I was so excited! I wanted to take part in every single thing I found to grow my business. I wanted to:
sign up for every business course available
go to every entrepreneurial meet-up
talk to everyone who had quit their 9-5 and ask them to share their story
However, I soon realized (as you might expect) that I was going to burnout if I kept going at a breakneck pace. I was suffering from a serious case of the shiny object syndrome (SOS).
“Variety is the spice of life. But if you – like me – view the world as an exciting buffet of opportunities to learn, try and create new things, you know that variety can be dangerous.
The problem is that it’s easy to get distracted from the goals and commitments you’ve already made. Rather than seeing things through to completion, you abandon the goals and projects you’ve already started to chase after whatever new thing has just caught your eye.” – Jack Canfield
There were three solutions that helped me find my centre, ground myself, and not run after every new thing presented to me (especially when it comes to advertising options). Ironically, I quit my 9-5 to start my business because I wanted to work on fewer things … those things that made the most sense to my heart, talents, and abilities.
Shiny object syndrome is the exact opposite of that goal.
Here’s how I got back on track.
1. Follow a low information diet
There is this misconception that we need to consume more information and that if we don’t, we are going to fall behind. So, we end up reading a lot and doing absolutely nothing!
The problem with this is that you don’t actually have time to implement any of the stuff you read about. This is an absolute waste if you think about it.
I have been a proponent of the low-information diet for a long time now. Yes, I do get hit by FOMO every now and then, but at least I am not running around aimlessly like a chicken with its head cut off. Here’s how I’ve implemented my low-information diet:
Unsubscribe from everything: Yes, I know. It’s a scary prospect. It makes my skin crawl to think of all of the emails with nuggets of wisdom I am missing out on, but email is a major time suck.
Eliminate Facebook ad browsing: I find Facebook ads to be so shiny and enticing. There are people selling all sorts of beautiful and interesting courses that I could partake in and essentially distract myself from doing the work.
Read for 10 minutes a day: I read a book for ten minutes every morning. It might be Napoleon Hill’s ‘Think and Grow Rich’ or Steven Pressfield’s ‘The War Of Art’ (both are absolute classics). Besides that time I set aside I do not read at all. I love to read, but I find myself reading as a distraction from doing necessary work.
2. Stop signing up for online courses
This is a huge one, especially for first-time entrepreneurs. We think to ourselves: “If I just sign up for one more course I will discover the holy grail of entrepreneurial success!”
It is absolute nonsense! Instead we are distracting ourselves from doing real work. What we need to do is sit down, do the essential work for our business, and keep distractions to a minimum.
When new entrepreneurs complain of burnout, it isn’t because they have too much work. It’s because they have distracted themselves from the important work. The only thing that will bring success is action, persistence, and patience. Long-term consistent action towards our goals will make us profitable — not short-term shiny new objects!
3. Create meditation and mindfulness habits
Shiny object syndrome is basically about escaping the precious present moment and sprinting toward a potentially brighter future (which doesn’t exist, by the way). There’s power in staying present and doubling down on today’s right actions.
Meditation and mindfulness can help us stay in the present moment, embrace it, and stay grounded. It is so important as a new entrepreneurs to have a self-care routine set up right from the beginning, because our lives are generally the first thing to slide off the rails when push comes to shove. We forget to take care of our mind, body and spirit.
Sit down every morning for five minutes. Download a free app like Stop, Breathe, Think. Inhale and exhale slowly. Stay in the present moment because it’s the only moment we really have.
These are three primary ways I avoid shiny object syndrome (SOS) and stay in the moment. Entrepreneurship is a marathon, not a sprint. But most of us run it as if we are going to get it all done in a day (or a month).
Don’t torture yourself with these absurd thoughts. Consistency over a long period of time will get you there. Keep on going, my friend. The road is long, but the fruit at the end is absolutely worth it!
This article has been edited and condensed.
Shikha Dhawan (a.k.a. Boom Shikha), The Millionaire Hippie, is a serial entrepreneur, wanderluster, online business owner, yogi, author, and avid meditator. She’s interested in helping you find your life purpose, and getting to your level 10 life. Join her free private Facebook group at whatsyourfreedomnumber.com. Connect with @shikhadhawan1 on Twitter.
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