I love my younger brother, Tony. He’s the baby of the family so my sister and I pick on him a lot, but it’s only because we really love him. If I had to choose a phrase to describe my brother it would probably be, “something shiny.”
You see, Tony has ADD, and probably ADHD ;), and while that’s nothing to joke about because it can be serious and a real struggle for people, it’s been pretty hilarious at times watching Tony trying to focus. He literally gets distracted by shiny things…and it makes me smile. (I asked him if I could share this by the way.)
But then I got to thinking. Tony and I aren’t that different when it comes to attention spans. We both get distracted by shiny things. While he may get distracted by actual shiny things, I get easily distracted by shiny, new opportunities.
Have you ever had those “something shiny” moments? Those moments where you’re really focused on something, you’re really into a conversation or something and then all of a sudden, out of the corner of your eye (or your brain) you see something shiny? It becomes almost impossible to continue focusing on what you were so into and it takes every muscle in your retina to keep you from turning your attention to whatever that shiny thing is. Maybe it’s just me, but I have those moments a lot.
I’m an entrepreneur at heart. I love new things. I love starting things and I get really excited, really quickly about change and new, shiny ideas and plans. It’s really a struggle for me to finish things. I’m really good at getting things off the ground and getting other people excited about them, but when said thing has started I seem to lose interest pretty quickly and that’s when I start seeing shiny objects.
Those shiny things can come in many forms, but I have a hard time saying no to them. Because I love doing new things and I love starting things, I want to do as many things as possible. This has gotten to the point where I will say yes to things and events where I have already said yes to other things. Then I over book myself and I have to look like an idiot and go back to someone and say sorry and that I made a mistake because I got excited and didn’t actually plan.
I had a really cool opportunity tonight to join in on my first Downtown Living Advocates meeting as a core group member. The DLA’s mission is to be an organized voice for Downtown residents and I’m really excited to be asked to represent my neighborhood. During the meeting tonight they talked about a lot of initiatives going on and coming up for the downtown area and I literally wanted to volunteer for every single one of them. I showed restraint, but it wasn’t easy.
There’s a good chance I’ll probably end up being a part of at least one of those initiatives, but if I don’t allow myself to plan well, then I won’t be able to accomplish any of the things I want to do.
Not sure if there’s a point to this post other than a challenge for myself and maybe a warning for you. If you’re like me, every time you see “something shiny” you want to jump at it, help it get started, take it over and run with it…but it’s usually at the expense of something you’ve already invested in. Something you’ve already given time to. Something you’ve already committed to.
Getting involved in new things and getting excited about change is great…I love it. But, when we do that at the expense of the things we’re already committed to, then we not only do a disservice to the things and people we committed to, we also do a great disservice to our credibility.
A very wise person once said, “let your yes be yes and your no be no.” (Jesus) There’s also this great verse in the book of Proverbs that says “The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance, but everyone who is hasty comes only to want.”
Let’s finish what we’ve started so we can chase after those shiny things that we get so excited about.