Does anyone else suffer from shiny object syndrome? No? Just me?
Several years ago, I realized that while I was great at starting projects, I was horrible at finishing them. I’m not referring to client projects, but projects for myself or my company.
To a certain extent, I can build my business and team around that strength/weakness combo. And I know plenty of people who have done that. But it seems like most people who do that hit a ceiling at some point.
The year I realized that I’d hit a ceiling—and why—was 2013. In the last few months of the year, a good friend of mine (Hi Athena!) shared with me that she was focusing on finishing projects for the rest of the year, not starting new ones.
I was shocked. I didn’t even realize not starting new projects was an option!
It was then I realized what had been holding me back. Up to that point in 2013, I had started approximately a bajillion projects, and had nothing to show for it!
I immediately vowed that 2014 was going to be the year I finished projects I had started. There were a couple things that helped me avoid shiny object syndrome during that year.
First, I’d heard an acronym that I liked, so I adopted it as my own.
F.O.C.U.S. = Follow One Course Until Success
Genius! Working through a prioritized list of my projects, I would do one thing at at time until the end of the year.
Second, I wrote a question on my white board that was extremely powerful, at least for me. And I followed it up with a directive.
Is this a distraction disguised as an opportunity? Don’t lie to yourself!
So how did it work out? I accomplished more things in 2014 than I’d ever accomplished in any year before.
- Increased my company’s recurring revenue by over 50%
- Finished and published two books
- Launched and sustained a podcast
- Took up a hobby of painting and painted 1 work of art each month
- Sold one of those paintings
- Had 17 speaking engagements during the year, where my previous record was 7
I don’t know what you accomplish in a year, but that was huge for me!
So maybe you do suffer from shiny object syndrome like I do. Perhaps you haven’t done anything about it. Or maybe you’ve built up processes and a team around your weakness, but you’re still hitting a ceiling.
Stop starting new projects, and start finishing them!