How to Overcome Bright Shiny Object Syndrome

You constantly start things  … and never finish them. bright-shiny-object-syndromeYou get down on yourself about this, and then something pops up to grab your attention. You’re off chasing the next rainbow, the next silver bullet, the next dazzling idea that will change your world.

If this is you, you may suffer Bright Shiny Object Syndrome.

Bright Shiny Objects are everywhere!  They lure you in, distract you and take you or your business off your path.  And most frighteningly of all, they multiply exponentially.  They will take over your world … if you let them!

Bright Shiny Object Syndrome is rampant!  It causes you to get distracted by the latest fad, go off on tangents and lose focus.  Resulting in a huge in-tray of unfinished projects. BSO’s can seriously hijack you and cost you huge chunks of time, money, energy and resources.

Are any of these you?

  • You devour the latest diet craze … and never lose weight.
  • You take up the latest fitness fad … yet you’ve never worn out a pair of sneakers.
  • You purchased a ton of online programs … many of which you haven’t even started yet.
  • You’ve got the title for the book you’re going to write … but the outline is yet to be written, let alone the first chapter.
  • You’ve captured a gazillion business ideas … and one day you’ll take the plunge into self employment.
  • You have a dozen domain names … and no website.
  • You run in circles and feel constantly busy … yet your to-do list is as long at the end of the day as it was at the start.

You may justify being led off your path by thinking the BSO is helping you to be innovative.  Challenge the BSO to check if it delivers value (to yourself, your customer or your business).  If it does, it may be worth investigating it further.  If on the other hand, the BSO merely looks good but produces little in return, it is in the realm of fantasy.  Stay well clear!

A checklist to see if the BSO is a good fit for your personal or business strategic direction: 

  1. How will you benefit from this BSO? How will your customers or your business benefit?
  2. Can you afford to invest in the BSO?  Can you/your business afford it in terms of time, cost and resources?
  3. How will this BSO help you/your business to grow? What is the return on investment?

Ultimately, you need to decide if putting time into the BSO is worth the effort of not. You need to test its viability.  You  need to determine if you have both the time and the ability to comprehensively research the BSO, implement it and maintain it to a point where you realize the gains.

Once you’ve decided an idea IS a good fit and worth investing in, there’s the process to make sure you finish what you start!  You don’t want this good idea to be another one slowly flickering out to blackness in your BSO bin.

Your plan to beat BSOS:

  1. Decide.  Really decide.  This is NOT about having an intention to do something.  It is about making the commitment.  Commitment is absolute. Pure and simple.  You will do this, or you wont. Now is the time to make the decision if you’re in or if  you’re out.  If you decide you’re in, then move to the next step.  If you’re out, then move on with the rest of your life.
  2. Commit. Commit your time, resources and energy.  This phase is about putting the necessary time into your calendar, getting your Accountability Buddy primed and setting up your surroundings to support you for success on this idea.
  3. Start.  It doesn’t need to be a big start but you do need to start.  Many people don’t start because they feel it’s too big a step.  Do something, anything to kick off your idea.
  4. Take Action. Get moving on your idea.  It won’t happen by thinking about it, it’ll only happen by DOING something about it.
  5. Take More Action. You need to build momentum, and that will only happen by continuing to take action.  And plan your next action before you finish – when, where and how it will happen.  Don’t leave it to chance, lock it in to your schedule so your momentum is sustained.
  6. Push Through the Pain.  There comes a time when the gloss has worn off your Bright Shiny Object. It’s now dull, lifeless and boring.  It’s getting hard.  The next BSO is beckoning.  You’ll long for the excitement that the BSO brings.  But this is the point where you need to embrace how much this sucks, and keep marching forward.  Push through the pain barrier and understand that ‘life wasn’t wasn’t meant to be easy’ and that ‘success comes to those people who do what unsuccessful people don’t do’.  Don’t give in. Don’t  listen to your monkey chatter around the new BSO that is seducing you away.  Ignore the stories you tell yourself to rationalize why this current project is not worth the effort. Hold true.  Go back to your original analysis of this idea and why you started it in the first place. Stay true. Keep going.  If you quit now, you become a victim of BSOS and you’re better than that!  Embrace the pain, lean into it and you have a chance to beat the terrible affliction that is BSOS.
  7. Finish. Keep going until you finish.  And not before.  You don’t want this idea to be another unfinished project. Put more time aside in your calendar if you need; book a time to meet with your coach; lock yourself away all weekend … do what it takes to finish what you started. You deserve it.
  8. Celebrate. Whoo Hoo! You did it. You got to the end.  Enjoy it. Savour it. Relish the feeling.  It may not be the smashing success you hope it would be, but the fact you finished means you have broken Bright Shiny Object Syndrome and are wiser for it. You’ve learned, gained and benefited from the project, and in the process you’ve beat BSOS.  That’s pretty cool!
  9. Repeat.  Now that you’ve broken the cycle of BSOS, pick another activity on your strategic plan and invest in the same process.  Rinse and repeat. And continue to benefit from getting things done.

So, do what you say you are going to do. Finish what you start.  Become known as the person who follows through. Do it!

And beat BSOS once and for all.