The Cure for Shiny Object Syndrome

Are you a multipassionate entrepreneur with more ideas than you know what to do with?

Are you frequently starting and stopping passion projects?

Do you find yourself regularly changing strategies, tactics, website platforms, vendors, etc.?

It’s a common challenge for visionaries like you, but there’s a way out.

Shiny Object Syndrome, or “Shiny Shit Syndrome” as my mother always called it, is one of the most common problems that I see with my freelance clients and students on a daily basis and it causes a heartbreaking amount of guilt and shame. So today, I decided to put an end to this by arming you with a deeper understanding of what is REALLY happening when you catch Shiny Object Syndrome and how you can overcome it for good.

Make sure you Pin, Bookmark, Print & Save this post everywhere you might be tempted to buy yet another shiny object (template, course, sales funnel, masterclass, certification, etc.).

What Is Shiny Object Syndrome?

Shiny object syndrome (SOS) is a continual state of distraction brought on by an ongoing belief that there is something new worth pursuing. It often comes at the expense of what’s already planned or underway, as well as, your self-esteem, ability to make decisions, and your ability to lead.

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Why Is Shiny Object Syndrome So Toxic For Service Providers?

The easier question to answer might be what isn’t toxic about Shiny Object Syndrome because in reality, even Forbes named this the #1 threat facing entrepreneurs in 2023 and beyond (more than economic downturn!). This is only partially because we are being programmed to become distracted more and more quickly while the number of potential distractions a.k.a. Shiny objects multiplies at a compounding rate all around us daily. 

Brutal Consequences Of These Disastrous Distractions:

  1. The inability (or unwillingness) to commit to a strategy creates a revolving door of tech, tools, and team members who quickly realize you’re disloyalty and inability to lead with focus.
  2. If you’re a coach, team leader, or mentor, this installs a toxic culture based on doing whatever feels good in the here and now rather than what is best for the big picture.
  3. Despite the big promises of suddenly being able to do everything faster, better, and easier, the reality is every switch is a setback almost never a step up.
  4. 100% of the shiny objects that you buy will fail you and cost you both time and money until you commit to using them long-term no matter how shiny the next object is.
  5. It becomes nearly impossible for you and your team to deliver consistent results because your capacity is constantly being consumed with learning new strategies that also change the quality and turnaround time of your work. 

Any single one of these reasons would be considered a kiss of death for service providers, freelancers, and coaches. Put them all together, and we have a real David & Goliath situation.

The Role Of Accountability & Self-Awareness

Being candid with yourself, you might realize that you seldom fully utilize the tools or strategies you acquire. Instead of dedicating time to thoroughly learn from tutorials and consistently apply strategies, you might make quick judgments about their effectiveness. Often, decisions like “it won’t work for me” come without gathering substantial data on performance against key performance indicators (KPIs). Surprisingly, many freelancers and coaches I collaborate with aren’t even sure which KPIs to monitor. Their justification? A perception that they lack sufficient wealth, leading them to constantly seek more.

Make no mistake about it: the psychological effects or “pull” that this creates within you in the moment can be overwhelmingly powerful and intoxicating to the point where you feel powerless over it – just like an addiction. It can go hand-in-hand with other addictions and shame cycles if you are predisposed to addictions. 

That said, if you continue to allow this addiction to rage on within you (and your business) unchecked, it will have an irreparable impact on your legacy, and you will find yourself looking back with a lot of regret for projects unfinished and goals never met. That is best case scenario! Worst case scenario is you’re going to wake up bankrupt sooner than you ever imagined possible. 

For the record, I don’t believe in fear-mongering, but I’m also not here to hold your hand and tell you everything will always be okay no matter what. I’m here to hold a mirror to you and illuminate the blindspots that are keeping you stuck and unsatisfied and at times, that requires a dose of hard truth. Just know I sit here writing this from a place of understanding, empathy, and dedication to helping you realize your legacy.

Now that you understand that fixing this behavioral pattern is not an option if you want to be in business longterm, let’s explore practical and actionable tools you can use to start making more empowering decisions for yourself and your business immediately & longterm. 

What Triggers You To Keep Buying?

Before diving into the triggers of Shiny Object Syndrome, it’s crucial to forgive yourself for past behaviors and let go of any guilt or shame. Using the Cognitive Behavioral Therapy approach, we’ll focus on recognizing triggers without self-judgment, blame, or criticism. Negative self-talk can erode self-esteem, which is vital for recovery. Plus it will decrease your capacity to heal and perform. Our goal here is to increase your capacity and empower you to make healthier choices for yourself and your company so there is zero negative self-talk allowed for this next step in our healing process.

