Shiny Object Syndrome is one of the biggest cripplers to entrepreneurs. It’s hugely threatening to your productivity, your goals, and your self-confidence. You need all of these to be strong as an entrepreneur!
Yet, in the world of social media, it’s not easy to stay away from shiny object syndrome. Success stories and secret sauces are all around us. So, how do we combat it?
Understanding your personal answer to this question is totally essential!
Tune into this episode to hear…
The biggest threats (some obvious, some not!) that SOS brings
Five steps to learn from, then DITCH Shiny Object Syndrome
My one concept for never becoming a victim to this syndrome again.
Facebook Live Replay
Transcript of Episode
Welcome to the Your Biggest Vision show, I am your host Leah. I am the founder of a website and company called Urban 20 Something and I work with young professionals mostly, but actually people of all ages that are questioning their life, that are questioning the path that they are on. Typically they have been on a very paved path, usually through high school and then college, sometimes graduate school and then a nine to five job. At some point along the way they sort of step back and think this is a really what I wanted. This isn’t really how I envisioned my life turning out. This is exactly what happened to me. It happened to me pretty young, but I do live here in New York City now, even though I’m originally from Colorado and I had dreamed of moving to New York my whole life, like I’m sure many four year old ballerinas do. But I never grew out of it. I knew it’s what I wanted to do.
So you can imagine, maybe you’ve been in the same situation where you fulfill a dream. I come to New York, I get into school here, go to school year, get a job here after start working at a law firm, start applying to law schools thinking I’m doing everything right and it sort of dawning on me that this was nothing like the dream I had in my head. I had student loans, I was working crazy hours, it was very stressful. Getting into law school is stressful. Being a lawyer was only going to be more stressful. I was going to have to take out more debt. I wouldn’t have had a lot of spare time. All in all, it did not sound like a very fun path.
Because I was young and very determined, I don’t know if I even would’ve been as brave now, but I did not accept that I was going to be in that lifestyle of working all the time. I decided that I was going to figure out how to have the life in New York I always dreamed of in whatever way that looked to me. I didn’t know how I was going to do it, but I was going to figure it out. And I did and now I have my own business and I am able to work with a lot of other inspiring entrepreneurs all around the world to build businesses that give them the freedom that they’re searching for that get them out of their nine to five jobs varies what their individual goals are. But the main point is that they’re getting back to the lifestyle that they once dreamed possible for themselves.
So one of the things I seen most with the entrepreneurs that I work with is that they get really excited by all the possibilities out there for how they can change their life, their business, their financial realities, and I get it. We are living in the day of social media where everyone is an overnight success and you are just flooded with people’s stories on how they made 17 figures or $1 million from a Webinar or whatever the case may be really, really easily. You see people traveling a lot. You see people telling us how they did it. And all of this leads to a very big syndrome, which is becoming even bigger, called Shiny object syndrome. What this is, is basically when you see some sort of answer to something, way to do something, some sort of success and you want it, it looks shiny, you are excited about it, you are drawn to it.
You want to go buy that person’s product, service, whatever it is. You want to change your own business model and do it the way they did. You think that they have a secret that you don’t know and so you want to go buy it from them. I’m not saying that it’s not important to learn from people, it really is. But one of the biggest reasons people don’t move as quickly as they want is because though it might seem like you’re just eager to learn and you’re excited about learning new things, it gets really noisy, really fast and you get to a place where you aren’t able to finish anything that you started because you get distracted by something else along the way, which then inspires you to quit whatever you’re starting, start something new. So you have all these half done projects because the cycle keeps going. So, then you are in the middle of all these different things, but then you see some sort of new thing that you think would be helpful, so you quit whatever you’re doing and go do that. It’s kind of all over the place.
