What do entrepreneurship and puberty have in common? It may sound like a weird question but Kim Sutton knows from her experience as a businessperson and as a parent that there is one critical point of comparison between the two. Have you ever felt the pressure of doing something for your business just because everyone is doing it? Have you ever felt a fear of missing out on the next big thing in marketing, the hottest course, or the newest piece of software? That stage of succumbing to peer pressure is what Kim calls entrepreneurial puberty. You might know it by another name – shiny object syndrome. Listen in and learn why entrepreneurs have to go through their own period of puberty and how you can overcome yours.
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What Entrepreneurship And Puberty Have In Common: Peer Pressure, FOMO And The Shiny Object Syndrome
In the spirit of our theme, we’re going to continue our conversation on confidence and boundaries with a conversation about entrepreneurs and puberty. I know that might sound strange. However, as a mom of two teenagers, as well as a few younger ones, I’m seeing some similarities between puberty and the journey that I’ve gone through as an entrepreneur. Let me explain. At the times when my entrepreneurial journey was the most difficult, I found myself succumbing to peer pressure. When people would tell me that I needed to buy this tool or be on this platform, I would often be there. Have you ever found the same to be true in your business? Let’s think back to our days growing up, maybe middle school or high school. I know that I heard adults say on numerous occasions, “Just because someone else jumps off the bridge doesn’t mean you have to.” I’m going to give context there so it doesn’t sound as morbid as you may be thinking.
I grew up in a small town in Western New York called Fairport, and the Erie Canal ran right through my town. The canal was a nice place to go to have a picnic and take a little boat cruise. There are wine-tasting parties on these little boats. I’m not a wine taster. When I lived in Fairport, I wasn’t old enough to do that. However, a whole bunch of kids that I went to school with would often engage in an activity that they called scumming. It was as disgusting as the word sounds. They would go to any number of bridges that went over the canal in my town and would jump off the bridge into the canal. From the few times I ever saw people accidentally fall into the canal, what was on their clothes when they came out was anything but pretty. What adults, when I was growing up, would say, “Just because everybody else is jumping off the bridge doesn’t mean you have to,” I took them quite literally and I didn’t mind. There was no way you were going to find me jumping off a bridge into the canal knowing the scum that came out with them.
Let’s go back to our journey as an entrepreneur. Why do we go through and have to endure this state of puberty in our entrepreneurial lives when we succumb to peer pressure? Whether it’s the gurus that we’re watching on social media, the emails that come into our inbox or even sometimes our best business buddies, we frequently succumb to peer pressure. We feel like if we don’t do what they tell us we should do, we are going to miss out. FOMO, Fear of Missing Out, “If I don’t buy this program right now, I’m going to miss out on many huge opportunities, and it’s never going to be offered again. I better do it right now, even though my calendar is full and I have eighteen other courses that I’ve already purchased, but I need this one. This one is going to be like Willy Wonka’s Golden Tickets. It’s going to change my life. I don’t know how I’m going to find time in my day, but considering I already have 22 hours scheduled. I know I need to sleep, but I’m going to sign up for it anyway. My significant other won’t worry about the $2,997 program that I purchased, even though they’re seeing more of the back of my head than they are my face. I’m going to do it because I don’t want to miss out.”
Does that sound at all familiar? What if we put a pause on that? What if we said goodbye to puberty in our business? What if we stopped succumbing to peer pressure and started unsubscribing from all those emails that hit our inbox unless we’re using them for marketing research? What if we made a wish list of things that we want to do in the next year, goals that we want to achieve and the tools and people that are necessary to help us make those dreams come true, but everything else is a big fat no? We may not be tempted to use drugs as entrepreneurs, but let’s think back to our days in grade school, middle school and high school, especially if you’re in America in the DARE campaign, say no to drugs.
Let’s take drugs out of the picture right now. Let’s say no to the shiny object syndrome, to FOMO, to peer pressure by other entrepreneurs, to those opportunities that aren’t meant for us, even if somebody is trying to shove them down our throat. Let’s say no to all opportunities, whether it’s client work, product sales, visibility opportunities, all of it that is not in line with our values, integrity, purpose and mission. Maybe you would need more sleep tonight to overcome this entrepreneurial puberty stage. If that’s the case, get it. Go to bed early tonight. Enlist the help of somebody who is the filter between you and all this pressure that you’re getting to try and do more. Like our kids cannot be committing to everything and anything, neither can we. I challenge you to overcome entrepreneurial puberty. Try saying that five times fast. Make a commitment to working smarter instead of harder. I would love to know your feedback on this episode. Head on over to TheKimSutton.com/pp698. With all this said, go forth and make it a positive and productive day.