Let’s play 2 truths and 1 lie: (1) Your passion projects are incomplete (so are the serious ones). (2) You have over a dozen inactive tabs open and can’t remember why. (3) Your closet could be the next best TV show but it always needs a spruce up. Did you spot the lie?
I’m a teacherpreneur but a decade ago it was nothing like this. I remember lying in bed one afternoon, feeling like I walked out of a storybook with some real-life issues. I’m not even a big fan of fairy tales, but somehow, I could relate to Snow White. I bit the apple and fell right into the sleeping curse of the Evil Queen. Here’s how the story goes:
My friends have always dubbed me as “the queen of internet research”. A title that inspires me, yet it’s a skill I developed partly from curiosity and having the shiny object syndrome. The situation where people focus undue attention on an idea that is new and trendy, yet drop this as soon as something new takes its place is known as the shiny object syndrome (SOS). It can travel with us from childhood into adulthood, and it looks different for every person.
When I was in the early stages of finding my “true calling”, I’d spend countless hours sourcing information on different career paths – aviation, criminology, cybersecurity, engineering among others. I had a digital pile of links, college applications and just enough of everything to host my own career fair.
However, what was lurking in the shadows was a heavy heart, weary eyes, brain fatigue, overwhelm and stress. Truth was I couldn’t picture myself for the long term in either of those careers. I constantly struggled to create a solid plan to start my pursuits. As a result, I kept throwing away the idea each time a bigger, better option piqued my interest. See the cycle?
After a few months, I started consulting with my friends. They helped me to analyse my interests, passions and skill set. I learned a big lesson, I needed CLARITY. In due time, I was saved, thanks to a few sessions of career coaching that helped me get and stay organized. This whole phase if I may compare was like meeting my magical dwarfs, I did some digging, self-discovery and was led to transformation.
Today I’m happy to share that teaching is my true love and true calling.
We’re all affected by the shiny object syndrome at least once in our lives. It can be in the early stages of building a business or choosing a career. The desire to become an entrepreneur in my career grew from the dream of tapping into my creativity and sharing my knowledge on a global scale. In the early stages, I ping-ponged on my ideas that led to procrastination and eventually, my detriment. I free-trialed and paid for dozens of courses, coaching programs, email marketing tools, and hosting platforms believing I had finally found “the one”. I wanted everything and anything that could take me from beginner to making waves and profits in no time. Once again, my life was starting to feel like a fairy tale.
Here’s how the shiny object syndrome shows up in daily life:
- You’re constantly sparked and highly energized by new ideas but you have a list of incomplete projects, job applications, courses, etc.
- You’re burning through cash like rapid-fire and seeing the benefits through for the long-term.
- You can’t stay focused on completing the task that actually needs to get done.
- You’re constantly changing the way you do things.
- Your VA or team feels a bit confused about their job functions.
- Overwhelm from being in pursuit of too many (new) trends, ideas or goals.
- Lack of focus
- Feelings of stress
- Experiences of frustration
- Frequently distracted
Tips To Overcome SOS :
- Give social media a break.
- Have a mini-board of trusted advisors. (Connect and consult with them).
- Assess and weigh the importance of each new shiny object.
- Limit the number of projects you’re committing to.
- Leave ideas in the parking lot (a wait-and-see approach).
To Your Happy Ever After…
Without pointing fingers at them, shiny objects do show up in our personal and professional lives, sometimes leaving us in such a state, we can’t see the forest for the trees. Therefore, it’s important to practice introspection and awareness, give set habits a pause and of course have people we can consult with when the journey feels lonely and daunting. I’ve been applying these tips to my life, and now I only give focus to the things that are necessary. Remember, the shiny object syndrome isn’t permanent. It does require us to apply patience to the process and most times learn to be satisfied with what we already have.
Sania Heath is a teacherpreneur, certified Language Nutrition Coach and creator of the Jet, Set, Spanish bilingual education and travel blog. When she’s not busy working with little learners, she enjoys writing to inspire and educate others from her many life lessons.