Don’t Catch The Shiny Thing Syndrome (The STS)
In business its easy to get distracted and take a new path or opportunity thinking - this is the one!
Of all the things that are big obstacles to success. I think the one that is the most frustrating for clients (rather than scary or stressful) is when The Shiny Thing Syndrome hits.
Don’t know The Shiny Thing Syndrome?
The STS (Shiny Thing Syndrome) is when you are working towards your goal and then a new idea, new opportunity, or a new “expert” comes along and you think “Oooo this could work faster, easier, with less work, money, time, effort.” Basically, the idea takes weight in your mind that the course of action you are taking is not going to get you to your dream destination and that you need to look somewhere else to get the results you want. And before you know it you’ve signed up to a new course, a new way of thinking, the next “guru” or book that has all the answers. And guess what?
3 to 6 months later you are starting to lose momentum with what this course of action required and are already looking around thinking things like;
- “That looks like it could work.”
- “They seem to have it sussed, I wonder what they did to succeed and if I should copy them?”
- “I really don’t know if this is the right product/service/person to be going for.”
- “I don’t think I’m getting the results I want because I’m not going for the right things, I should try something else.”
- “They seem to be getting there faster than me, I wonder what their secret to success is?”
Whatever your train of thought it will be a pattern of thinking that takes you away from your action and focus and in a new direction. Hence the “oooo shiny thing syndrome” because you are easily getting distracted to move in a new direction and not stick with what you are doing.
Why is this such an obstacle to success? Because if you keep moving in new directions all of the time you can end up going around in circles, never getting anywhere!
So the next time The STS hits what can you do about it?;
One of the reasons we flit from one idea, goal, target, guru to another is because we lose sight of what matters to us. We are so keen to learn and strive for greatness that we forget to remember our brain has not read the memo and doesn’t know you are supposed to be achieving according to someone else’s definition of success. As such before you choose even one action you need to know what matters to you most. Because when you know what your driving forces are in life then you keep moving towards them.
ACTION; think about something right now that you care passionately about. Maybe it’s your partner, your dog, your kids, animal welfare, and end to starvation, a charity or a cause. Now imagine someone suggested you dump that and go for the Anti Oxygen Society as the thing you care most about. Crazy notion right?
Now bring it back and think about that thing you care about with all of your heart and mind, on a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being the most powerful);
- How passionate do you feel about the actions and goals you have in your life?
- Do they give you the same rush of passion, love, determination and desire to support it as the thing you care passionately about?
If not then you are not living to your core values. In chapter 1 of my book Fight the fear, there’s an exercise that will take you between 20 minutes and 1 hour, go back and do that now. And if you have already done this exercise, do it again! (Your core values could have altered or you haven’t appreciated their value to your success.) You can not achieve what your heart does not truly desire.
- Clear Goals
It’s all well and good to create goals, however, are they so crystal clear that you can feel like they already exist?
From the age of 8, I wanted to be a published author, and despite serious illness and only working part time I knew with every fibre of my being it was going to happen. Now, this is not just magic thinking, or the power of the secret. Yes, it started with a goal I would do anything to achieve, however it then had the right actions and beliefs to ensure I worked tirelessly and without fault to that goal.
ACTION; We will look at your actions in more detail in top tip 4 and top tip 6, however for now ask yourself;
- Is my goal in line with my values?
- Have I laid out clear actions to achieve it?
- Do I understand what it will feel like to achieve this?
- Do I appreciate what I will NOT look at to get to this result?
- What do I need to do to understand how to reach my goal?
This one is where you really only notice you’ve slipped from positive action to negative action when it’s too late because it doesn’t feel like you are doing anything wrong. If anything it can feel like you are taking control and stepping it up a gear. However one of the quickest ways to Shiny Thing Syndrome is to listen to every new idea that comes along. As much as there are tonnes of great books out there, with the best will in the world you can only physically read one word at a time, so taking on 10 books with 10 lots of actions, ideas and opinions is not going to work.
One thing at a time. And that means ignoring the rest. It doesn’t mean forever, however it does mean that you don’t keep looking over your shoulder for a faster, easier, quicker way to get where you want to get.
ACTION; So ignore other experts, for now, ignore other ideas, ignore new ways and most importantly at this stage ignore the competition. They are on their path and you are on yours. And as we’ve already established if you keep changing direction you end up going in circles, and like wise if you keep jumping on other people’s paths you get other people’s destinations!
You wouldn’t arrive at the airport and say “I will go where he is going” oblivious to the destination of the man in front of you in the queue, so why do it with your success? You are on your path, heading in your direction. By ignoring everyone else for a while you can concentrate on getting there. Remember with success there has to come failure. And you can’t know if you are on the right path until you have actually travelled on it. Changing lanes gives you no information to enable you to appreciate what really works for you.
