We have all been there. We plug along on our own paths at our own pace and then it hits us. Shiny Object Syndrome. Unfamiliar with the concept? You have seen it in action and may call it by other names but it’s easily recognizable. It can be applied to blogging, our jobs, and other facets in our lives. It is literally everywhere. There comes a point though when you have to grab the bull by the horns, take ownership of what you want, and focus. Shiny Object Syndrome may have its perks but it also can be detrimental to you.
What is Shiny Object Syndrome (S.O.S.)?
Simply put, S.O.S. is anything that is new that distracts you from the task at hand. It’s the new “It” thing that everyone is talking about, trying, or doing that leads you to question your own task at hand, your own methods of accomplishing things, and more. In my mind it is the eternal “What if…?” question; as in “What if I try this new product? Maybe it will help me achieve (x) faster or make me more money.” It’s the new technique, it’s the new gadget, it’s the new course that promises you a guaranteed result. Shiny Object Syndrome is tricky and deceiving. Its that niggling little voice in your head that sees something new and makes you question your abilities and your tactics. It can be mentally draining and even financially draining.
Examples of Shiny Object Syndrome as it Relates to Blogging
When you stop to think about it S.O.S. is pretty much rampant in the blogging world. Don’t believe me? Do any of these sound familiar?
Blogger vs. WordPress vs. Squarespace
All 3 of these blogging platforms are wonderful in their right and to be honest, each one has its drawbacks. No matter where you turn though you will find someone claiming one of them as THE platform to be on and you should be transferring your blog STAT.
Social Media Platforms
Take a moment and think about social media. There are many platforms where bloggers are made to feel that they should have an account. Remember last year when Periscope started? Snapchat then exploded onto the scene and if you’re not on that sharing your daily life then you’re behind the times. Should we even discuss our Instagram feeds? Do you have multiple accounts? One for you and one for your blog? Do you have a social media scheduling tool? Are you present throughout the day on all of your social media platforms? Are you posting at the perfect time to get the most engagement out of that tweet, that pin, that photo? Try this scheduler….no wait….try that one….there’s umpteen tools to try all in the name of keeping you present everywhere.
Content vs Courses
Many bigger name bloggers are fading their content out in favor of providing courses instead and teaching their tried and true methods of blogging. In fact I have read a few posts in the past few months that question whether blogging will be around anymore in the coming years. Are you still blogging? Did you start your email list yet? Are you building it? Are you offering content upgrades? No? Why not? You are? Great! Are you charging for it? No? Why not? Try this….try that….
Full Time Blogger vs Side Hustle
Do you have what it takes to ditch the day job and make your blog your main source of income? Are you content to keep your day job and be a part time blogger? Or are you the hobbyist blogger that just wants to show up when you want and have no added pressure? IT seems that everywhere you look you are being encouraged to monetize your blog.
Building a sense of community around your blog is wonderful and something you should strive for. Where you see this truly exploding though is in the realm of Facebook. It’s not enough to have a page for your blog but now it seems that the new trend is to have a Facebook group (which quite honestly, many are a great resource for its members).
Shiny Object Syndrome....we can all fall prey to it. Click To Tweet
Symptoms of Shiny Object Syndrome
- Failure to accomplish tasks or goals: We may not accomplish everything we set out to do but if you are never completing anything and always moving on to the next big thing you may have S.O.S.
- Overwhelm: You live in a constant state of overwhelm. There is always something on your plate and you keep adding more.
- Frustration: You feel like you can’t keep up with those around you. You started your blog to reflect you and your life. Keeping up with the Joneses in the blogging world will not reflect you. Don’t let what others are doing dictate what your vision is.
- Fear of Missing Out (FOMO): Have you met Shiny Object Syndrome’s relative? Fear of missing out is huge. You want to do IT or have IT because everyone else has IT. FOMO is rarely ever a good thing. Do something because you truly want to, not because everyone else is.
How You Can Avoid Shiny Object Syndrome
It’s hard not to ooh and aah over the next big thing that everyone is talking about and using to get results. That’s just human nature. Knowing the signs of S.O.S. will go a long way in helping you not fall victim to it.
Create a Vision Statement
What do you want your blog to be about? What is its purpose? What do you aim to do with every post you publish? By having a vision you will be able to keep the S.O.S. at bay. Will the S.O.S. keep you in line with that statement? If not, walk away from it.
By setting goals for yourself you are choosing what you want your end product to be. Stop and evaluate your goals often. Learn to be flexible and know that a goal is not always an absolute. Time and experience can change things but if you have a plan it will help you stay focused.
Pros and Cons
When you are attracted by that shiny new object sit down and make a list. Write the pros and cons of using it and determine if it is right for you. Evaluate the object from all angles. Will it save you time? Will you be able to utilize it properly? Can you afford it? Is there something less complicated or expensive that can yield the same results? Be honest with yourself.
Learn to Savor
Savoring the season you are in now will go a long way in keeping you in check. Savor your accomplishments and yes, savor your failures. Examine what worked and what didn’t and learn from those examples.
Find Your Tribe
Surrounding yourself with likeminded people and people that will encourage you and support you honestly is key. Bounce ideas off of each other, ask for advice and learn from each other.
Set a Time Frame
So you really, really want X. Set a time frame and if you still feel that strongly about wanting X then by all means go for it. Be sure that the Shiny Object isn’t an impulse move or buy.
Remove the Clutter
Our inboxes are loaded with emails promising results. Unsubscribe and clear the distractions. Remove the clutter from your inbox that makes you question your own ideas and methods and continue on the path that you have set for yourself.
Negative Effects of S.O.S.
- You may not accomplish anything in the quest to do it all. Choose one thing to focus on at a time and aim for that.
- Your self-esteem may suffer. If you get in over your head and go beyond your present skill set you risk getting down on yourself.
- There may be financial risks. It seems everywhere you turn you are being sold something. Buying into the Shiny Object Syndrome can be quite costly.
Is the Shiny Object Syndrome Always Bad?
No. As in life, all things done in moderation can be ok. You don’t have to avoid the S.O.S. at all costs. Perhaps you can utilize certain aspects of something and not go in 100%. By examining and truthfully evaluating the Shiny Object you may find that certain things may work for you. By embracing something new you may find a new skill set or you may find a streamlined process. S.O.S. may introduce you to new people and open new doors for you. It may force you outside of your comfort zone and you may find that it gives you the extra push you needed to tackle something new.
The key to finding the positives in S.O.S. is reviewing the purpose of the Shiny Object and asking yourself some pertinent questions.
- Can I accomplish the end result with something I currently have?
- Does this keep in line with my vision statement?
- Do I have the skill set to use this?
- Can I afford this?
- Are there certain parts that are a better fit for me than others?
The key to staying ahead of Shiny Object Syndrome is staying true to yourself and realizing one simple fact: progress takes time and hard work. Overnight success stories are few and far between. Learn your limits and your strengths and make them work for you. We all can admire the shiny objects that are constantly placed in our paths. Just don’t let them constantly dictate who you are and your choices.
How do you avoid Shiny Object Syndrome?