How Your Business Idol Might Be Unwittingly Sabotaging Your Success

Have you ever looked up to a business idol, and suddenly felt like you were “less than” them because you haven’t achieved their level of success, fame, or fortune?

That’s what happens when you put your business idol on a pedestal.

It’s such a common occurrence, but for most of us this type of comparison feeling creeps up on us when we least expect it. Like when you’re having breakfast catching up on your blog post reading, and you see a big announcement from your favorite business mentor. Or you see their name in a big publication that you’ve always dreamed of appearing in.

It’s enough to make you spit out your green smoothie, and not because it isn’t tasty!

So what can you do to deal with the way we automatically put others on a pedestal, and how crappy it makes us feel after? That’s where my girl Gabby Bernstein’s book Spirit Junkie comes in.

You might be thinking that a book about spirituality shouldn’t fall under the business book review section, but you’d be wrong. Because as spiritual beings doing business with one another, we need to keep our spiritual stuff cleaned up so that we can truly be of service in the world.

Have You Put Your Business Idol on a Pedestal?

I loved reading the book Spirit Junkie, and my favorite chapter is the third one, because it’s all about the pedestal. Or what Gabby calls “Somethin’ Special”.

Gabrielle shares with us the story of her first love relationship back in her high school days, when she fell madly in love and idolized her boyfriend. She talks about how she put him above everyone else in her life, including herself. She had put him on a pedestal, and when he broke up with her it was devastating.

I think we can all relate to having put a crush or someone we were dating high on a pedestal. If you’ve ever experienced this, then you know how you place all of your hopes and dreams in the arms of this other person. Not unlike how you might put all your hopes of making it big online into the hands of your coach, mentor, or next training program. We’ve all done it, and now it’s time to revisit this behavior.

The Truth: We’re All Special

This might sound a little saccharine and trite, but at a cosmic level we really are all special, and equal. There aren’t any people on this planet who were born with a little less magic dust than others.

But sometimes we can let our minds convince us that there are special people. Maybe you’re walking down the street and you see someone who appears to have it all together. You might say to yourself that you’re never going to be as X, Y, Z as they are because they’re special.

Then you might experience the opposite reaction, when your mind tries to protect you. You might think that this person is so far ahead of you, but that they’re selling out and that you’re staying pure to your beliefs, so you’re better than they are. More special.

You see how our minds can play tricks on us and convince us that we’re both more special and less special faster than it takes to reboot your computer?

The bottom line is that we are all special. No more, no less.

How To Take Your Business Idol Off The Pedestal

At the end of Gabby’s Spirit Junkie book, she shares an amazing “De-Special Meditation” that I highly recommend. You can also grab the recording here.

The good news is that you’ve already taken the first step to removing all the yucky feelings that go along with idolizing people: you’ve recognized that you’ve been doing it. Once you know that you’re putting your business mentors, health coaches, and other friends on a pedestal, you can see how it’s hurting your ability to connect with them.

Similarly, when you put someone on a pedestal and judge their successes, you’re putting a barrier between yourself and the very successes that you might want to accomplish.

If you’re judging, either positively or negatively, the financial wins of a fellow business owner… then you’re making it harder for your own company to achieve those or similar monetary goals.

Your subconscious will believe you when you think that this other business owner is selling out or marketing too aggressively, and will work hard to make sure that you never sell out or market too hard. This will in turn keep you from achieving the levels of success that you want, and will keep you stuck in the judging realm.

The same goes for when you see a fit personal trainer, and you tell yourself that they’re special and can be slim because it’s their job to be… if you let yourself believe that, then you won’t get your butt in the gym because your subconscious will tell you that you don’t have what it takes, or that you’re not special enough.

Funny how dangerous these pedestals can be, huh?

Time To Be a Spiritual Junkie

Grab a copy of Gabrielle Bernstein’s book Spirit Junkie, and find out from the source how you can reduce your automatic reaction to making others special.

I’d love to hear your thoughts about this idolizing habit that seems to creep up on all of us as business owners and human beings! Leave a comment below, and be sure to share this post with others who could benefit from a little less pedestal gazing time, and more action!


  1. Sukie Baxter on July 25, 2012 at 3:41 pm

    Nice article, Nathalie! Soooo dangerous to idolize, and then imitate. It's much more profitable – and fun – to be yourself.

    • Nathalie Lussier on July 25, 2012 at 5:06 pm

      Absolutely! And you're right on the profitability of being ourselves. :)

  2. Hull Financial Planning on July 25, 2012 at 4:55 pm

    Hi, Nathalie. When we overidolize someone/something, then we're subjecting ourselves to an ingroup bias ( of that, we create "us and them" in our minds and discount what the "them" or the outgroup might have to offer us. I take the approach that I can learn something from everyone and from every interaction. A good story for this is how Sergey Brin of Google never ends a job interview early. Even if he knows he's not going to hire the person, he stays to try to learn at least one thing from that person. By taking this approach, we increase the value that everyone brings to our lives while decreasing our dependency on our idol – it's diversification of insights.

    • Nathalie Lussier on July 25, 2012 at 5:07 pm

      I love the example of how Sergey doesn't end an interview early even if he knows it's not going to work out. And yes there is definitely an us vs. them created, if we're not careful!

  3. Jenna Dalton on July 25, 2012 at 11:54 am

    Being a newbie business owner I can definitely relate. When I started out I was unintentionally “copying” everyone else because I had no idea what I was doing and was not confident in being “me”. After lots of self-work/love I am happy to say my business and brand is now 100% me :)

  4. Nathalie Lussier on July 25, 2012 at 12:05 pm

    Hey Jenna!

    Love that you’re now rocking your own brand and business! It’s all about the self-work/love, baby. :)

  5. Jessica Newell on July 25, 2012 at 10:17 pm

    I feel like because of the ease with which we have setting up our own media presence online many who are just starting up there businesses (myself included) easily jump into comparing ourselves with those whom our culture labels 'celebrities'. Now that social media has leveled the playing field in terms of influence/power everyday business owners now have the freedom to build up their own buzz from scratch.

    It can be quite a challenge to bust through the mindset barriers that say that its impossible to achieve tremendous success simply because it used to actually be the case! That's where the idol factor comes in – but it is so true that everyone carries the same amount of specialness – and now we can all shine – no idols necessary!

    Thanks for sharing this Nathalie :)

    • Nathalie Lussier on July 27, 2012 at 4:44 pm

      Thank you for sharing your viewpoint and amazing insights Jessica!

  6. Katie Adler on July 26, 2012 at 3:25 am

    I can' read this because of this thing in the middle wanting me to ding it and it will not go away!

  7. RMSorg on July 31, 2012 at 12:57 pm

    Really great article and a spot we all find ourselves in… I have learned that the “gurus” of our industries really aren’t gurus, so I try not to idolize them but share, learn, teach and communicate with them. After all we are all always growing thru learning! Once we stop learning, we stop growing.

    Thanks again!


  8. Missy Cooke on April 11, 2014 at 2:07 pm

    This is such a great reminder. Not only does it hurt your success, but there are other downfalls. For example, I’ve had mentors disappoint me by doing something that went against their own principles or was dishonest. When you put all your faith in one person, it’s shattering when they aren’t as perfect as you thought.