Truthfully, this is one of the things that I actually see happen to people more and more as they get more successful. So a lot of the sort of struggles entrepreneurs deal with get a bit easier over time or you get a bit better at handling them. It’s probably a little bit of both. But this is the one that actually my highest level clients… my clients that are making the most money and that are really building big businesses, they actually struggle with it the most. So I think that that’s really interesting because you might think that you get to a certain place where you can tell what’s just sounding good versus what’s actually going to help you. But it’s really, really hard. So I wanted to break down a little bit what Shiny Object Syndrome can actually do to you, why it can be harmful for real, you might not even know some of these things. They’re not all that obvious and then five steps you use to get rid of them and especially the one takeaway I always come back to that really got rid of shiny objects syndrome for me completely. So if you are ready to never feel this way again, then this is going to be for you.
Let’s talk about the three biggest harms that come with falling to falling victim to shiny objects syndrome and really having that. If any of you, if you guys are watching live and you have had shiny objects, syndrome was something, just type yes in there. Let me know that you know what I’m talking about. Maybe if you even want to share something that really caught your attention, we’d love to hear, you’re not alone. But I’d love to know if you guys have any questions on what really I’m talking about or if you can really relate. So the number one biggest issue that comes with Shiny Object Syndrome is probably the most obvious, which is that it hugely hurts your productivity. As we kind of mentioned, you can imagine how if you are on the road from point A to point B, let’s make a good example. You’re on the road from getting to $500 a month in income to $5,000 a month or something like that. You know, you started to make a little bit of money. Maybe you’ve kind of dabbled with selling certain things and now you’re ready to get to a much higher, higher amount.
So you’re going on this road, you’re on your way. You know what you need to do, you’re super focused, you have this goal, you’re doing whatever it takes to get you there. All of a sudden along the road, you see this billboard for something that says that Pinterest is going to get you more traffic than anything in the world, and you’ll never have to market your website again because you’ll have so much traffic from Pinterest, you have to learn Pinterest. So you make a pit stop and then you go and you learn everything about Pinterest and you start implementing it and like, yeah, it’s good, it’s getting your traffic going, but as you stopped to do this, you kind of forgot about the other things that make the vehicle actually move forward. You forgot about actually making products, growing your audience, maybe connecting with your audience, maybe continuing to continuing your communications, taking care of yourself, all the other really crucial things that are actually gonna make you move forward on this road.
So you have lost time because you weren’t able to fully move forward during that time and you now have sort of, you know, thought that this was going to be this secret weapon that everything would heal for you. And of course it’s not because no one thing is going to get you to any big goal ever doesn’t work like that. So then you get back on the road and you’re driving kind of along again. Maybe you still like have some Pinterest things to do, but you’re starting to remember that you have other things to do too. So you’re kind of trying to do both. Then all of a sudden you see another billboard and talks about how you have to meditate for six hours every day so you can get in touch with your inner voice and know what it’s telling you and take actions based on that and then you’ll have all the answers.
So they knew like kind of stop working because you’re all into this new way of thinking that you are attracting everything and everything’s coming to you and you’re meditating so much that you don’t actually need to be working so much. You don’t need to be in too much action. So then you’re not really doing the Pinterest thing that like you started and you’re kind of meditating and that’s kind of not working because you have to actually be doing things and you kind of forgot what you should be doing. You guys get the picture, you’re just like kind of not moving along really quickly. So then you’re trying to get to this goal with all this stuff that you’ve accumulated along the way. We’re going to talk about the other things that are harmful with it because there’s more than that. But as you can see, this is terrible for productivity. It is harder to move forward if you have a heavier, more baggaged, more interrupted vehicle that you’re, that you’re moving and it’s obviously going to be slower if you keep taking stops along the way.
This main point here is the reason that with my mastermind, which is my like most high level group, I really make a point that I don’t want the people in, they’re going outside of the mastermind to get the information that they need. It’s because it’s so easy to think that other people have this answer or that you need to be doing all these different things. So what I do, since I’m not an expert in everything, obviously no one is, is I bring in guest speakers to our masterminds. So instead of them feeling like they need to buy a new ecourse or hire someone different or outsource something, we just bring someone in and have them teach them how to do it or let them know exactly how to outsource it so that they don’t have to be buying new things and watching new webinars and going all over the place like they are in the place where they need to be in order to get this information.
