May is all about blooming, growing, and opening up.  Zero blossoming (of ideas, projects, jobs, relationships, whatever) can occur without a healthy dose of confidence.  This month, we're going to uncover exactly why your confidence sucks and how to begin to repair it.  And maybe your confidence doesn't suck, but if it could better in any way, this is a great place to start.    

One of the biggest confidence thieves around is something I like to call comparison shame, or Shiny People Syndrome, specifically those shiny, happy people who seem to always have their shit together.

You know what they look like.  You’re just stumbling around trying to figure out life and they walk in, thin and pretty and confident, with perfect hair and perfect wardrobes and perfect partners and perfect lives.  Shiny Happy People have never heard of dark circles under their eyes or spit up on their shirts or any kind lasting life struggle.  Shiny, Happy People are polished, purposeful, and put-together...and you're over here in the corner trying to figure out how to adult without getting arrested and going insane.  

Shiny People Syndrome (or SPS, for short) is when you’re around someone who seems SO together that all of your insecurities pop up and remind you all the many ways you are not them.  Shiny People Syndrome tells you that you are definitely NOT shiny and special, and even when you try to be, you're a fraud, and they are going to find out you’re just you.  Confidence zapped.

There was a couple Tim and I used to hang out with back in NOLA, and every time we’d visit them, I immediately felt the need to go home and rethink my entire life.  Their house was always clean.  They had so much money and so much time.  They never rushed or got flustered.  We’d get to the end of a meal with them, and I’d think “Where’s dessert?” and they’d be like “No, thanks.  I’m not that into sugar.”  Then I’d go home to my tiny, messy house and eat or drink something terrible for me and think, "Damn. Why is there laundry everywhere? Why don’t I have time to meditate and work out more?  What is wrong with me?"  

Shiny People Syndrome really came over me in a big way when I moved to Los Angeles and everyone was thin, beautiful, rich, well-dressed, and doing creative and interesting things.  It immediately brought out this feeling of:

“Why don’t I have that?  What do they know that I don’t know?  What I am doing wrong?  Why is everything so easy for them and so hard for me?  Why don’t I have it figured out?  Why am I not further along in my life right now?”

Full-on, existential meltdown mode.  Sound familiar?



Here's the good news: Shiny, Happy People Syndrome doesn't actually mean that there is a single thing wrong with you, your life, or your journey.  It's just a reaction, and it's something every person faces at some point, especially when they are trying to do something huge and important, like starting a blog, switching careers, or making a difference.  In fact, the more awesome things you do, the more SPS pops up!

I was hanging out with another coach friend recently, and we were talking about our mutual journeys.  She made a comment about how great my life was and how put-together I am, and I literally burst out laughing.  

"Um, why in the world would you think that?"  

"Well, I see your posts on social media and you just look like you are having the best time.  Everything is so easy for you."


It's true that my life is pretty awesome because I’ve consciously created that for myself, but I wanted to tell her the truth that in many ways, I am just as confused about life as anyone else.  I do not Facebook the meltdowns that end in ugly crying in the shower.  I don’t Instagram the fights with my husband or the fact that I have literally attempted to fold the laundry even damn day this week and it just hasn’t happened (at this point, I’m just waiting until it’s dirty again-the couch is my new underwear home).   Yes, there are some key things in my life that I have completely figured out, like how to be a great coach, and which vintage sunglasses go with which outfits, or how to order off the secret menu at In-N-Out, but there is not a single person on the planet {including me} who has it ALL figured out.

And that's kind of comforting, no?


The point is that when you see a Shiny, Happy Person out in the wild, that may not be the full story.  Every single person on the planet has a struggle.  Every single person on the planet has something they are insecure about or unsure of.  It may not be obvious in everyone, but I promise it’s there. 


So when you see one of these Shiny, Happy, Perfect People and go into comparison mode, you are basically giving away your power to feel good about yourself.

And who you are. And what you’ve accomplished. And what you have. When you look at someone’s post on social media and despair because they’ve already done XYZ and you haven’t, you are going into victim mode, and you are letting your worth be determined by your reaction to a completely different human being’s journey. Seriously.  You’re stumbling around in lizard brain mode and letting other people dictate how YOU feel about YOU.

No.  Stop it!  That’s a terrible, painful way to live and there’s no hope of being confident with that perspective.  

Jealousy and Comparison are not necessarily terrible things.  Sometimes, jealousy is a great clue to what you want and what you need more of in your life.  Instead of “Ugh why is she so clear on her life purpose, I’m so far behind and will never figure my life out!” maybe we shift more into “Hmm…She seems confident to me, and I’m interpreting her confidence as clarity.  Maybe I want some clarity.  How can I meet that need in myself and get some support around that?  What does clarity look like for me? and so on and so forth.”

Or instead of looking at that happy couple over there and thinking, "I hate them, I’ll never find a man, I’ll die alone with my cats! Agh, I’m so unlovable and flawed!"  Stop, and reframe it as "Hmm…I really want that level of connection and intimacy in my life.  What can I do to create those conditions for myself?  What do I need to embrace to find that connection and intimacy?  What do I need to let go of?"  And so on and so forth.

You don't have to believe your reframe immediately, but on a long enough timeline, it will start to affect the way you talk to yourself.  Give it a try: next time you see Shiny, Happy People and you start to compare and despair, stop. Breathe.  Realize that they are mere mortals like you, and ask yourself, "What am I really wanting here?  How do I start to get a little of that in my life?"  Bonus points if you ask the SHP her secret.

I’ve even created a guide that’s going to help you figure this out!  You’re welcome.  Click on the boxes below to download the guide and explore it.  There’s no right or wrong way to do it, so be open and see what comes up.

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If you’re reading this, then you ARE a creative difference-maker who has a kickass impact to leave on the world, and you gotta get your confidence up if you’re gonna step up and do it, so sign up in the box above to download the guide and start Shiny People Syndrome a thing of the past.  It is a super quick and easy worksheet, and if you actually show up and do it with an open mind, it will start to shift your confidence level in a big way.

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