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Confessions From A “Creative Avoidance” Addict and “Shiny Object” Junkie

Sick_Of_Running_In_Circles_by_chocolate_toxicityStep One

Hi.  My name is Ken Brand and I’m a “Creative Avoidance” addict and “Shiny Object” junkie. Recovering.

Addiction runs in my family.  I’ve been an addict for 30 years.  It began innocently enough.

I passed the test.  They mailed my license.   My broker told me I was the “boss of myself”.

I was an Unconscious Incompetent and I floundered.

Being slow but not stupid, cogs clicked.  Oh! You need to work hard. So I did. But, I didn’t work smart.   I embraced ways to avoid personal engagement. I was distracted by shiny objects.  I worked on the wrong things because I was afraid.

I Was Afraid Of The Unknown

  1. Afraid of saying the wrong thing.
  2. Afraid of looking stupid.
  3. Afraid of rejection.
  4. Afraid of ridicule.
  5. Afraid of being unprepared.
  6. Afraid of not knowing the right answer.
  7. Afraid of letting people down.
  8. Afraid of success.
  9. What are you afraid of?

Fear Paralyzed My Productivity and Fueled Bone-Headed and Unproductive Behaviors.

To supress my fear and feel better about myself, I wheeled  into kinetic action.  I did things I could master and manage. I did things that made me feel busy. I did things I thought were cool. I did things that exhausted me. I did things that gave me a sense of accomplishment.

I engaged in Creative Avoidance.  I worked hard but not smart.  I worked fearfully.  I avoided In-Person and On-Purpose personal contact, conversation, asking for referrals, asking for recommendations and asking for business.

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I chased shiny-objects.

I was busy, but broke.  I was active, but unproductive.

I started but did not finish. I loaded my gun.  I cocked my gun. I aimed my gun.  But I never pulled the trigger.

I was always getting ready to get ready, to get ready, to get ready…..

I spent tedious hours recreating and redesigning  magical-silver-bullets;  flyers, post cards, eCards, newsletters, tweets, presentations, FB updates, blogs, websites, data bases, letters and short-cut-strategies.

When I did meet new prospects, I failed to follow-up quickly.  Then I failed to follow-up because I hadn’t followed-up.  Then I chased new strangers.  Then I failed to follow-up quickly.  Then I failed….

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I over did things that sucked time, energy, emotion and cash.  I under-did productive stuff.

Thankfully, all was not  lost and it’s never to late to become what we might have been.

Repent and ReDirect

I’m learning that contact, interaction, conversation and engagement is THE most important-productive stuff.  No “contact” no “contract”.

I’m learning that Failing Faster will help me Succeed Sooner.

I’m learning that occasionally, I’m gonna say and do things that make me look stupid.  It’s OK. Some will, some won’t, so what!

I’m learning that it’s OK to feel fearful,  Fear is my friend. I should hug, kiss, pet, friend and learn from it, not run from it.

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I’m learning to prioritize and postpone the burning desire and seductive allure of immediate “Shiny Object” gratification. (For me, this is the rock hardest of all?)

I’m learning to recognize and shun “Creative Avoidance”.

I’m learning to “Attract” and “Loyalize” instead of “Chase” and “Capture”.

I’m learning that my marketing, promotion, social media, advertising and networking stuff should cause this to happen:

Contact > Conversation > Connection > Discover> Service/Help > Get Hired or Referred

The Dance

Everyday’s new.  A new chance to Rise Up.

Addictions don’t die, they’re tamed and trained.  When my what’s-right will recedes or a take a humbling tumble, I don’t freak or punish myself.  I smile, sigh, shrug, rise and stride forward.

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I know what I need to do.  I reflect,  redirect and dance on.

My hope is that you can learn from my mistakes.  Avoid “Creative Avoidance” and manage pesky “Shiny Object Syndrome.”  Engage in On-Purpose, In-Person contact and conversation.  Do productive stuff.  When you fall, RISE.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

What’s your story?


Thanks for reading.

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Photo Credit

Written By

Ken Brand - Prudential Gary Greene, Realtors. I’ve proudly worn a Realtor tattoo for over 10,957+ days, practicing our craft in San Diego, Austin, Aspen and now, The Woodlands, TX. As a life long learner, I’ve studied, read, written, taught, observed and participated in spectacular face plant failures and giddy inducing triumphs. I invite you to read my blog posts here at Agent Genius and On the lighter side, you can follow my folly on Twitter and Facebook. Of course, you’re always to welcome to take the shortcut and call: 832-797-1779.



