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Shiny Object Syndrome: What It Is And How To Avoid It

Shiny Object Syndrome: What It Is And How To Avoid It
Shiny Object Syndrome: What It Is And How To Avoid It 

You may have heard of this thing called 'shiny object syndrome.'

It's an entrepreneur's worst nightmare, but something very hard to overcome.

Shiny object syndrome is essentially the tendency for someone to steer off track and start chasing a new idea, trend, or goal.

Knowing if you have fallen to the hands of shiny object syndrome is as easy as asking yourself if you've recently been changing courses a lot in terms of a business idea.

For example, whilst owning my marketing agency, I started to search for other ways to also earn.

This search led me to start (or re-start) my YouTube channel, and also look into starting a clothing line, which was cut short.

Why is shiny object syndrome bad?

In my last few articles, I've talked about how consistency in one direction leads to massive results in that given direction.

Once you start to take consistent action, you're able to tally up points in your favor that compound over a long time.

This compounding effect may seem like it's doing nothing for the first few weeks, months, and sometimes even years.

However, there is usually a point in time where all this energy, time, and effort that compounded pays off and you start seeing explosive growth.

This is the point that many people don't end up getting to - usually because of a lack of consistency and therefore the compound effect doesn't build up.

The lack of consistency can often come as a result of shiny object syndrome.

Just as you start finding the rhythm in consistency, you're immediately taken away by the next thing that comes along.

One second you might be a YouTuber making tons of videos and your subscribers are building up.

All of a sudden, this platform, TikTok, comes around and you see people shooting to fame overnight.

Your instincts tell you to leave YouTube and move on to TikTok.

Everything you've compounded in favor of your YouTube channel dissipates and you've got a clean slate on TikTok.

There's a diagram that I often refer to which shows this illustration.

Shiny Object Syndrome: What It Is And How To Avoid It

The green diagram shows how spending all your time, energy, and efforts in one direction results in great results.

However, on the red side, we see how divided attention on multiple things will see mediocre results at best.

I was on the red side of things for a long time.

In today's day and age, it's very easy to get thrown off course - wherever you look, someone's trying to teach you about the next best thing and how to make money online.

This stirs up the FOMO (fear of missing out) inside us, and leads to our shiny object syndrome kicking in.

When I finally understood that there is opportunity everywhere, I stopped and started to focus on one thing at a time.

There's a distinct difference between hopping from idea to idea, and quitting on an idea at the right time.

So why does shiny object syndrome happen?

Shiny object syndrome can usually kick in, like we've established, from the fear of missing out on a new trend or business idea.

However, the reason we end up learning about this new business idea is most likely due to the fact that we lose motivation for our current business.

Owning my marketing agency, I was slowly edging towards a point of depression since nothing I tried was working.

This state of being I was in left my mind open to solutions.

I had so much passion and determination to make the agency work.

In the early days, I was ecstatic to start because it felt like I finally found what I was meant to do.

Fast forward months later, my passion was concealed in a cloak of sadness and misery.

Whilst this was not working for me, it felt like the whole world around me was rotating as I stayed stagnant in my position.

This lack of motivation and passion for my craft turned into a hungry desire to seek something new.

That's when Condensr came in - the app that I ended up quitting almost two months ago for a few reasons outlined in this article.

For a while, Condensr was my lifeline, my passion that I worked on daily and it felt like nothing could steer me away from the vision I had.

However, I ended up meeting a similar fate as I did with the agency.

This fate has now led to me launching my first ever SaaS business - Hawk Prospecting.

Hawk Prospecting finally feels like the thing I was looking for since I started my entrepreneurial journey almost 2 years ago.

It's a blend of passion and hope that this small piece of software will transform and flourish into the dreams and goals I have in my mind.

Till now, I have not thought of looking into other ventures - although I would love to start more businesses and become a cereal (serial) entrepreneur, I understand the negative impacts of working on two things or more at the same time.

In fact, I'm doing that already writing this blog and working on my own SaaS startup.

Talk about hypocrisy, right?

How to avoid shiny object syndrome

Now that we understand what shiny object syndrome is, why shiny object syndrome is bad, and why it even happens, we're able to understand the measures required to stop it.

I've sat down and thought of the 5 best ways that one can overcome shiny object syndrome - with ease.

Set better goals

Shiny Object Syndrome: What It Is And How To Avoid It

Everyone has a goal. 

Wherever you look, you see people working towards their goals, be it positive or negative.

The issue is more closely related to how we set our goals.

When we're little, we have these cool goals of becoming athletes, doctors, lawyers, astronauts even.

However, these goal normally fall short (mainly because we grow up and realise we were never cut out for the job) because we don't set the right goals to reach our ultimate one.

For example, wanting to be a doctor requires that you do well in school, get good grades, study medicine at university, then you've got a chance at being a doctor.

However, we only talk about wanting to be a doctor, we don't talk about the goals and milestones we need to hit in order to get there.

Let's take a more relevant example: Hawk Prospecting.

With Hawk Prospecting, I want this to be the go-to software for salespeople and agencies.

