Shiny Object Syndrome

(and How to Avoid It)

(Image Credit)


There were many reasons for starting this Testing the Muse blog, but one of the more selfish reasons was to satisfy a serious case of Shiny Object Syndrome.


Nod your head if some of these symptoms sound familiar:


  • Do you get so excited about new projects that you abandon existing ones?
  • Do you struggle making decisions and prioritizing?
  • Do you change direction in your business pretty often?


That’s Shiny Object Syndrome – or “SOS”, because when you’ve got it, you need help! SOS is named for the behaviour of chasing after a new, shiny object, then abandoning it once the newness has worn off. It’s the lure of novelty, or new things.


It’s not necessarily a bad trait. In fact, it’s very natural – especially for people who have an entrepreneurial spirit.


But when you’re starting a business, you have to be able to maintain focus on your goals in order to meet them. That can be hard because there are a ton of distractions in this world.


We’ve talked about overcoming the typical modern distractions like your cell phone, but distractions can even come from unexpected places. Even if you think you’re just starting a new project or making a change in your business, you could be suffering from Shiny Object Syndrome if you’re making too many changes too fast.



Why are Entrepreneurs so Prone to Shiny Object Syndrome?


As innovators, we’re naturally drawn to new things.


That’s wonderful when it comes to creating new business ventures, but it’s not so great if it turns into Shiny Object Syndrome.


People like entrepreneurs who start things from scratch can often get consumed by that desire to, well, start things.


This can lead to rapidly changing goals, confusion, and a waste of energy.



What does Shiny Object Syndrome look like in Business?


Shiny Object Syndrome can be death to a fledgling business.


When you chase new projects and abandon old ones, you never really get a chance to see how the old products would’ve worked out.


Many things like your website’s SEO strategy may not show measurable results for several months, so changing too often can be counterproductive.


Costs can really add up when you hop from new thing to new thing as well, since you’re constantly incurring startup costs.


When you change direction often, your staff can also get whiplash and be confused as to their duties.



How do you Beat Shiny Object Syndrome?


Aha, now we get into the heart of the matter. If you’ve been reading this whole article with a dawning sense of recognition and a growing feeling of dread, don’t worry. There’s hope.


Here’s four ways you can beat Shiny Object Syndrome:


Don’t be Hasty


Before you make any major decisions (especially ones to start something new), sit on them for a while. Take your time with the decision process, do your research, and make sure that shiny new idea is feasible and profitable for your company.


Play the Long Game


When you set your goals for your projects, always make sure to set long-term goals. It’s especially important to set times to measure the success of a project so you’ll be able to make an informed decision about abandoning or changing it.


Set High Stakes


If your goal is to encourage yourself to stick with projects, you need to make the cost of abandoning a project really high. So set the stakes high for abandonment so you will keep your project around long enough to really see results.


Consult the Team


One way to make sure that you’re not making hasty decisions influenced by SOS is to get the opinion of others. When you consult with your team, you’re delegating some of that decision making as well as avoiding running with a half-baked plan.



See? Not all hope is lost. You don’t have to fall victim to Shiny Object Syndrome. When you use these simple tips, you can stay focused on your goals and find success.


But when will you know you’ve reached “success”? How do you measure progress in your life?


With work or business, it might be a little easier because we could use our income as a benchmark. But what about our health, or our relationships, or our intellectual growth?


If we don’t measure those areas of life, it’s hard to improve them. You have to know where you are now before you can move beyond it.


And that’s why I’m sharing this awesome tool from New York Times bestselling author Michael Hyatt… the LifeScore Assessment™.


This online self-assessment is easy, quick, and effective in helping you measure where you are in each domain of your life. It shows you where you’re excelling and where you should focus your improvement efforts.


It’s the perfect complement to fighting Shiny Object Syndrome – particularly as we head into a new year…


But you can only get the assessment for a limited time. It’s FREE, so check it out today!




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