“Shiny Object Season” is here again

“Shiny Object Season” is here again

This is an adaptation of a post that I wrote just over a year ago – it feels like it’s “that time of year” again so I’m reposting it as it could act as a timely reminder for you.

The post last year was prompted by one of my clients posting in our Facebook group that she hadn’t had time to write a blog post that month.  “Something had to give” is what she said.   And as her business mentor I felt super proud of her.


Because it showed that she knew what actions were the most important in her business.  And which ones were “nice to do” but not critical to her success at that time.

And this made me reflect.   Because it is the end of May, and just as we are in spring and everything outdoors appears brighter, sunnier and richer in colour, so it is also springtime in my mentoring group and it is very much “shiny object season”.

shiny object syndrome

This is the time, about 4-5 months into a programme, when people start to feel that they are not seeing results quickly enough.   They stop trusting the process.    They are on the right path and there are green shoots and even major celebrations – but they still can’t quite see their destination up ahead – instead what they are glimpsing in the undergrowth around them is other people making more progress with a different strategy.  Or a different path that from afar looks clearer and more direct than theirs – maybe they should leave theirs and cut across to that one.  Or another teacher waving a shiny golden flag and promising endless riches if they just adopt his strategy instead.

And so at around this time my job as guide becomes just that – encouraging people to stick to their path.

And no random path either, but the path that they sat down with me and mapped out at the very beginning, that they knew in their heart was right for them.

Because if you keep changing path you will never reach your destination.

I recognise this “shiny object syndrome” so well because this used to be me before I learned that half of the secret to business success is focus.   I remember bouncing between wanting an online marketing business and a speaking business.  I thought it was essential I mastered blogging, social media and video marketing.   Every new teacher I came across had the answers.  And I was continually attending the next “must do” course that came along.  Learning continually but not actually moving forward.

In the end the real secret to my success wasn’t down the particular strategies I followed (although of course they helped).   It was working with a great mentor who got me to narrow down all the various things I was juggling unsuccessfully and boil it down to one simple strategy.  And then stick to it.  (And no, I wasn’t an overnight success either.  Like most people I started small and grew from there).

The truth is that one single business owner alone can’t implement all the different marketing and sales strategies that are out there.   

Yes, maybe one day you will have the team and the resources to do it all perfectly.
But until then – I’ve got news for you – you’ve got an “imperfect” business.   And within your imperfect business you can’t do it all.

The clients I see that are the most successful are the ones that choose one clear strategy and follow it – often a very simple one.

So simple in fact that most of you would take one look at it, decide it’s too simple and want to go off and make things complicated instead.  I’ve certainly seem this behaviour recently in a couple of my clients!

So this prompted me to decide to share a sage bit of advice based on my own experience and that of my clients.

If you are serious and committed to growing your business then here’s what I recommend:

1.  Choose a mentor or teacher to guide you.

And choose them carefully.

Above all you must trust and respect them – because if you don’t then you are not going to stick with the plan when the going gets tough (and it does get tough, even when you are fully on purpose)

2.   Sit down with them and set your direction or strategy for the next 3 – 6 months

This one is very important.   So I’ll repeat it.  Trust the process.

4.   Review regularly and adjust if necessary.   
But this should always be a conscious change of direction based on feedback from your market or clear evidence that something isn’t working – not because you’ve seen something glittering through the trees and have run off to see if it might get you there quicker.

It also doesn’t mean that there will be no further training – because in order to achieve your plan you might need to learn some new stuff – how to sell from the stage, how to market & run webinars, how to create videos that go viral.   But do this wisely.  As part of your overall strategy not because it is glittering at you full of the promise of riches.

Because there IS no magic bullet in business.  There IS no one shiny, solution that works for everyone.  If there was then we would ALL have super-successful businesses almost effortlessly – and it just doesn’t work like that.

What I see marks out the successes from the not-successes is the ability to stick to a plan and see it through without getting diverted by a “better idea” or a louder marketing message.

It reminds me of a fable I heard about woodpeckers chopping down trees:

“Peck, peck” go the woodpeckers.
“Oh, I’m not getting anywhere!  There’s another tree over there I think I’ll go and peck that one instead”.
“Peck, peck, peck”.
“Oh, this one is no better than the last – but that one over  there looks like it might be easier”

Meanwhile there is one lone woodpecker pecking and pecking and pecking away at just one tree.

Until the tree falls down

And all the other woodpeckers look round and ask themselves “Wow, look what he’s done, how the heck did he do that? What is his secret?”

With Love & Gratitude,


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