The Shiny Object Cure

hustle mindset process Mar 05, 2020

Shiny Object Syndrome is when we’re humming along and suddenly switch from our plan to impulsive decision making and unfocused action.

Ideas, products, services all pop their heads in to say hello and replace our focus with doubts and second guessing. 

“Am I doing this right? Is this the best way? What if I’ve missed something?”

It’s part FOMO and part anxiety that we aren’t ready, that we don’t know enough. We know many small businesses fail and that we’re responsible for the final decision. So from this place of uncertainty, we doubt our capabilities.

When a Shiny Object catches your eye, it distracts you from your goal and clears a space for that Doubt and Worry to get comfortable.


My Shiny Object Cure

This is a Mindset and Action exercise that makes it easy to break the cycle of distraction.

First Dose: Mindset

Slow yourself down and walk through this quick decision process. This makes it easier to get re-calibrated and re-focused on your goal.


Call It Out

Learn to take a step back when you feel yourself getting distracted by a Shiny Object. This is often the most challenging step because you’re dazzled by whatever has distracted you. 

When you catch yourself, call it out for what it really is: Anxiety and Fear.


Ask Yourself

Sometimes the Shiny Object is in fact valuable to you. The question to ask yourself is about NOW.

  • Is this something you need right now? Probably not.
  • Think about implementation… How much effort will it take to stop the current method and switch over to the Shiny Object?
  • Am I willing to give this distraction permission to distort my plans and schedule?

You don’t have to toss the idea completely. Just put it in the backlog until you complete what you’re working on. Staying the course you’ve planned is better than upending it in the middle of the project. 


What’s The Real Fear?

Under your attraction to that Shiny Object is a fear or limiting belief that what you’re doing now is flawed. 

The problem is, shiny objects are super nutritious for limiting beliefs. 

It’s worth taking the time to self-examine and identify what’s driving that uncertainty. It’s the best way to find the resistance and lean into that fear and doubt. 

Examining our fear and doubt is uncomfortable.

Is your goal worth that temporary discomfort?

Fear and Entrepreneurship go hand in hand. Managing that fear is a necessary skill for innovators.



Second Dose: Action

The best behavior changes happen when mindset and action work together. After slowing down and deciding if this Shiny Object really is what you need right now, it’s important to make time for review.


Capture Your Ideas

Write every business, marketing, blog, etc idea that you have throughout the day with a running list. 

I keep mine on my phone that syncs across my devices, so it’s always with me. Sometimes I’ll use text to speech if I’m in a hurry. 

When something new pops into my head, I get it down and then immediately go back to whatever I was doing. 

Capturing ideas means you can review them later. It’s also a good way to train your brain that just because you’re not taking an idea now doesn’t mean it’s useless. 


Build In Development Time

It only takes me about 30 minutes a day to review ideas. I like to sleep on them, so I review yesterday’s ideas in the morning when I’m feeling creative.

Because it’s on my phone, I can review them anywhere. I don’t really have to interrupt my day because it becomes integrated quickly. 

You can categorize what you’ve captured into three simple areas:

Good Idea, Not Right Now/More Research, and Not a Good Idea.


Make it a habit to collect these wherever you keep your strategic planning notes and ideas. You’ll love having this list of ideas when you’re in planning mode. 

When you review your list of Good Ideas, it’s good to let them sit for a moment. I use a weekly schedule. I block 1 day a week to do upmind business work, such as reviewing the Good Ideas. 

By waiting, when I have my next Idea Day in 7 days, if I’m still excited about the idea and certain that it will help my business, Ill make a plan to execute it. If not, then the idea falls onto the back burner until it’s needed.


The mark of a good idea is its answer to the question “Does this take me closer to reaching my ultimate business goals?”

If it does, go for it. If it doesn’t, let it sit on your idea list a little longer. Some ideas might need to stay on your backlog until a better time. Both are valid options.


You don’t have to know everything before you start. Entrepreneurs fall into this trap all the time. We fear we don’t know enough to start and decide we must be experts before we can take action. We tell ourselves that we need to know more, learn more, and somehow be more prepared.

That’s Shiny Object bait.

You can see it’s fear and self-limiting belief though. All you really need to know is the next step to take. Not the next five or even two. Focus on what is in front of you right now. 

You have everything you need

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