A lot of entrepreneurs talk about “Bright Shiny Object Syndrome.” It’s when every new idea sounds amazing, and we act like dogs chasing squirrels, repeatedly leaping to the next bright new idea before we’ve completed the current one.
As you might imagine, this leaves a pile of unfinished projects and a lack of results.
That can be especially detrimental to a business if, let’s say, Bright Shiny Object Syndrome has you always moving from one marketing strategy to the next. (Been there, done that.) Or one social media platform to the next (cough cough, Clubhouse) without creating a consistent and effective presence in what you’re already doing.
What not enough entrepreneurs talk about is why Bright Shiny Object Syndrome occurs.
Bright Shiny Object Syndrome is a tactic of the subconscious mind, intended to protect us in that way the subconscious mind thinks it’s doing but ends up sabotaging our goals.
We experience Bright Shiny Object syndrome when we’re trying to avoid something that feels uncomfortable or unsafe. Like what?
- Not knowing how to solve your current problem
- Having the solution but unsure if you can execute it properly
- Having the solution but unsure if you’ll get the support you need
- Actually having the right answers and succeeding if you put them into action (ooh, Fear of Success, anyone?)
If you aren’t practiced at sitting with discomfort (and sometimes even if you are), Bright Shiny Object Syndrome will attract a brand new idea that you can grasp to escape your discomfort.
All of this happens unconsciously, of course. And painfully so. When I would get caught up in Bright Shiny Object Syndrome, I was always way too good at justifying why the new thing was better than the old thing. (I can laugh at it now, but I missed years of business growth because of it, before I healed my Core Wound.)
Here’s why shiny new ideas are so appealing:
- New = exciting!
- New = lots of new problems to figure out, many of which will be solvable (unlike the one you’re were facing before you leapt)
- New = “I haven’t failed here yet”
- New = “I don’t have to face my failures with that other one”
- New = “I don’t have to risk actually succeeding with that other one”
If you want to look at it in terms of limiting beliefs, here are the core patterns that I see underlying Bright Shiny Object Syndrome:
- Unworthiness (one Core Wound, underlying Fear of Success)
- Unlovability (the other Core Wound, which causes feelings of abandonment and unsupportedness)
- Attachment to Struggle instead of letting things be easy (a layer on top of Unlovable, created from experiences of getting attention when working hard)
- Fear of Being Wrong and therefore criticized (another layer on top of Unlovable)
If you healed those underlying wounds, then Bright Shiny Object Syndrome would no longer be a thing.
In the meantime, if you experience Bright Shiny Object Syndrome, you’re not likely to realize it. It happens because those patterns I listed above create a powerful “blindspot,” meaning you are acting unconsciously and don’t see that what you’re doing is detrimental while you’re still in the behavior.
Recognizing your blindspots is the sort of thing a coach or mindset healer can help you with, because we’re not stuck in the blindspots with you.
If you do manage to catch yourself in Bright Shiny Object syndrome, I suggest that you trace your steps back to the first object that you left behind. If that is still a viable project, look at what you were doing right before you leapt into a shiny new idea.
I guarantee that you’ll find an uncomfortable, unsolved problem that you left behind. It might be worth your time to see if you can solve that problem now: If Fear of Success was one of the reasons you stopped, then you might have been “three feet from gold,” as the saying goes. Solving that problem might be just the breakthrough to success that you’ve been looking for.
Are you trying to figure out why you got stuck in Bright Shiny Object Syndrome in your business? Tell me about it in the comments, and I’ll see if I can pinpoint what’s going on for you.