The second biggest harm with Shiny Object Syndrome is depression and self doubt. This one might not be so obvious, but let’s look back at our example of what it’s like moving forward, thinking all these shiny billboards, they’re going to get you to your goal faster and then when they don’t, what do you think? You think something’s wrong with you because you have led yourself to believe that this product, service, idea, method, strategy, whatever it is, has the answer that you don’t or that has the answer that will get you to your goal and then when it doesn’t, because no one thing does and because nothing can actually replace your work and taking action from getting from point A to point B, you look inward. You think something’s wrong with you. You think that because it didn’t work the way you made yourself believe it would or maybe the way it was advertised to or maybe the way that you just hoped it would, that it’s your fault and that it worked for someone else, but it won’t work for you. So therefore your business might not be good enough. You’re not good enough. You self doubt yourself. You think it’s for other people, not me.
Your mind can really go to some, some truly crazy places and it’s only because you’re human and the way shiny objects syndrome works is it really makes you think that that shiny object has an answer that you already don’t. So when you don’t get that answer, that direct click or that direct solution really quickly, you look inward, you think that there’s something wrong with you and that’s the reason it didn’t work. Couldn’t be further from the truth, but you don’t have the capacity, it’s really hard when you’re starting a business or you’re working toward a new goal or whatever it is that you are on this road to get to do it in the first place. Obviously transformation is not easy and then when you throw in the fact that you might be believing that there’s an easier way to do it, but it’s not working for you, very damaging to your self confidence. Also, very hard to pick yourself back up from because then you’re going to go look for another shiny object that you think is going to heal it and it’s not. So, I don’t think this is talked about enough. I think it’s very obvious that Shiny Object Syndrome hurts productivity, but the way that it can actually damage your own ego, your own confidence, your own sense of potential is just as harmful, if not more harmful, because that’s really the engine of the vehicle is your own belief and action you’re taking. You’re not going to take the action if you don’t believe in yourself and you don’t believe that it’s actually going to move you forward.
So it’s really important not to fall victim to it because it can do a number on your own sense of self. The final really harmful thing I want to talk about with Shiny Object Syndrome is that it can make you look flaky. Again, something I don’t think is talked about enough. You know, when you’re building your business, you don’t want to be bouncing around. You don’t want to be doing one thing then known for the other than trying this, then this is working really well, then you’re marketing this thing are all over this platform and then you’re kind of like not doing any of them that well. I do think that there is grace in the early days. I think everyone’s business changes from the way it starts. Mine definitely did and most of my clients has to, and that’s okay. That’s a good thing. But there’s no benefit in starting out with the reputation of someone that is noncommittal, someone that is easily distracted, someone that doesn’t have confidence in their own skills or strategies or systems, whatever it is that you’re using to move forward. That’s what can happen when you kind of end up not acting flaky, but acting in a way that you believe that you need to be doing a ton of different things and that you don’t already have what it takes to make things happen. You might not feel flaky, you might not neat mean it in a flaky way, but the way it comes across in action is that you’re kind of all over the place. You don’t want that. You’re not all over the place, you’re just trying to make it work. So it’s unfair for you to put your reputation at stake over something that is not going to actually get you there to begin with. There’s really no benefit of that.
So I also really want you to encourage you to think about what kind of business owner do you want to be. I know for me, one of the things I’m most proud of is that I just have really put in the work. I did not do an overnight success. I’m really honest that it took me about a year to make my first amount of money. Now, that doesn’t have to happen. Most of my clients get profitable within the first few months, but, that’s not how it works for me and I still kept going and I was still persistent. So that’s something that I’m proud of, sort of being known for is that I just, I stuck with it. That is what the kind of reputation I think you want to have with other people and with yourself in the early days. Not someone who’s kind of bouncing around thinking that other people have this secret ingredient that you don’t cause it’s just not true.
