Is This My Next Step or is it a Shiny Object? How to Know…
A new idea, project, client, or business shows up in your life…
It’s exciting, right? The prospect of doing something new, the gift of another opportunity, the ability to stretch and grow in a different way. It’s a sign from the Universe that you should be moving in another direction, right?
Not so fast…
Every single day, I get presented with new, exciting ideas. Whether they pop into my head as I work out or they show up on my screen via Pinterest or Facebook, there’s always a new idea or project that is calling my name… and I used to give in to that. I used to see these ‘shiny objects’ as signs from the Universe: “Go this way… go that way… Follow that…” And you know what used to happen to me as a result? I’d get lost going down a rabbit hole only to come out having gotten NOTHING done.
Shiny Object Syndrome happens to all of us. It’ a real thing and a major crusher of dreams. What makes Shiny Object Syndrome (chasing after the next dream, goal or project while ditching the current one) so insidious is that, at first, it looks and feels like purpose. Initially, we see the Shiny Object as a sign from the Universe. We go after it with gusto and passion and think “Oh… that’s what I’m really meant to do…”
And then the gusto and passion wears off (like it does after the honeymoon of any goal or dream is over) and we wind up right back in the place where we started: having to do the work, not wanting to do the work, hoping for the next exciting thing to come along.
You may be wondering:
But how do I know if the idea that shows up is really a Shiny Object?
What if the idea that’s calling to me really is the next Apple, Spanx, Uber or Hay House?
What if I’m meant to stop focusing on what I’m now focusing on because this ‘new’ thing is the thing I’m really supposed to be doing right now?
Great question… Let’s get to it…
First of all, let’s work through three focus questions you need to ask yourself before you can decide if the new project is a Shiny Object or not.
1 Clarity About Your ONE Thing
What is your biggest goal this year?
What is the ONE thing that, if you were to accomplish this goal, it would have a positive domino effect on your life and would literally cause the achievement of all of your other dreams in a way that is easier and quicker to attain?
What is that ONE dream that you’ve wanted for years and know that you need to devote most of your focus and attention to?
Once you get clear on what your ONE Thing is, then you have to get clear about item #2.
2 Are you spending a MINIMUM of 4 hours a day working on your ONE Thing?
Let me get very clear here: 4 hours a day, 7 days a week working completely and entirely on your ONE Thing. Are you getting that done? Are your four hours a day (even if they’re broken up into smaller time chunks throughout the day) on your calendar? Have you been doing your four hours consistently, persistently over the last two to three months?
Any No answers to the above means even considering a ‘new’ idea is out of the question until you’ve done that. But let’s say you’ve been consistent on your four hours a day. It’s time to move to focus question #3.
3 What are your results so far?
If you’re not measuring your results daily, weekly and monthly(i.e. what you produce from each four hour time block, what your goals and milestones have been each step of the way, what you’re producing each week versus the goal you set for the weak, what tweaks you’ve made to strategy as you’ve looked at your weekly assessments), let me be VERY clear: your ‘next’ idea is probably going to fail. Unless you can measure and assess progress (which also allows you to change and shift strategy quickly), there’s no project that’s going to be massively successful. You won’t ever know if it’s successful because you don’t measure progress along the way.
Once you’ve answered the above questions and you’ve answered YES to all of them (Yes, I know what my ONE Thing is… Yes, I’ve worked on my ONE Thing for four hours a day, seven days a week for the past two to three months. Yes, I’ve been measuring my results every single week and month and I’ve been adjusting my strategy to get to the goal), THEN you stand in a strong position to evaluate whether this ‘new’ idea is something you should pursue right now or not.
Here’s how to know if the idea that’s being presented is something you MUST do or if it’s a Shiny Object you really need to put aside (at least for right now):
1 Decide if this new idea fits in with your long term vision (i.e. with the achievement of your ONE Thing, with where you want to be 2, 3, 4 and 5 years from now and with the lifestyle you want to live long term). For example, if you want to live a life where you work from home and sleep nine hours a night, setting a goal of being one of the top motivational speakers in the world doesn’t jive with your lifestyle goal. The top motivational speakers travel A LOT. They don’t work from home. They probably don’t get a lot of sleep while they’re traveling. Take a close look at whether the shiny object you’re thinking about pursuing aligns with your ONE Thing and the long term vision of your life. If it doesn’t, don’t pursue it.
2 Look at the root motivation underlying your desire to move in the direction of this shiny object. Do you want to pursue this ‘new’ thing because it’s meant for you… or because you’re bored with the current thing that was new a long time ago? Are you looking to develop a new skill… or are you having self-doubt about your ability to master what you’re currently working on? Are you tired of doing the work of your current goal and seeing no results or have you made the decision to let this goal go (prior to the shiny object showing up) and you’ve been keeping the space open for a new dream to appear in your life? Is this shiny object your next level of development or is it your means of escaping the hard work that must be done no matter what project you’re working on? You’ll know what your root motivation is simply by asking yourself these questions.
3 Did you achieve the goal(s) of the current project you’re working on? If the answer is ‘No’, I’m 99.9% sure that what you’re considering is a shiny object… and, if you have a history of being a starter (and not a finisher), you’ve probably developed the quitting habit somewhere along the way and this shiny object isn’t a gift; it’s a test to see if you’re going to be a finisher on the current project… or if you’re going to quit this one like you’ve done the last ten.
New projects feel amazing. The ability to see and seize a new opportunity brings with it a feeling of abundance, curiosity and interest that’s long gone from a project you’ve been working on for months or years. Yes, the shiny object is ultra-appealing but it’s also very deceptive.
The point of life is not to start a bunch of things that you never finish. The goal of life is not to be a Jack-Of-All-Trades. The mission of your life is to finish what you were put on this earth to finish and, as short as life is, it will take the bulk of your life to accomplish a few, very important things.
Do not waste your life chasing shiny objects. You were sent here on a mission. Be sure that you’re delivering on that commitment daily…
Want to take massive daily action… even in the presence of fear, doubt and shame?
Get my free cheat sheet that will teach you how to take daily massive action, even when you feel afraid, unsure, and unworthy of the best.