Linda Hughes, iempoweru May 2017

First of all, what is the curse of the entrepreneur? When I sit down to interview an entrepreneur, I ask them to tell me about their project. Almost without exception, they apologize, explaining that they have 2 or 3 projects they are working on, which would I like to know about first?

We all know it, even if we haven’t grouped the symptoms and given them a name. Some people call it “shiny object syndrome”, non-entrepreneurs and our mothers call it an inability to stay focused. Lots of phrases are used to describe it: multi-tasking, balls in the air. In the depths of an entrepreneur mood swing, I have even called mine mental illness. On the flip side of all this negativity, I prefer to think that we see opportunities in every air molecule. It is the desire to want to experience many things at once. Because we are too impatient to experience in a linear fashion, we just stack it all up at once and go for it. It is at once our greatest liability and our greatest asset. And no where near mental illness.

Why do I say lift instead of cure? Because the “curse” is not a disease, or a liability. If it can be lifted even blessed, then it can become our greatest asset, our greatest gift.

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#1: Know your core competencies.

Although important, this means more than knowing what skills you know and are good at in a certain industry. Most of us happened into a job or career path and stayed there because we became good at it, got paid well or saw a clear road to fame and fortune. Definitely take the time to catalog these things.

What is equally important to know is why were you good at it? And then, what are the other things that separate you from the pack? What are the things about you that make your world right? The things that satisfy every part of you?

How will this help you bless a current or future state of chaos?

If you can clearly identify these things, you can use them as a guide. Does your next shiny object stay true to your core? Then find a way to fit it in and keep on going. Does it deviate way off the mark with no hope of coming back? Might want to postpone that one for now, don’t abandon, just postpone.

Write it down though so you don’t forget. Matter of fact, write everything down to get it out of your head! Gotta leave room for more of the wonderful things you have yet to encounter!

#2: When in doubt, seek the experts.
Ok, true confessions time. Sometimes, when I want to spin off following another shiny object, it is because I am stumped on how to proceed on my current chosen path. I just flat out don’t know what to do next.

I have been experimenting with this one, so I think it is safe to say, when in this kind of doubt, go find the expert that can help you overcome this challenge.

#3: Do stay focused.

Until recently, I have hated that phrase. It reminds me of humiliating grade school parent-teacher conferences. Ever the optimist, I decided to see the flip side of it. Instead of the scowling teachers face, I now choose to see the successful completion of my current dream and all the fun that will come from achieving it. If I can just make a plan and stick to it, I can get to that completed dream.

It also helped to create a plan of action for these moments. I do the tasks I don’t like first, outsource what and when I can, and save the tasks I like to do for the last. I use them as a reward.

And once again, I write down the ideas I get that want to sidetrack me, you know, for later.

#4: Get a life.

It’s taken over half of my life to realize that not everything I like to do has to become a business. I think that is the negative consequence of reading Joseph Campbell’s “Follow Your Bliss” at too early of an age.

It is ok to have hobbies, matter of fact, it is okay to have lots of hobbies. It is okay to also do them just for the joy of doing them – NO other reason!

Just know that you will have to balance the time spent on hobbies and on your business. This is a choice you get to make. Swallow those complaints, because only you are in control of the choices you make.

There! Consider your curse lifted and your ventures blessed! Now, I gotta go, did you all see that shiny object over there? Onward and upward!