Entrepreneurs are, by definition, ideas, people and typically not very good at the detail & not very good completer/finishers. This puts them in the precarious position of getting bored if they don't get immediate results, and this can easily lead them to chase the next shiny new object!
In today’s podcast, I want to dig into this issue in more detail and share 7 strategies to getting focused and avoid chasing shiny new objects.
[01:29] A definition of Shiny New Object Syndrome
[02:00] What triggers Shiny New Object Syndrome
[02:03] Information overload and FOMO
[03:40] 4 drawbacks of being distracted by Shiny New Objects
[05:38] 7 strategies to help you stay focused and avoid shiny new objects
[05:53] Strategy 1: Have a plan, stick to it and revisit it regularly
[06:12] Strategy 2: Translate your plan into months, weeks and days
[06:26] Strategy 3: Use your plan to assess new ideas against
[07:13] Strategy 4: Write new ideas down to get them out of your head
[07:30] Strategy 5: Limit the number of projects you focus on
[07:58] Strategy 6: Limit the number of people, blogs or podcasts you listen to and get influenced by
[08:18] Strategy 7: Limit the amount of time you spend on social media and the channels you follow
[09:06] What is Monkey Mind and do you suffer from it?
[10:11] The consequences of having a Monkey Mind!
[10:40] Calming your Monkey Mind
[11:10] 3 ways to calm your Monkey Mind
[11:23] Tip 1: Know that it is possible to manage your Monkey Mind
[11:49] Tip 2: Have a conversation with your Monkey Mind
[12:05] Tip 3: Keep a journal
“A strategy you currently implement might not be sexy but don’t let shiny new objects distract you from that if it works.” - Rob Da Costa
“Get ideas out of your head by writing them down on paper. This means you won’t forget them but you can let them go and focus on the task at hand.” - Rob Da Costa
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This conversation has come up several times with my private clients in the last couple of weeks. So I thought I would record a podcast focusing on the dangers of chasing shiny new objects as entrepreneurs. We are, by definition, ideas, people and typically not very good at the detail or we're not very good at completed finishes. And this puts us in the precarious position of getting bored. If we don't get immediate results, this is also influenced by the massive amount of information around us that leads us to chase the next shiny new object.
So that's what today's podcast is about. So let's get on with the show. I'm Rob Da Costa, and this is The Agency Accelerator Podcast as someone who has stood in your shoes, having started growing and sold my agency and just how it feels in the ups and downs of agency life. So this podcast aims to ease your journey just a little by sharing my and my guest experiences and advice as you navigate your way to growing a profitable, sustainable and enjoyable business.
Now, before we jump into today's podcast, I want to let you know that today's episode is sponsored by my master class three ways to raise your agency's prices and profits without losing clients. I'm running this workshop four times this month in May. If you're listening to it live or you'll be able to watch a replay if you're not, so check out the link below and invest 60 minutes of your time to learn some practical strategies that you can begin implementing right away.
Okay, let's get on with the show. Let me start by giving you a definition of shiny new object syndrome. This is where whatever place you're currently standing feels quite difficult. And there seem to be so many other better options or solutions that you can pursue.
So you get seduced by these shiny new objects, and you follow them until there are the cycle repeats. Because now where you're standing, which is a different position, also feels difficult. It hasn't delivered the promised land, and so you're ready to follow the next shiny new object. Now. This can often be triggered because you have had the most brilliant idea and you think it's now or never that you need to get started working on it. So you hit the gas and you drive full speed into it.
Now, a few months in and you realise the idea ‘Well, actually, it wasn't as brilliant in practise.’ as it was in my head, and you're back to square one. But wait, ‘What happened?’ Well, a shiny new object, my friend, Shiny new object syndrome is what happened. Now can you relate to this? Because I certainly can. And I am super guilty of following shiny new objects and thinking the next idea is the one that's going to work because the current idea isn't working as well as I hope. I think.
As I said, it's the entrepreneurs' curse because our head is full of ideas. We've got monkey minds and we've always been great ideas people, but perhaps so not good, not so good on the detail or not. Good completely finishes me, which means that we lose steam and we get bored really easily. So I've become very aware of this for myself, and I've got a few strategies that I religiously follow now to stop me from following shiny new objects. And I want to share them with you today.