I want to simplify sales and in turn, build a wildly lucrative business.

There's a good chance this won't happen if I stop there - I still haven't said how I'm going to get to my goal.

The reason this happens is simple:

  • I don't have a roadmap
  • I'll most likely get discouraged

This is where SMART goals come into play.

Setting SMART goals is a great way to set goals that you can reach - humans love reaching goals. It's motivating and exciting to set a goal and crush it.

When you crush your goals, you're essentially scoring points in the favour of your ultimate goal.

This is important because, like we've established, losing motivation leads to shiny object syndrome.

To overcome this, you just need to stay motivated, and the best way to do this is by setting and breaking your goals.

The goals we set must be approximately 4% outside our zone of comfort in order to challenge us, yet keep us motivated to reach them.

Say 'no' more often

Shiny Object Syndrome: What It Is And How To Avoid It

It's hard to say no to people, we think it's rude or they'll take it personally.

It's why, when searching for new clients, you'll get a lot of people ignoring you. 

They're probably too scared to say no - so they just ignore you instead.

However, we find it hard to say no to a lot of stuff, not just people.

You might see a new idea or project come to your attention. 

Your first instincts are to say yes and explore this idea.

This is where we usually go wrong - it's saying yes to everything that leads us to the trap of shiny object syndrome.

You'll want to learn to say no to a lot more things.

Set boundaries around what you focus on. If something doesn't align with your goals and vision, then your best bet is to say no to it right now.

There will always be new opportunities if you look for them, don't think that saying no to something means it's gone forever.

If there is a misalignment between the opportunity and your goals, you're most likely going to be wasting your time and energy chasing that new thing.

Practice saying no when something doesn't benefit you.

Say, for example, a group of friends want to go out to eat and you're at home working on a business.

They invite you but you're extremely busy.

Say no, explain your situation, and realise that this was not difficult nor was it the end of the world.

Saying no is normal - it could be the one thing that saves you from succumbing to shiny object syndrome.

Stay off the internet

Shiny Object Syndrome: What It Is And How To Avoid It

Not long ago, I talked about how social media negatively impacts us and why we should stay off it.

Surprise, surprise, it applies here again.

Social media and the internet, in general, is an extremely toxic place to be.

I understand you might need a break from work sometimes, and that is fine.

However, when was the last time you went on social media and came back refreshed or happy?

Social media is made to lure the weak-minded into acting out of fear.

They see trends, they follow.

They see a new business, they follow.

It's hard to shield yourself as an entrepreneur from social media, however, it's extremely important to limit your exposure to it when possible.

Try this out for a few weeks at least - don't go on social media and come back to this article and tell me how much better your mood was, and how much more focused you were able to be.

On social media, apparently, everyone is living the dream life - it makes you feel inferior, and the only way to join in is by following whatever they're doing or selling.

Don't fall for this trap, and you can avoid shiny object syndrome.

Stack the odds in your favor

Shiny Object Syndrome: What It Is And How To Avoid It

Every person in the world is unique in some sort of way.

It can be looks, talent, skills, height, voice, etc.

This is why some people are able to excel at one thing whilst others can't.

You can take two regular people, for example.

One person is 6 foot 8 inches whilst the other is 5 foot 7 inches.

Both of them have equal amounts of experience playing basketball.

you give both of them one month to learn to dunk.

The 6 foot 8 inches tall person learns to do it within a day, however, the 5 foot 7 inches tall person might never be able to.

His genetics are not made for playing basketball and dunking.

It's important to find a field where you excel at. It's counterintuitive to play a game where you're handicapped.

When you're disadvantaged, you're more likely to lose, and when you lose, you're more likely to get demotivated.

You slowly start slipping away and your shiny object syndrome kicks in.

Find a field where you naturally excel, a business you're naturally more suited for.

I believe I'm a great fit for Hawk Prospecting because I owned an agency for 6/7 months and was even a salesperson before that.

Therefore, I understand the pain points that these people face.

Decide strategically

Shiny Object Syndrome: What It Is And How To Avoid It

Finally, it's important to make the right decision at the right time.

Sometimes, you might have to say yes to certain opportunities, but it's important to know which are the right ones to say yes to.

Mark Zuckerberg introduced the idea of Facebook to a handful of people - out of these people, only a few agreed to help him build and scale Facebook.

These people, examples are Dustin Moskovitz and Eduardo Saverin, went on to become extremely successful with net-worths surpassing $20 Billion.

Imagine you were one of the people in that dorm room who missed out on Facebook.

This is when it's crucial to make strategic decisions.

To make decisions, I like referring to my favorite book, 'The Millionaire Fastlane.'

Author, MJ DeMarco, often refers to something known as the decision matrix.

It's a way to make decision logically, based on weighing up your choices and the factors that are important for that decision.

It would take a while to explain how the matrix works, and so here's an article that explains it in more detail.

These have been the 5 ways to avoid shiny object syndrome.

Did you enjoy this article, or learn something new?

Let me know in the comments below!

Till next time,



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