Alrighty. Now that we know that Shiny Object Syndrome is dangerous to your productivity, your own confidence, your reputation and your work ethic. Let’s talk about how to move through it. So I have five steps of what you can do with shiny objects syndrome to not only get rid of it, but actually learn from it and take some high quality learnings and materials from it. And the last one is my absolute favorite one. It is like what I would love to be remembered for because I think it’s really powerful and really simple. So stay tuned for the very last one and let’s get going.
The first step to getting rid of Shiny Object Syndrome in your life is to be offensive, not defensive. So this basically means that you need to know what you want and you need to be clear about that. And when you are clear on that, it’s really hard for anything else to be noisy, and distract you because you can tell pretty quickly, is this in alignment with what I want or is it not? So some ways you can do this are to get really clear every month about your monthly goals and that’s kind of more of the strategy part. But also, I like having a vision board or just some sort of imagery something that I’m wanting to work toward. And then whenever you know something crosses your path, you can think, okay, is this in alignment with my monthly goals now? Is this in alignment with what I’m dreaming of or working toward or building up now? If not, toodaloo. If so, maybe you could think about it for a little while. Think about if you actually have the capacity to implement it well. If you actually trust that it’s going to make a difference.
Look, we’re all gonna make mistakes. It’s not that every decision you make is going to be perfect. That’s fine, but it is about not feeling like you are trying to get away from the current situation you’re in just because you want something better. It’s instead about knowing where you’re going, knowing where you want to go, and not really letting anything else stand in the way of that or get Chitty chatty in your brain that isn’t in alignment with that. So get clear about your goals, know what you’re working toward, and draw the line there. This can mean taking some serious soul searching time at the beginning of each month or each quarter or however you do it. You might not know right now exactly what you’re working toward. It doesn’t always come top of mind and that’s okay.
But what I often see is people refuse to really sit down and think about this or really sit down and get the clarity on this because they feel like they should be working. And this isn’t direct work. So maybe they feel guilty because they’re not sending emails or writing something or whatever the case may be. They feel like making a vision board isn’t as productive as that, but this will allow you to combat shiny object syndrome on the offensive mode, not the defensive, so that you’re not just like having to reevaluate your life every time something sounds good, but instead it’s a really quick yes or no. Is this a good use of my time and money? Because is it in alignment with my current goals? Yes or no? Move on. So that’s tip one, play offensive, not defensive.
The next tip is to find your triggers. So start paying attention to what brings up that Shiny Object Syndrome for you during the day, during the week. Is it being on social media and seeing an ad? Is it, you know, getting an email about a huge win? Is it, I’m seeing someone’s huge successes on social media? Whatever it is, don’t judge yourself for it. But the more intimate you can get with what sets you off, the more you can be offensive about it and not so defensive. I’m trying to think of some examples from, from me. So think about the triggers that kind of send you off that make you feel like you’re inferior or that you should have something else. I know a big one for me was webinars. Every time I watched a Webinar I would be like, oh my God, I need to buy that course. I need by that course. I need to buy that program. I wouldn’t even know the person or even really what the content, but I just, you know, webinars that are well done, they’re very convincing. They’re very good at selling. And again, I have webinars. I’m not saying that you guys should never buy anything. I definitely have bought really amazing courses from webinars, from people that have really moved my business forward and that’s been great. But it is because I know that they are in alignment with the goals I have right then.
