When we decide to start living our passion and pursuing the life we want, we’re usually bubbling with a mountain of ideas. We’re often extremely excited and it can be challenging to narrow our focus on any particular project at any particular time. After all, there’s a myriad of things to do! And, if that wasn’t enough, new information keeps appearing for us to digest and make sense of and somehow plug into our already hectic schedule of things. Argh!
It can be all too overwhelming and oftentimes we find it hard to dive deep on one or three things (maximum). When we are not completely absorbed in a few committed projects alone, we’re in danger of chasing after the next shiny one. And when that happens we all of a sudden end up, not very effectively, juggling too many balls.
I dub this the ‘shiny disco balls syndrome’.
Shiny disco balls syndrome is a serious condition.
When not treated, it can be responsible for stress, impatience, fear, anxiety, instability and feelings of pending failure and lack of control.
I remember when I first started out in business how many courses I wanted to study in order to improve my mindset. I wanted to do them all. And I did do all the free stuff that was available for a long time, consistently, one after the other, interspersed between the paid stuff I had committed to too. My weekends were spent in conference rooms, seminar theatres, mostly without the light of day, desperately absorbing anything I could. What it resulted in was not actually bedding in the learnings from the previous seminar. It meant there was no action, only knowledge. And without action, knowledge really is useless. Shiny, shiny disco balls syndrome had got me bad.
How do we cure this and prevent instances of shiny disco balls syndrome recurring?
A quick fix is already in the telling of this story; pick a maximum of three projects to focus on. Commit to focussing on them and them alone. This doesn’t mean you close yourself off to other possibilities, it just means you park starting anything new until you’re satisfied your other projects are complete.
Now let’s actually define what complete means. Completion is your official finalisation of or de-commitment from the project. It may be necessary to finish a project without having actually finished it, meaning, you need to give it up because it’s the wisest decision on earth (for example, a newer version of some software has trumped the one you’re implementing). In those cases, formerly advise everyone involved that that’s the decision made and the reasons why. That equals your formal de-commitment whilst still keeping noses in joint.
And, make sure your finalisation of the project is actually final. By this I mean tie up all your loose ends, dot all i’s and cross all t’s. Don’t do a ‘good enough is near enough’ approach just because the next shiny ball is calling you. Here’s a hint; define what the complete outcome is before you even start. That way you know exactly what you’re aiming for.
In sum, pick three projects and make them your focus. Define their outcomes up front. Park all other shiny, new disco balls until those projects are completed BUT allow your mind to be open and maintain an ability to listen to the whispers of the world.
Now I’d love to hear from you. What are your ideas for curing shiny disco balls syndrome? How do you get your focus to remain steely? Share with us in the comments below.
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