Now it doesn't help that we are bombarded by so much information, whether that be on social media, in newsletters that appear in our inbox or in discussion groups that were members of and so on.
And, of course, fear of missing out is a real thing. So if we don't jump on board with the latest thing, then we think we've missed the boat. There's TikTok and there's Snapchat and this Telegram. And, of course, you can't forget Clubhouse something that proves a shiny new object for me a couple of years back before I realised it was a bit of a dead-end. Now, in case you're thinking, I do suffer from shiny new object syndrome, but it's not such a bad idea.
In fact, it keeps fresh ideas in my head. Let me share with you a few big drawbacks of being distracted by shiny new objects. So number one is that you won't hit your goals. You know, when I pursue a shiny object without thinking about the consequences, what would it really take to drive this to the end? And how does this project idea align with my overarching goals? Then I guarantee you I almost always hit a dead end. The new ideas suck time, attention and other resources.
And since you have no Plan B backing it up, then when you do encounter a challenge or talk to you quickly call it quits faster than you can peel an orange. You can also bet that your core values or your main vision in your business will also suffer as your focus and your attention and resources get pulled elsewhere. So the second drawback is that's a recipe for health disasters since shiny new object syndrome and foam correlate, you'll end up feeling stress fatigue. You might have sleep problems on your plate as well, and this is always a direct result because of the dreaded foam and also shiny new objects.
Number three is that your productivity completely tanks, all thanks to the tendency to continue on with an endeavour ie. that shiny object after you've invested loads of time, money and other resources in it, even though maybe it's not working. Of course, now you're not focusing on your core things that might not be sexy, but other things that deliver you revenue and they are the things that are going to deliver your vision. And the fourth doubt drawback is that if you've got a team, it will stress your team out.
They will get really confused by you racing after bright, shiny objects that will cause stress for them because one day their primary goal is but then the next day you divert yours and their attention to plan B, so they don't really know whether they are coming or going. So since I'm sure that you are guilty of this as much as I am, I want to share with you a few ideas of what you can do to stay focused and dodge those shiny new objects. So you stay on track.
So I'm going to share with you seven strategies that you can start implementing to help you stay focused and avoid shining new objects. Number one is to have a plan and revisit it regularly. And you want to use this plan for your agency or your business as a framework to assess shiny new objects. By now, this plan is going to start off with a big broad plan, maybe a three-year vision, and you break that down into your year and then into your quarter.
And the second strategy is that you then need to translate that plan into months, weeks and in a day planner to really keep you focused. And I said, assess your shiny new objects against this plan. So that's really a strategy.
Number three, any time a shiny new object comes along, ask yourself, ‘How will this help me and my business? And how will it help me to deliver the plan?’ And if you're honest with yourself and it won't then let it go some additional questions that you could ask at this point include things like, ‘Do I have the time and resources to work on this shiny new object idea? How does it benefit my business or my team or my clients? Does it fit with my own personal motivations and drivers? Does it add value to my work, or is it a distraction?’ And lastly, ‘Is the ideal return on investment worth making an investment, too?’ And you need to be really honest about that and assess it against all of those questions, and you'll quickly negate out, probably or in if it does match all of those ideas.
Number four is to write new ideas and shiny new object ideas down so that you don't forget them. But you can get them out of your head so you can focus and get back to focusing on the task at hand. You want to do more due diligence and research ideas before you go headlong into starting a new project. And talking of that strategy.
Number five is to completely limit the number of new projects you take on when I'm doing vision work with clients, and we might be creating our quarter a month plan. They always have a limit about the number of projects they can focus on because I am completely aware that we've all got a limited amount of time and you want to really assess these shiny objects against that limited amount of projects to see. ‘Is it something that you should be pursuing? And is it aligned with your plan?’ Changing tack to bits.
Strategy Number six is to limit the number of people, podcasts or blogs that you get influenced by because for every one person that you listen to that tells you to go right, there's an equal amount of people telling you that left is the right answer. So pick one or two and hopefully my podcast is included in that and just focus on them.