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5 Daily Triggers for Shiny Object Syndrome You Need To Know

  1. We’re Impatient – When we grow impatient for the results we crave the most, we allow ourselves to become extra vulnerable to shiny objects that promise a “faster, easier, better” way.
  2. Comparing Ourselves – The more you compare yourself and your offers (outside of required market research when writing your business plan) will cripple your ability to resist shiny objects or to ever feel satisfied with what you have.
  3. No Business Plan – Your business plan, when done correctly, serves you as a north star because it dictates your longterm goals, the strategy you will use to reach those goals, and what core values you will allow to determine the best tactics, tools, and content to use to get there on a realistic timeline. If you never wrote a business plan, odds are you’re flying by the seat of your pants trying to “fake it till you make it” while chasing an endless cycle of toxic validations while becoming co-dependent with your business and team.
  4. No Self-Management System – One of the most painful lessons in self-employment is learning to self-manage in order to make meaningful progress while striking a balance between work and life. If you don’t have a self-management system that works for you yet, you’re likely to buy any and everything that will tell you what to do just to feel like you know what you’re doing.
  5. Convenience Traps That Trick Us – Convenience traps are most commonly the all-in-one or one-size-fits-all solutions that promise a major convenience factor upfront while costing you a fortune on the backend in wasted time, money, and countless other resources. Examples of convenience traps are platforms like Wix, Kajabi, or Clickfunnels that trick you into thinking you’re going to own your own platform while actually making you completely dependent on them and their third-party dealings that are rarely in your best interest.

 

The True Root Cause of Shiny Object Syndrome

Since triggers only really exist at the surface level of the problem, addressing them alone is like putting a few bandaids on bullet holes. We have to get to the true root cause of the actual problem NOT the symptoms of the problem. For some, that root cause stems from early childhood and has been completely embedded in our daily life for decades. For others, this problem may have only started after you started your business.

Are You Psychologically Hard-Wired To Be Addicted To Shiny Objects?

While everyone can fall prey to the allure of the “new and shiny,” certain personality types are more susceptible. Among the four female archetypes, the Sage Dreamer and Rebel Maiden stand out as particularly vulnerable. These archetypes often grapple with:

  • A hesitancy to commit to consistent actions.
  • A flood of compelling ideas that demand immediate attention.
  • Challenges with selling and navigating social situations.

Their attraction to the “next big thing” isn’t just about novelty. Deep down, they might use these distractions to sidestep success, feeling undeserving or believing it’s not their destiny.

Even if you are not psychologically predisposed to this pattern, you could still be facing one of these common root causes of this form of self-sabotage:

Lack of Self-Awareness –  If you aren’t actively focused on developing self-awareness, odds are you have no idea you’re guilty of this toxic behavioral pattern which means you will be doomed to keep repeating it in every aspect of life and business.

Insecurities – If you lack confidence and self-esteem it will be much harder for you to stop buying products and services that offer toxic validation. 

Struggles with Commitment – Quitting can be very healthy but always quitting and never committing to anything through completion is a problem that will undermine your confidence, decision-making, and financial security forever.  

Lack of Self-Trust – If you buy something at a point when you lack self-trust I can pretty much promise you will soon abandon it too for the next thing unless it is a sustainable solution for your lack of self-trust. Why? Your internal dialogue after the purchase will repeat the script about how you never stick with anything you start. This is why we call it a vicious behavioral cycle that is powered by your thoughts, beliefs, and actions. 

Don’t Have A Business Coach or Mentor To Consult – This goes hand-in-hand with the lack of self-awareness. The fact is, we all have blind spots in our business, relationships, beliefs, and behaviors and we all deserve to have the unwavering and ethical support of a business coach or mentor that gets it.  Just as the benefit of therapy provides you with an outlet to voice all of your concerns without the fear of negative consequences, a coach or mentor is trained to help you safely see how you are in control of your results so you stop looking for validation in exterior shiny objects.

Scarcity Mindset Triggers Self-Sabotage – Imagine being handed $10 billion, the resources of the U.S. Government, and the backing of every Fortune 100 company. With a scarcity mindset, even these vast resources won’t prevent bankruptcy within months. No strategy will succeed if you’re rooted in scarcity. It’s the main driver of self-sabotage, and with it, success remains elusive.

Your Expectations Don’t Match Reality – Unrealistic expectations used to be my most debilitating Shiny Object Syndrome trigger and I see it daily in my students and clients. Let’s say you buy into ClickFunnels’ highest subscription tier which provides the (extremely toxic) training you need to use the software to the best of its ability and because they say you can have your first funnel up in a matter of minutes, you start subconsciously counting all the riches you’re about to ring up. In reality, the learning curve for the marketing theory that you need to learn before you can even learn how to use their funnels could take you years. FUCKING YEARS! Next thing you know, you’re 18 months and five figures in with disappointing results and you’re looking for the next shiny object that will work for you for less in even less time and voila the cycle continues. 

The Holistic Approach To Overcoming Shiny Object Syndrome

Now that you understand the root causes and more superficial triggers of your unconscious addiction to these distractions, you have the ability to holistically heal and protect yourself from repeating the pattern forever. We can’t fix what we don’t recognize right?

As  a holistic coach with a firm focus on sustainable long-term solutions, I would have you start with the root causes first. This means rewriting your limiting beliefs, improving your self-esteem, empowering your decision making instincts and  securing you with self-management systems that are required for mastery.

After coaching on this topic more times than I could count, I finally decided to create an actionable solution to this toxic trap. Introducing the FREE Overcome Shiny Object Syndrome Workbook which is designed to help you heal the root causes and audit your existing strategies for maximum efficiency moving forward.

Overcome shiny object syndrome with this workbook
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