You have probably heard from a lot of experts that you need to be focused right? And another reason the STS hits is because you start to question if this is the right way to go;
- “Am I concentrating on the right things?”
- “Should I try this instead?” etc, etc.
As we looked at in Top Tip 3 you need to explore one path at a time. Experience the failure so that you can understand;
- “What worked?”
- “What do I need to improve?”
- “What have I learnt from this?”
ACTION; When you remember that staying focused on the plan of action you have decided on you can challenge yourself with questions like;
- “If I don’t keep going with the actions I laid out, what am I agreeing to?”
- “If I change focus now what am I agreeing to?”
- Am I scared to keep going on procrastinating about doing this?
And you are likely to discover you are agreeing to confusion, procrastination and worry that you are doing the wrong thing or that it is not going to work. The only way you can know if it is going to work is by actually sticking with it. (And there is more advice about that in top tip 6)
- One size actually fits all (sometimes!)
A quick search on Google showed me that there are literally hundreds of diets that I could use. And yet still new ones are invented, why? Ultimately our bodies still have the same components in it that they had in them 50 years ago so why the new diet trends? Because we don’t want to do what we need to do.
The fact is that actually to a degree one size does fit all when it comes to weight loss – as one friend put it (a bit crudely!)“You’ve got to move more, eat less and go to the loo more” That’s it. No rocket science. And yet if to lose weight it just takes 13 words why is the diet industry worth over $60 billion dollars! It reinforces that one size can fit all.
ACTION; Stop doing new stuff and stick with what needs to be done. It is highly likely you’ve heard the saying that is reported to have come from Einstein (but just as likely to be Franklin, Twain or Rita Mae Brown!) “The definition of insanity is to do the same thing and expect different results.” And yet we’ve become so obsessed with the idea of doing new things that we forget to keep going. Remember 1 more book, 1 more expert, 1 new opportunity is all distracting you. Therefore become aware of your desire to go for something new all of the time;
When does it happen?
Is it within weeks of getting started with a goal?”
“Is it when things get tough, scary or out of your comfort zone?”
Instead of moving in a new direction, tackle the underlining cause of distraction and redirection.
When The STS hits you how will you stay accountable? It is all too easy to turn to your new idea, guru, book and say “this last idea didn’t get me to where I wanted to go, you will won’t you!”
ACTION; Before you move on again, stop and ask yourself (honestly) if you are taking responsibility and ownership;
- Have you really done all that you said you would?
- Have you really challenged your mindset and actions to get to where you want to go?
- If not who and what could help you?
Remember your environment can impact on your actions and The STS as much as your attitude and belief, thus;
- Look around you, are you with the right people?
- Do they support you, give you faith and belief that you can achieve?
- Or are they constantly throwing new information at you, when you’ve not finished processing the last lot?
Mastermind groups, networking groups, friends, relatives, colleagues, can all come under these categories; ie they are either going to help you stay focused and accountable for the end result or they are going to distract you with ideas like;
- “Well it was a lot to ask of yourself”
- “I didn’t think you really wanted this”
- “We still love you even if you don’t achieve your goal”
- “It’s not for everyone.”
Remember other people are on their own agenda, and because they love and care about you (or want the opportunity themselves!) they may wish you to stop going for your goals and sometimes that desire is subconscious so they don’t’ even know they are doing this to you!
Do you remember as a child when things got tough, you would turn to your parents and either cry, whinge, or share your fears that you’d never be able to do it?
And what did your parents do? They reassured you, they showed you they believed in you and they encouraged you to keep going. None of us get up and walk for the first time without a few slips. And your parents had no way of knowing completely that you could do it. It was their job to encourage, motivate and support so you kept believing in yourself. Just think of it like riding a bike, how tough did that feel? Have you ever taught a child to ride a bike? It can be really tough to work out what to say or do so you just keep encouraging and supporting, who is doing that for you now?
- Just do it.
Ultimately The STS is about negative emotions hitting you and making you question and second guess your choice of action and goal. And as scary as it can be to step out of your comfort zone or to keep going when you don’t feel like you are getting somewhere you have to “just do it”. There’s a reason why Nike is still using that tagline, because ultimately when it comes to succeeding that is what your success needs.
No one gets on the track and runs their personal best the first time. Formula 1 racing drivers don’t start in F1 Cars, they start in go carts!
ACTION: Just do it! I appreciate that you might be thinking “That is easier said than done Mandie!” okay so ask yourself;
- “For what reason is that easier said than done?”
- “What fear is underlining your lack of action and just getting on with it?
Fight that fear, because ultimately I believe in you, I’ve seen people like you take responsibility, ownership, set the goals, live to their core values, adjust their beliefs and achieve big, so what evidence are you relying on to the contrary? And if you need new people in your team to ensure you get there, feel free to give me a call anytime.