Another thing, I didn’t even put this on this list, but another thing I recommend is to only pick a few mentors or a few people you want to learn from and kind of really trust them. Now maybe not just one person, but having bits and pieces from all these different courses and peoples and opinions. It’s just too much. You are not going to get closer to your own voice. That way you’re not going to get closer to your intuition that way you are going to be completely overwhelmed and it will not be harmonious and it’s no one’s fault. People have their own styles of doing things. But I recommend finding someone who has accomplished what you want to accomplish, that you trust and you feel like resonates with you when they share the information that they know and stick with them, because that was my biggest problem was I would watch webinars from all over the place. People would talk about their success. I would think that they knew what they were doing and I would buy so many of them and then I had like this graveyard of unwatched ecourses. So this is going back to point number two, which was to find your triggers and make sure that you know what usually makes you feel like you should be buying something. If you know that that isn’t something you want to buy, then don’t watch that Webinar, for example.
Okay, the next tip I have for getting rid of Shiny Object Syndrome, tip number three is to call it out. So the more you get intimate with the triggers that you have, the more intimate you get with your own goals, the more you’ll be able to say, okay, I’m wanting this right now because I don’t know the answer to this problem and if I did, it would help me. Versus I’m wanting this right now because I’m not happy with the way things are going for me. This person seems happier. This product seems like it could fix things. That is what I’m going to do. Like that Shiny Object Syndrome, that’s when you’re just basically trying to escape from what you’re doing and we’ll kind of build up in your head the potential that this product or service has to impact your own life. So I don’t think there’s such a thing as getting totally rid of shiny object syndrome. I think there’s such a thing as getting the awareness about yourself, your goals, what you’re trying to do so much that you can just detect it when it comes up. And you can say that this is what this is. I, you know, I am having like googly eyes over something right now and if I’m not careful, I’m going to end up buying it just because I’m hoping something will quickly changed my life and I’m never gonna watch the whole thing and just because I know better, I know it’s never gonna really be that quick fix. I need to actually just put my head down and do the work. So getting really intimate with what actually you know it is in your life and where it shows up, we’ll help you just call it out, see it for what it is and then move on.
The next lesson and the next way you can handle shiny object syndrome, and then we’re almost to my favorite one is to observe what does catch your attention. So it is worth really thinking, okay, I’m going to use the Pinterest example again. There’s a Pinterest course. It is advertised to have, you know, all the traffic answers I need in my life and get me all the leads that I want, which will get me money, which will boost my income, which will make me happy. Then I’m on the shore of Tahiti all of a sudden like it gets really, you know, you guys know what I mean. So what you can think is, okay, this is shiny object syndrome. Let’s all be clear. There is not one Pinterest course that’s going to get you to the shores of Tahiti. Like there’s so many more steps along the way. Your funnels, your website, your marketing, are you talking to the right people? Are you actually going to have the time to do this? We all know there’s a million other steps in between that, but what is it about this particular moment of Shiny Object Syndrome that’s bringing it up for me? Is it because I want to go to the shore of Tahiti? Great. Put that in your monthly goals, put it on your vision board and start putting your head down on paper about how you can make that happen. Find someone who’s been to Tahiti, ask them how they’ve been able to travel, like whatever it is.
Is it because you feel like you don’t have enough leads? Like maybe you have really good marketing and you have really good products and if more people just knew about it, then you would be able to generate more money. Okay, then then maybe Pinterest could be helpful, but maybe also SEO could, maybe Facebook could, you know, there’s, there’s lots of other things. So really sit down and think what’s going to make the most sense for me? How can I learn about the different pros and cons of ways to get traffic to figure out what’s going to fit me best right now? Maybe you like this Pinterest course because the person that made it just looks awesome and like they’re living a really good life and like they’re really happy and like they have a lot of money that’s worse at worth asking yourself, you know, why aren’t I happier? How could I be making more money? How can I be focusing on making more money if that’s what I want? Instead of sitting on this sales page drooling over a Pinterest course that you probably don’t need. Guys, see what I mean? So pay attention to what sparks the shiny object syndrome. Pay attention to what makes you want it and really try to dissect, what is it about this that’s bringing this up for me? What is it about this that’s making me think that I need this? Is it because I want the lifestyle that the person who made it has, is it because I want a lifestyle that this might be promising me? Is it because I think that the effect would be helpful for me? Is this, that absolute best method to get that effect? Ask yourself these questions and you’ll be able to get so much more clarity on the goals that you want, on the ways that you’re going to get there and honestly, I think most of the time you’ll find that if you get specific enough, you will know more than you think about how to make that happen.
