“Shiny Object Syndrome.” If it could be diagnosed professionally then I most definitely would have it. I get so excited about new ideas and I catch myself sometimes jumping right into them while dropping everything else around me. What I’ve learned… This is not very wise.
I’ve spoken to many creative minded people who suffer from this problem. However, what I’ve been learning is that it doesn’t necessarily have to be a “problem”. In fact, I think if harnessed correctly there are many organizations that seek this quality in an employee.
As an entrepreneur, I also think this can be used effectively, as long as it doesn’t take away from building your business.
By this, I mean that you should be building something you’re passionate about so that new ideas always end up revolving around the underlying goal. For instance, If you’re on fire for robotics and have dedicated time and effort to your main robotics business, why would you drop that to build a carpentry business. I get that there are many people who come across a complete interest switch, but I don’t think you’ll ever build anything if you continuously have these switches. I’ve come up with a few points that I’ve decided to hold myself accountable to in order to maintain creativity and growth at the same time.
1.) Side Projects Can Benefit Your Main Business
Yes, this makes a lot of sense but even I forget this at times. Why do you think so many successful entrepreneurs come out with books or podcasts? Yes, it brings value to many people and they can find fulfillment in that, but ultimately these side projects are building on the brand that has already been established. Another example would be hosting a conference or meetup for people in the same area as your business.
2.) Understand Your Vision
If you don’t yet have a plan, get one. Any idea without a plan is just a wish and once you have a plan it’s much easier to see potential for other projects and interests to get in the way of that. I understand that plans change, and we should never be completely attached to the plans of our heart, but I also think it’s crucial to do your best to pursue a goal and have motives that will drive you to be in a good position to get there.
3.) Seek guidance
I find that it’s easy for someone else to look from their perspective and determine whether a new project represents who you are and aligns with what you’re trying to accomplish in the long run. A solid mentor who has known you for a while is always a good person to ask and seek for wisdom in times like this. If someone truly cares about you, they should not be afraid to tell you the truth. When they do, take the guidance and reflect on it with gratitude that God has placed someone in your life to give you advice like that. Sometimes their advice may force you to look at pursuing this project from a completely different perspective which can be very beneficial.
In conclusion, I wouldn’t say NO to pursuing that next idea that you have. However, from what I’ve experienced so far it’s best to take on similar projects that align with things you are already pursuing. Understanding where you want to see yourself in the long run is a great way to look at whether a project will be beneficial to you or not.