We’ve all been there. We wake up, prepared to start our day with intention and focus. We know our goals and are ready to take action.
A quick glance in our news feed suddenly reveals the latest list-building techniques, a new way to multiply our sales, or the latest software that promises to increase our productivity.
Suddenly, our focus shifts. We’re Googling for reviews, checking out their webpages, and we are signing up for webinars masked as “Master Classes”. You know the ones.
Some call it “Squirrel Syndrome”. Others call it “Shiny Object Syndrome”.
Whatever you call it, the concept is familiar to entrepreneurs: products, ideas, services, and conversations that effectively replace our plans and focus with doubts and second guessing. These are the things that make us pause and ask ourselves “Am I doing this right? Am I sure this is the best way?”
We fear that we don’t know all the things. We worry that there is a better, more efficient way. We question whether or not we have really thought of everything. Let’s call this by its less sexy name: Anxiety.
We’re scared and feeling insecure. We know that most new businesses fail in the first year and we worry that ours might be one of them. We start to feel a loss of control and we begin to doubt our capability. A shiny new thing captures our attention, distracts us from our intent and enables that doubt and worry to root and take hold.
That’s the moment that fear wins and we’re off to the races with impulsive decision making and unfocused action.
Believe in yourself more than your fear.
This is your antidote to every squirrel, shiny object, or distraction that crosses your path. The moment you catch yourself getting distracted by the new idea, product, or service, call it out for what it really is: your anxiety and your fear.
No, it is not a good idea. No, it isn’t something you need right now.
How can I be so sure? If it is important and really is necessary, it will still be there when you complete your planned project. Every time you enable new, fancy things to distract you, you are enabling your anxiety. You are allowing self-doubt to take hold. You are giving oxygen to self-limiting beliefs.
You become attracted to those shiny objects because they are momentary distractions from your doubt and worry. That fear and doubt is so uncomfortable that we want to move away from it as soon as possible.
Fear comes with entrepreneurship.
It’s unavoidable and managing it comes with the territory of building new dreams and new businesses.
Tune into your capability. Remind yourself of what you have been able to accomplish thus far. Ask yourself: “Is this new thing going to get me closer to my goal or further away? Am I willing to give this distraction permission to distort my plans and schedule?”
Related: 3 Ways to Overcome Fear Immediately
Once you slow yourself down and walk yourself through this decision-making process, it is easier to get re-calibrated and re-focused on what your goals are. You’ll remind yourself of the necessary action steps and it will be easier to move away from that shiny distraction.
You don’t have to know everything before you start. Entrepreneurs fall into this trap all the time. They fear that they don’t know enough to start and they tell themselves a story that they have to be an expert in their business before they can begin to take action. Shiny objects attach themselves to that fear. We tell ourselves that we need to know more, learn more, and somehow be more prepared.
That’s just another fear and self-limiting belief talking. We just need to know what’s next. We just have to learn the next step. We don’t need to know the steps for addressing something that’s three months ahead of where we are today. We just have to focus on what’s in front of us right now.
Every time we let a shiny object distract us from our plans for today and from what we are capable of achieving, fear wins and entrepreneurship loses. You have everything you need right in front of you. Get back to work.