Remember that feeling in high school when all of your friends went to a party and you didn’t go? Or the time you felt anxious and uneasy when your colleagues went out for lunch without you? That’s FOMO – the fear of missing out. It’s the feeling that drives us to habitually check our social feeds. What if I’m missing out on something important!?
Besides wreaking havoc in our personal lives, FOMO is guilty for driving some decisions we make about our work, and leading us to say yes to things because we’re afraid we’ll miss out if we say no.
- We work overtime because we’re afraid of what the consequences might be if we say no to extra work.
- We show up every day at a job we dislike because we’re afraid of missing out on opportunities if we leave.
- We say yes to every extra shift because we’re afraid of what might happen if we say no.
- We over-extend ourselves because we’re afraid of what people might think of us otherwise.
- We put off our dreams of trying new things because we’re afraid of losing our connections with colleagues.
When we say yes to things that we ought to say ‘no’ to, and when we compare ourselves to everyone else’s highlight reels, outward lives and unspoken expectations, we are missing out. We’re missing out on meeting our needs and achieving our own goals.
Mostly, we’re missing out on joy.
Letting go of FOMO is necessary for finding and staying on the path we’re meant to be.