THE BLOG

How FOMO Can Sneak Up on You

06/23/2015 09:25 am ET | Updated Jun 23, 2016
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Today we get to the core of a little nugget called FOMO. The acronym has been around for a while. The concept has been around a whole lot longer than that.

And yet, for some reason, so many of us still fall prey to it. It seems to sneak up on us regularly, gets in the way of our happiness and fulfillment and success. Thus, our brief FOMO journey today.

If you haven't heard of the acronym, FOMO stands for the almighty...

Fear. Of. Missing. Out.

I gave myself a full on dose of FOMO recently... when, after an exhausting week, my visions of chilling out and reading for a whole Saturday got passed up so I could attend a networking event. I didn't want to miss out on perhaps meeting a new person who might perhaps one day become a client.

I regretted the change of plans the second I put on my uncomfortable high heel shoes.

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When I arrived I was tired. I wasn't on my game. I met no one new... which was a good thing. Because I could've really messed things up if I had.

We need to take FOMO seriously. It sneaks up on us, makes us doubt the thoughtful decisions we've made...the ones about our time and our money and how we will spend them...and gets us to change them for the wrong reason.

And then we miss out on what actually matters to us.

  • FOMO is when we interrupt our special family dinner to answer our cell phone in case someone needs us. Whoever that might be.
  • FOMO is when we put off finishing up that that big project because we get invited to a casual lunch with our co-workers... and we don't want to miss out on the chance for some bonding and office gossip. Whatever that might be.
  • FOMO is when we attend another singles event...even though we hate them...because we don't want to miss out on the chance to meet that special someone. Whoever that might be.

(And then, all-too-often, we wind up meeting this person instead.)

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Sometimes FOMO has to do with the fear of missing out on something fun. Sometimes it has to do with the fear of missing out on a career opportunity. Sometimes it's just about wanting to be a part of the action, at all costs to our family, our work, our health.

Yes, there are times when we need to change our plans in order to take advantage of opportunities that come our way. And we do it thoughtfully.

But.

That's not FOMO.

FOMO isn't about thoughtful decisions. FOMO is about fear.

And what is fear? Fear is about something that might happen in the future. In this case it's about something that might happen that we aren't a part of.

And to be clear, something might happen. There will always be action - or the potential for action - going on somewhere.

Even if we really, really try, we simply cannot be a part of everything anyway. There are too many things happening in life all at the same time.

The point is that this doesn't matter. Or if we want to be happy, we need to make it matter less.

If we really want to be intentional in our lives, if we really want to stick to decisions about our success and happiness, then we must be OK with not being a part of everything... of anything other than what's going on for us right now.

In the end, that's what life is about, yes? To do the things and be with the people that we decide matter most at any given time.

That's what I'm trying to do. Which is why I've decided there will be no more evenings filled with high-heel shoes unless I intentionally decide I want to be there. I will do my best to let the fear go, to keep FOMO from sneaking up on me.

If nothing else, I know my feet will thank me.

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This week:

Beware of FOMO. Recognize how it plays into your life. Get over the fear. Enjoy every moment you're in. And live the success and happiness you've intended.

PS. thanks to knowyourmeme for the "Sudden Clarity Clarence" shot. Love it!