"Achievement Motivation and the dreaded Shiny Object Syndrome" by Vatsala Shukla

We live in a competitive society where the desire to do better or achieve more than others drives us to take action to attain our goal with a sense of ensuing pride and pleasure in one’s achievement. The type of motivation is called the Achievement Motive.

Here we’re looking at how the individual orients himself towards objects or conditions that he does not possess. If he values those objects and conditions, and feels he must possess them, then he would strive to perform to acquire them. He may then be regarded as having an achievement motive. For example, a student who values coming first in his class would be driven to work towards his goal and would have an achievement motive.

The student would have a disposition which is manifested in overt striving to study hard as he would perceive his performance as instrumental to a sense of personal accomplishment. In such cases, we can say that achievement motive moves or drives an individual to get involved in the mastery of difficult and challenging performances for the pursuit of excellence.

In fact, the desire to achieve is as basic and natural as other biological and socio-psychological needs. It is this need to achieve that acts as a springboard for the Achievement Motive.

But what happens when despite best efforts, the individual is not able to achieve their goal or their sense of success?

Frustration sets in and the effort to find relief and a solution leads them to start exploring new avenues or techniques and if the solution doesn’t come up quickly, the exploration continues until such time that the goal is on the backburner and the pursuit of shiny objects starts. The shiny object in such cases is perceived as the panacea to all their business problems.

And this, dear reader is fertile ground for shiny object syndrome to put down roots and germinate.

In a recent teleclass I told participants about how their desire to achieve goals could make them susceptible to the Shiny Object Syndrome if not monitored carefully. Whether you are a careerist or a business owner, you want to succeed and have a strong underlying Achievement Motive. When your actions are not giving the desired result, it is natural to start looking for alternative solutions because you have the end result in mind.

Objectivius Shinium Syndromus or what we call Shiny Object Syndrome is defined as the attraction to objects that exhibit a glassy, polished, gleaming or otherwise shiny appearance. Something as simple as a reflection in your peripheral vision may easily distract your attention. Over time, you’ll find that your attention to said object is directly correlated to its shininess and your attention fades as the shininess wears off.

In the process of clarity calls and communications with professionals who are trying to improve their career prospects as well as those in business who are searching for the secret ingredient that will turn their business into a success or make them more money, I’ve often heard of a new degree or technique that they are planning to or have started using and then they want to know why it isn’t giving results or a validation of their decision. They hop from one ‘next best thing’ to another and allow themselves to be distracted from doing what could yield the results they are looking for.

I almost went that route when I started The Karmic Ally Coaching Experience until I realized that I was spending time and money both of which are expensive commodities when misused for both my business and my life. A burnt finger here and there and I finally realized that it was important to stick to the goal and work out what was in alignment with my vision and purpose of my business.

After that I learned to say no to offers that sounded great during webinars but when I sat down to think about it and my budget, I realized that it didn’t really fit in with what I call ‘The Plan’ or the goals for my business. Nowadays I stick to what works for me and guess what, I have the energy and time to do it and have time for my family.

No more buyers’ remorse for me! No more Shiny Objects!

It takes practice but if I can do it, so can you. Through practice I’m also getting much better at avoiding the temptation to click on links that would previously have taken me off to affiliate links with offers and more offers if I tried to leave the page.

The bottom line is - Alignment with your goals and objectives is important.

Does Shiny Object Syndrome Apply to You?
Shiny Object Syndrome can mean different things to different people depending upon their disposition, attention span and frustration level. Here are 5 instances to get you thinking about it.


1. Do you get excited when you hear about a new tool, product, service, course, diploma or certification, system that promises quick returns or secrets to growing your list by thousands in less than 24 hours?


2. Are you ever distracted from doing what will help you achieve your business goals? In other words, have you ever spent your productive hours checking out new things that at the end of the day, you haven’t completed any activity that might have generated business or revenue for your business?


3. Have you ever attended a free webinar or teleclass thinking you’ll pick up a few pointers and that you won’t be buying anything but still end up buying courses because there are thousands of dollars of freebies and the affiliate that brought you to the freebie has promised some bonuses too, whether or not you really need them but just might? And you have to do it before the class ends?


4. Do you spend hours on social media checking the conversation because you have FOMO – Fear of Missing Out whether it is for leads, marketing or just getting more information?


5. You constantly start things, but never finish them because you move onto something new as soon as things get hard.


There are so many symptoms to shiny object syndrome. If you identified with any of these 5 instances or perhaps you have some of your own, you might admit that you are addicted to shiny objects. Or quite close to it.

And if you are suffering from Shiny Object Syndrome (SOS) then it could be costing you lots of time, money and energy. As well as seriously damaging your business. Just imagine what you’d achieve if you could take control… and how you’d feel…

I discuss how Inner Clutter could manifest as shiny object syndrome in my blog post Warning: Inner Clutter leads to Shiny Object Syndrome and I suggest you have a look at it because the Fear of Missing Out and high stress levels can create a situation of being attracted to Shiny Objects as a source of relief from our problem.

If you want to protect yourself and your business from Shiny Object Syndrome, the first place to start is with actions at a personal level and in your day to day activities.


3 Actions to stop Shiny Object Syndrome
At a personal level you want to stop wasting time and focus on your tasks at hand. You want to stop the distractions from interfering with productive work. There are many things that you can do at an individual or personal level but here are my top 3 that give instant results.


1. Create a scheduled time to check your emails and don’t open those emails until the end of the day to avoid seeing anything that will be a distraction or a sales pitch.


2. Opt out of lists that are not providing value and only send affiliate offers and switch off social media notifications. You really don’t need to know who poked you or who commented on your post until you log into your particular social media account and no, you don’t need to respond immediately.


3. Attend webinars or freebies that are only about the strategies that you are working on, whether for your professional development or business. Take into consideration that though it may be a free webinar if you understand that your time has value think about do you really need more training on this topic. These trainings will always be around in some form or the other but the time that you lose now is lost forever.


It takes time to embed these actions and make them into good habits and if you do slip off the wagon a couple of times, please don’t be hard on yourself. What is more important is to get right back into action, remember the reasons why you are applying these tips and you will win!



Vatsala Shukla is a Certified LIFE Coach, Master SPIRIT Life Coach and an FCA from ICAEW who worked in the corporate world for the Big Four Audit firms as well as for reputed companies in senior management positions in the Energy, Insurance and Hospitality industries for a quarter of a century before deciding to change career tracks because she wanted to make a difference in the lives of others rather than just the bottom lines of companies and Karmic Ally Coaching was born with a focus on corporate professionals and small business owners who need that much required breakthrough to take their career or business to the next level.

Vatsala’s coaching incorporates visualization techniques and exercises to facilitate holistic transformation in clients and co-create results from the very first coaching session. She’s also published 5 Kindle books in the personal and professional development genre that have received top honors in their categories.

You can visit Vatsala at her website www.karmicallycoaching.com and download your personal copy of her flagship ebook Self-Improvement Strategies – The Karmic Ally Coaching Way. This is a special workbook designed for the professional who prefers self help as a first option to finding solutions to problems, getting results and is really willing to become the change they want. You can also listen to the recording of the teleclass, Avoiding Shiny Object Syndrome for Business Success, that Vatsala mentions in her post at Avoiding Shiny Object Syndrom for Business Success

Link to ebook:
Your Self Improvement Strategy Starts Here!

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