting realistic achievable goals for yourself. A good tip is to choose 3 big goals for yourself and then break those down into smaller, bite-sized goals that you can check off your list. These big goals should serve the “bigger picture” for your business.
Once you have those tasks and goals, organize everything into one place (I like to use ClickUp or Notion for this!)
#2 New and expensive tools don’t always mean better
I see this happen way too often. To avoid SOS, you’ll need to remember that new & expensive tools won’t automatically fix things. Sure they can make things easier for you… but really think things through before deciding to make big investments on fancy software. Get down to the underlying issues that you’re trying to fix in your business.
Are conversions down? Maybe you *think* you need fancy software for your programs, but it might just be that you need a better sales page & improved copy.
So brainstorm a little and try to get to the bottom of the real problem before buying up tools and programs.
#3 Cut the noise and see past the hype
I know it’s so easy to get caught up with what everyone else is doing, but to beat shiny object syndrome you need to cut the noise and see past the hype. Seriously.
Every time a new course, program, or tool launches and it seems like everyone is doing this one thing… take a step back and block out the world. Put your blinders on and focus on the grand scheme of things.
Ask yourself: Will those things serve the overarching goal in your business?
#4 Sleep on it
When you find yourself feeling that FOMO creeping up on you, try not to act on it impulsively. I encourage you to really sleep on it before making big decisions, investments or going after any new projects or ideas.
Again — ask yourself if this will serve you and what you’re trying to achieve in your business.
If you decide you do indeed want to go after it, do your research and make sure it’s actually worth it!
Lastly, a really good idea is to have an accountability buddy for support. Have someone there to ask you the tough questions! Your best friend, spouse, or whoever can help you with this. If you’re thinking of going after an idea or investing in something, having someone there to ask you “why?” can help you make the right decision. They can have you explain why it’s really worth it so you can talk it out.
Say goodbye to shiny object syndrome for good
You got this! You can get rid of shiny object syndrome.
Just continually work through the process and keep yourself accountable and you should be able to focus, stay on track, and kick shiny object syndrome to the curb.
Once you realize how your mind works and the signs of you starting to fall back into SOS, you’ll be able to recognize that and bring yourself back.
And remember: SOS isn’t always a bad thing. Your ideas and your creativity are what make you YOU. Sometimes your ideas will be amazing ones that make a big difference in your business and can challenge you even more. It’s all about understanding yourself and following your intuition to know when it is something you do want to spend time on and when something is just a straight-up distraction from your goals.
So tell me: Are you struggling with shiny object syndrome?