You know, I really think that, especially for those of you, like I’m just thinking Georgina and Zaina who I’ve worked with both of them and building their business. You guys know more than you think, you know? I think that that’s probably the same for most of the people listening to this podcast. I think in the beginning you don’t know much, it’s true. Online entrepreneurship is not an intuitive thing at all. We were not knowing how to do this, but you get to a point where these courses share, they might teach you some systems or structures that you’ve never really implemented and that could be helpful for you to learn. But the big concepts that they’re advertising or things that you might already know and if you have a mentor, which I know Zena and Georgina, you guys both do, this is the kind of thing that you should go to them with and you can even say, I was really triggered by this offering today because it said that it could offer me this and I realized that I wanted that offer. What do you think about my business is already in place that I could leverage to get to that kind of promise sooner. I hope that makes sense.
My final tip on how to combat Shiny Object Syndrome and my favorite one, is just to become so damn shiny that you are your own object and I’m not kidding here and I know that that might sound a little ridiculous, but really, you know no one else out there. No one. I don’t care if they’re on the beach of Tahiti. If they made a Pinterest course, if they’re living financially free, no one is superior to you. How can you become that person that is so shiny that you’re catching your own light and every day you’re like hot damn, look at my life. Look at me. Look at what I’ve done. Look at who I am. Look at what I’ve created. I am so proud of what I’ve become and I’m just really excited about what I’ve done and I’m excited about my life. It is not conceited if that’s how it sounds. Seriously, no one’s going to cheer you on more than you are. Even people that get shiny object syndrome over you, they’re probably not going to come tell you how much they worship you or whatever. They’re probably not even going to tell you how much you inspire them. So you need to inspire yourself. You need to be psyched about what you’ve created.
It is up to you to become so shiny that you can’t help but be psyched on yourself and everything you’ve done. That has been like the biggest revelation for me ever, is just realizing that every time you see someone else that’s accomplished something, you get tempted to buy something from them. You start feeling inferior, you start feeling distracted, you start feeling less productive. Think, what about me? What have I already done? What have I accomplished that I’m really proud of? What would me three years ago have said about where I am now? What is me in two years going to say about some action I can take right now to make myself even prouder? Come back to you. This is you. This is your journey and no one else can replicate what you’ve already done and what you are on the path to do.
So really absorb that and focus it and honestly you will feel how much more you shine when you come to it with this sense of pride, excitement, curiosity, and really showing up for what is next for you. Anyway, you guys, thank you so much for tuning in. I hope that you found this helpful in combating shiny object syndrome. For those of you that are live, if you want to share one thing that you really took away from this and it maybe something that you thought differently about shiny objects syndrome than before, I would love to hear. Maybe you didn’t even realize what a problem it really can be. I think a lot of people know Shiny Object Syndrome will hurt your productivity, but I don’t think people really think about the deeper implications it can have on your own mental health, on you as a person, et cetera. So let me know what you guys thought about it. For those of you that are here live, and even if you’re listening to the podcast recording, I do a live podcast recording every Monday at 10:00 AM eastern standard time and love it when you guys come live and ask me questions or let me know the Disney song stuck in your head. So, I’d love it if you would join live. If you guys want to sign up, all you need to do is go to yourbiggestvision.com and you will be able to sign up to get the a weekly emails inviting you to the live video and I would love to see you guys there. For all of you that are in the United States, I hope you have a beautiful memorial day and I will talk to you guys very soon. Here is to combating shiny object syndrome and of course here is to your biggest vision. I will talk to you guys later.
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