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Do You Suffer from the Shiny Object Syndrome?

by Linda-Ann Stewart



shiny pennies


The Shiny Object Syndrome has many names: bright and shiny syndrome, bright penny syndrome, squirrel, or just plain scattered. Mainly, it's a condition in which you're distracted from working towards an objective by something new and different. This means that you don't complete what you were working on because you've abandoned it for something more attractive.

The Shiny Object Syndrome has also been called by its initials, "S.O.S." This term originally meant, "Save Our Ship," indicating a ship was in distress and urgently needed help. The same is true of the Shiny Object Syndrome. It's a signal to you that there's something amiss with your vision or plan, and you're going off course personally or professionally.

What Can Detour You

There are so many opportunities, ideas and temptations to divert you from your goal. Many times you get lured from a goal with a shiny object because you've gotten bored, stuck, dissatisfied or hit a snag. Rather than working through the issue, and sticking to your plan or practice, you jumped to something different that caught your attention and seemed to be more interesting.

For instance, you're cleaning out your garage, and get distracted by a lawn chair you want to fix. After pulling together all the materials for the repair, you find some old magazines you want to go through. You get sidetracked by each item you find, and don't finish the garage cleaning.

Or, in your business, you find yourself going through a dry period. Instead of doing what you know will bring you clients, you're introduced to a new marketing technique. While learning about and executing that new tactic, you decide to also add another service or product. All the time spent with the latest idea is time away from the tried and true, which means the original problem gets worse.

Why You Get Distracted

Your brain loves the excitement and stimulation of something new. That's why, when you're bored, you seek out a more exciting activity. Anything novel triggers the reward centers of your brain and makes you feel good. It could be something as simple as checking your email or getting a text on your phone. But it's a false sense of accomplishment and won't help you in the long term.

The problem is that when you chase the new and different, it creates confusion and stress. Rather than deliberately following through on your plan so you can learn and grow, you react to whatever shows up in your immediate vicinity. Your chaotic thinking keeps you from being deliberate in your decisions. Instead, you react based on old programming and information, and stay stuck in the same old rut.

How to Overcome S.O.S.

There are some definite steps you can take once you've noticed that you're spinning your wheels and getting nowhere. Here are some questions and steps to take.

Clarity. Figure out how you got off course. What's at the core of the issue? Are you avoiding something? If so, what and why? Once you've determined the issue, get clear on what it is you want.

Vision and plan. Your vision evolves from what you want. It's your destination in a year to three years. From that, you determine your plan of how to get there. Without a vision and plan, you'll continue to chase shiny objects.

Focus on priorities. What you focus on at any moment becomes your priority. Is your priority going to chase something new that triggers your reward circuit in the short term? Or are you going to work on more practical tasks that will allow you to get to the next step of your plan?

Dealing with the Shiny Object Syndrome isn't hopeless. With understanding of the cause, and some direction of how to tame it, you can overcome S.O.S. Recognizing the syndrome when it happens, and taking immediate action, will allow you to take charge and fulfill your goals and vision.

Copyright © 2009-2022 Linda Ann Stewart
All Rights Reserved

As a vision strategist, hypnotherapist, and speaker, Linda-Ann Stewart helps women entrepreneurs who feel stuck, immobilized and overwhelmed to gain clarity, focus, and get back in control so they're able to accelerate to the next level of their business. Watch her FREE training video on Set Your Course to Success: 4 steps to strategically achieve your goals with confidence and ease. Register for the video and accompanying action planning guide at www.SetYourCourseGuide.com. You can contact her at LAS@Linda-AnnStewart.com or 928-600-0452.


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