And then strategy number seven is to limit the amount of time you spend on social media and the channels that you subscribe to so that you can continue your learning and get excited by ideas. But you limit that, and so that you keep focused on the ideas at hand.
Now it's worth really saying that often the position that we're in it feels difficult, and maybe some of the strategies we're implementing and not that sexy. I always talk about email marketing. Well, email marketing is something that everybody should be doing, but it may not feel that sexy. And when someone's telling you, that there is this amazing new strategy that you can be implementing. It's so easy to get seduced by that shiny new object park the tedious, mundane email marketing and then follow that and waste a tonne of time and money to end up back. Realise that email marketing is where it's at now.
One of the causes of shiny new object syndrome is having a monkey mind, which again many entrepreneurs have and suffer from now. Monkey mind comes from a Zen Buddhist term that's defined as having constant chatter that takes place in our heads. And this chatter it could be. You know that your mind reading a list of laundry items that you've got to do that you've got a mind full of ideas you just can't let go of which, of course, is the shiny new object syndrome.
You've got a mind recalling frustrating things that happened to you today or yesterday or last week, or you've got a mind that's judging things that going on in the present. Or perhaps you've got a mind that's catastrophising a load of what-if scenarios in the future that haven't happened that you start to believe and therefore you experience the emotions connected to them. All of these can be applied to a shiny new object where you play the idea forward, assuming a perfect world and the outcomes look amazing and Rosie and your world are full of money when you pursue this shiny new object. And, of course, sadly, that is very rarely true.
Now, as a result of the monkey mind, it's nearly impossible to slow down and enjoy the present and stay focused on the task at hand. And in addition, all of that clutter in our heads affects our mood, making us unhappy and angry and restless and anxious, and it hampers our ability to make genuine progress and focus on the task at hand and concentrate. So it's very stressful to have a barrel of monkeys screeching in our heads all day long.
And the good news is that there are some ways that you can calm your monkey mind. And if you are able to do that and tame your monkey, then it's going to give you clarity of mind. It's going to allow you to focus on the present and on the task at hand. It's going to stop you from chasing shiny new objects, and it will improve your quality of sleep, which is a really big one for me because I'm not a great sleeper and it will increase your sense of calm and well being.
And ultimately it will make you happier, which is something we should all be striving for. Now there's a whole bunch of things that you can do to tame your monkey mind. And I don't want to go into a tonne of detail in this podcast because that isn't really the topic. It's just a monkey mind that leads to a shiny new object. So let me just share with you quickly. Three ideas.
So, first of all, you need to know that the chaos in your head, your monkey mind can be tamed. This is the first step in your quest to calm your monkey mind, and that is to know that it's possible. It's very likely up until this point that you just allowed your monkey mind to run riot. But now you're going to put an end to that. After all, your thoughts don't rule you, but you rule your thoughts and you have control over them. So that's tip number one.
Tip number two is to start engaging with your monkey mind when your head's full and your monkey is in full swing. Then calm it down by having a conversation with it stop for a moment and be conscious to listen to what your monkey mind is saying. What's going on? What's that all about? And you can start to sort of rationalising it a bit.
And then the third strategy is to keep a journal to help you be more conscious of what's going on in your mind and to get some of those thoughts out of your mind onto paper so you can let go of them. So if you can tame your monkey mind if you can stay attached to your vision. If you can shut out foam. And if you can limit the number of people that you get influenced by, then you can start to get laser-focused on the task at hand and things will genuinely move forward and you'll be able to build a team that works in parallel with you because we are working towards a common goal now.
None of this is to say that you shouldn't be an ideas person, but it's just to say that you need to assess an idea against your vision, and you need to be able to really quickly discount it in or out, and if you discount it in, then you if you count it in rather than you need to put it on a plan for future exploration. And if you follow the tips in today's podcast, then you're going to be well on your way to achieving that.
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Other than that, I hope you have an amazing rest of your week and that it is super focused and void of any shiny new objects. And I'll see you next week for the next episode of The Agency Accelerator Podcast.