Do you have “shiny object syndrome”

—or are you just afraid to say "No"?

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Are you someone who has trouble saying “no”?

Are you someone who always has 100 projects in motion at one time?

Are you someone who must keep busy as a distraction from other aspects of your life or career?

If you’ve answered “yes” to any of the questions, you may have “shiny object syndrome”—and at the root of it, you may just be afraid to fail. 

Like me, you may have found yourself in situations where you’ll say “yes” to anything that keeps you busy. This is especially true if you have a major project or goal in the works. Rather than narrowing down your to-do list to allocate as much time as possible to reach your goal, you’ll bury it beneath other responsibilities that distract from the destination.

But the thing is—fear can make us do silly things. In some cases, fear is a natural response that protects us from a potentially dangerous situation. Other times, it holds us back from reaching our destiny. 

How to say “no” so you can get more of what you want

As a female leader, I’ve put in a lot of work to overcome this self-sabotaging thought cycle. Here’s what I’ve learned so far:

  • “Shiny object syndrome” is an avoidance technique. If we feel productive by taking on an overabundance of projects, how can others put us down for working so hard? This is a thought I’ve had many times before. But the bottom line is when we say “yes” to things that don’t showcase our highest strengths and help us achieve our goals, we’re only hurting ourselves. 
  • We have limited brain capacity each day—choose wisely. We only have a finite amount of brain processing power every day. The world is set up to put us in a state of overwhelm, and we’re pushed to make more choices now than ever before. All of these choices suck our brain power. Make sure you’re saying “no” to the things that don’t serve you or align with your mission. 
  • Turn to the Lord. Before saying “yes,” consult God. Write it down. Pray about it. After a few days, go back and review the idea to see whether it’s truly in alignment with your path right now. 

What do you want your life to look like?

This is called your manifesto. It’s something I teach my clients and it’s something I include in my upcoming book. Where do you see yourself in a year, in five years, in ten years? Where do you live? What do you drive? What are your relationships like? What will you be known for?

Narrow down what you want and sift through all the choices that will help get you there. Doing this and focusing on the steps above will help you stay out of the reigns of “shiny object syndrome” and keep you on the path to achieve your goals.

As you manifest your life, it helps to simplify decision making, focus on one goal at a time, and stay in alignment with yourself:

  • Simplify. In the age where everyone is Marie Kondo-ing their homes and wardrobes, the same philosophy holds true when it comes to decision making and priorities. More isn’t always better. Simplify your life, to-do list, and goals for deeper learning and understanding. When you stretch yourself too thin, you miss out on some of life’s greatest lessons. 

  • Laser focus on personal development. Pick three or four areas you want to improve on in one year. Split those things into two or three month intervals. Focus on only one goal at a time and you may be surprised at how much more you’ll learn. 

  • Don’t think about what you’re “supposed” to do. Evaluate your current life. Are you in alignment with not only your future goals, but your values and morals? If family time, flexible schedules, or other values are deal breakers for you, determine that now. This will help you maintain boundaries moving forward and ultimately shape your desired future without sacrificing what’s important to you. 

How will you start saying “no” so you can get more of what you want?

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