  1. jsheehan200

    June 29, 2009 at 8:08 am

    Wow! A brilliant post. Thanks Ken, I’ve been stuggling with some of the same issues.


    Joe Sheehan

  2. Lani Rosales

    June 29, 2009 at 10:43 am

    @kenbrand although I am a creative person by nature, I’m more of a controlling person by nature (although I’m very laid back and most people don’t know that I’m a control freak). So my story is not in seeking perfection which is what stunts most controlling people, but I seek completion. I also am A.D.D. so I physically get distracted but I’m a checklist and timer type of person.

    But because I struggle between being flighty (ooh look, a stringy!!) as well as controlling (I want it done well and I want it done now and I’ll be overly competitive if I have to), I’ve implemented a few tools to keep me on track:

    1. Evernote to quickly organize all of my notes from online (which is where 80% of my work exists)- it’s like sticky notes that are electronic that you can tag (aka put in piles)

    2. Klok to track all of my time. So, I just opened up my laptop and basically clocked in to my “Agent Genius” job before I began reading/commenting.

    3. Google has a great email, calendar and document feature that keep me organized which is what I crave despite my ADD

    It’s hard to be OCDADD, yo!

  3. Ken Brand

    June 29, 2009 at 11:01 am

    Joe – Thanks

    Lani – What? Here I am dropping my pants, sharing the trials and tribulations of a shiny object junkie and you toss me not 1 but 2 new shiny objects. Ahhhh…but these two will save me time and keep me on track….nice. Thanks, I’ll check into it. Cheers.

  4. Matthew Hardy

    June 29, 2009 at 2:26 pm

    “Shiny Object Syndrome” in my world of real estate software is the seemingly never-ending stream of free/nearly free vendor-hosted stuff that agents drift in and out of before finding that they’ve never actually added any real value to their business. Buy hey, I’d love to find a $2,000 car that drives like a Bugati Veyron.


  5. Lani Rosales

    June 29, 2009 at 2:40 pm

    Matthew- nothing’s perfect, I would have loved to know wth a bugati veyron was without googling it….

  6. Matthew Hardy

    June 29, 2009 at 3:16 pm

    Lani – Sorry… I can drive it over to show you guys if you like. 😉

  7. Mark Alan Effinger

    June 29, 2009 at 4:30 pm

    Genius, Ken.

    And oh-so-true.

    I have spent the last 20 years implementing, then studying the results of “touchpoints”: each and every contact with a prospect, from first to life.

    I have found that most engagements can be made within 25 touchpoints, and within 6 weeks of the initial “ping”, whatever that may be.

    Once you absolutely know what each touchpoint needs to be, what flavor, color, smell, taste and timing… then you can refine your process, shorten the cycle. And build incredible relationships. Ones who always see you as an important resource regardless of what’s happening in their lives.

    Awesome clarity in this post, BTW. Your voice comes through loud and clear.

  8. Lisa Sanderson

    June 29, 2009 at 8:08 pm

    You talkin’ to me? :: looking over shoulder ::

  9. Ken Brand

    June 30, 2009 at 7:39 am

    matthew – I’d love to see it. Hey, even better, can I borrow it. I’ll fill it up and wash it before I return it?

    mark – Thanks. You’ve given me something to think about – the touch-points. cheers

    Lisa – It’s an pandemic, right? I think so. Cheers.

  10. Ian Greenleigh

    July 1, 2009 at 7:05 pm

    I’ve rarely seen this experience articulated so well. We need to learn to honestly evaluate what we are spending time on in terms of goals, cost-benefit, etc. It’s extremely tough work when the value of our efforts are focused on the long term, as in network building, marketing, etc.

  11. Leah Henderson

    July 8, 2009 at 12:19 am

    “Thankfully, all was not lost and it’s never to late to become what we might have been.” Great line.

    Great post, Ken! I appreciate your transparency. We all suffer from this from time to time and you put it masterfully and beautifully.


  12. Glenn Sojourner

    December 21, 2009 at 12:01 am


    Great post…and so very true. Quite a few times I have found myself thinking I was busy but then realizing I was NOT productive. It seems the more gadgets we have the more we have to tinker with and play with the shiny objects in our life. But when we focus and have a real plan for doing what we want and need to do, it takes so much less time and the end results are far more valuable.


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I’ll Get Right To The Prickly-Point It’s a tradition from the bygone era of sub-agency.* It’s a time suck. It’s a feel busy – creative avoidance...


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