Friday, November 27th, 2020

Want Success? Conquer Bright Shiny Object Syndrome

By Karen Dodd on Jul 13 2011 • Filed under Business,New Clients by Design

For Business Success: avoid distraction of new ideas (Photo)

"Follow one course until successful."

I love this definition of focus by Robert Kiyosaki, author of Rich Dad, Poor Dad.

Recently, I was reminded of the need to focus on one thing consistently until it either works or you realize you need to change course. I’ve been struggling for more than four years now with a chronically painful condition that has been tentatively diagnosed as polymyalgia rheumatica. It’s basically a fancy name for inflammation of the muscles, often accompanied by crashing fatigue. To be honest, traditional doctors, including specialists, have not been that helpful and so I’ve largely been left to my own devices to figure out what helps and what doesn’t.

A couple of months ago, I had the good fortune of receiving a detailed plan of attack from a very good friend who happens to have his PhD. in the area in which I needed help. He spent hours and hours researching, compiling and then writing out a daily plan for me to follow. I started following it to a tee and actually started to feel some relief, when something odd happened.

At a party, I met a man who had the exact same condition that I supposedly have. We talked for about an hour and based on what he said he was doing to treat his situation, I came home and totally deviated from my plan. But, I CONSISTENTLY stuck to it!

What If You’re Consistently WRONG?

My interpretation of Robert Kiyosaki's definition of focus isn't that he meant to stay on that one track forever if it's not working! In my case, I was consistently going down the wrong track. A few days later when I met with my Ph.D friend, he asked me why I had stopped doing what appeared to be working.  I told him I was feeling desperate and was trying to take a shortcut to pain relief. Without emotionally beating me up, he sat down and drew me a diagram of exactly what he had suggested for me and how it worked. And then in big block letters he wrote, BE CONSISTENT! And told me to tape it to my bedside, where I take my medications and supplements.

The Trouble With BSOS

Bright Shiny Object Syndrome (BSOS) is probably the most significant factor that takes us off course, in business and in life. My BSOS was the possibility of quick relief of pain, based on what worked for somebody else.

In working with my clients, I see their BSOS,  that distracts them from what they need to do in their businesses, come in many different forms. It might be the myriad of creative projects that they have going on in their heads that prevents them from implementing the ONE that would give them the highest return on investment (ROI). Or, it might be that they follow too many experts who are telling them too many ways to market and grow their businesses.

Stay Open But On Track

The truth is that most of us won’t live long enough to implement all the wonderful ideas that are out there. But the only one that really matters is the one you follow and that works for you. So, pick a mentor whom you trust and follow what he or she is teaching you. Assuming you’ve done your due diligence, you should know if what they’re teaching has worked for them (and their clients) and so you don’t want to change horses mid-stream. Of course be open to new ideas as you go along, but here’s a great way to “park” them for later use and avoid BSOS.

Use a Mindmap

I call this my “vault,” where I can get all my creative ideas (or those of others) out of my head and onto paper. A mindmap can be as simple as a big white piece of bristle board with drawings or sticky notes, or it can be as sophisticated as Window’s SmartArt or OmniGraffle for Mac. Whatever works for you to remember your brilliance. Then, when you’ve completed your highest ROI project (and the money is rolling in or you’ve reached that goal) you can simply go to your mindmap and pick your next project.

My clients have gotten the greatest mileage from this and it has helped them focus on one thing until successful.


  1. Ah the shinny thing! I chased the Shinny Thing for four years – one empty promise after another for the quick fix for lots of money. My desperation had kept me jumping from one company to another, because I was not willing to commit to me. I was running away from owning my power, to discovering the more of who I am and using it to earn a living. Once I committed to owning my passion and taking it to profit … the shinny thing became me. As we honor our Talents, Abilities and Gifts, we have all the resources necessary to be flexible and relevant in this economy and to thrive. We have everything we need to live a rich and satisfying life right within.

  2. BSOS – I love it! Especially for entrepreneurs, BSOS is the hardest thing to control. There’s so many great ideas, possibilities and opportunities out there and entrepreneurs are hardwired to see them (that’s why they’re in business for themselves!) Using a mindmap is a great tool Karen – sometimes it just takes that visual to see whether or not it will take you toward your desires or away from them.

    Cathy Kuzel
    The Connected Woman

    • Thanks for such great input Cathy. As I always say, as entrepreneurs our strengths (being creative) and our weaknesses (being creative:>) are very close together. My only prayer of avoiding BSOS is having somewhere to do a major mind dump!


  1. Ask Erin: “Marketing When I’m Just Starting Out” by Erin Shell Anthony, MBA

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