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Many business owners, leaders and entrepreneurs I work with and speak to are suffering from fear of missing out or FOMO.

Fear of missing out comes in many shapes and sizes.

FOMO examples include :

  1. Other people may be further along in their business than you
  2. They may be making more money
  3. People have things that you don’t have
  4. Exciting social media posts show a life you wish you had

What does FOMO mean?

Fear of missing out or FOMO is about consciously wanting to see and connect with what other people are doing in case you may be missing out on something.

But, here’s what’s really happening when you experience FOMO.

  • When you experience FOMO there is an acute sense you’re missing out on something important
  • FOMO can be perpetuated by comparing yourself to others
  • Instead of worrying about others, focus on your own path

The fear of missing out on social media

As an entrepreneur, you may have experienced fear of missing out in the past or are experiencing it right now, especially through social media.

Here are some examples of fear of missing out (FOMO) that we experience through social media:

  • You worry that someone is getting so much more engagement on their social media channels than you
  • Thinking about how someone is making more money than you but not working as hard
  • You worry about shiny objects and need to have the next big thing
  • Connectivity and being in the know matters
  • You’re constantly thinking about what the the missing piece could be in your business
  • Gurus are telling you what to do and you don’t want to miss out

Why we experience the fear of missing out 

Fear of missing out, known by many as FOMO, affects every entrepreneur I know.

In my experience, it’s characterised as feeling anxious that something exciting or interesting is happening elsewhere.

Social media and your personal network can often perpetuate that anxiety.

When you see posts and pictures or hear about about the wonderful time your peers, network or friends are having without you, the feeling of missing out can be all-consuming.

FOMO can cost you time and energy

FOMO or the fear of missing out isn’t worth much.

But, having the sense that you are missing out can cost you a lot, sometimes in time, sometimes in energy, sometimes in money and occasionally in all three.

This is especially true when it comes to our productivity.

FOMO is like a powerful undertow for entrepreneurs.

It is invisible on the surface, but is something that pulls us away from what matters to help move our business forward.

Saying no perpetuates fear of missing out  

One of the biggest challenges facing entrepreneurs is the ability to just say NO.

We are all presented with a myriad of opportunities every day and we can feel like we will miss something important if we don’t jump on it.

The important thing to remember is to fully interrogate the opportunity. To ask yourself:

  • Does it fit with my overall strategy?
  • Will it make a real difference to my bottom line?
  • Will it help me to get where I want to go?

It means saying no to most of the opportunities you are offered and not worrying about what everyone else is doing.

Pick your opportunities carefully and stay true to yourself and your vision.

How to overcome the fear of missing out 

But, sometimes fear can turn that feeling inside out.

Suddenly success looks like saying yes to 100 different things. And if we don’t say yes, we worry we’ll fail.

That’s why we’re afraid of passing up an invitation. We worry about missing an opportunity so we say yes to all those that comes along.

Fear of missing out is also why we spend so much time on Facebook, Instagram and other platforms.

FOMO is why we worry so much about our competitors, why we keep taking so many online courses and signing up to newsletter after newsletter from the latest guru.

We can become so busy saying yes to the vague possibility that something will help us that we don’t focus on the things that really matters most.

FOMO stops us taking action 

Our planners and schedules seem to be overflowing with stuff to do, but how important is everything on our list?

Do you have enough clarity and confidence on where you want to go and the focus to get there?

During a typical week we can have so many ‘opportunities’ which drag us down and often never pan out but they take us away from the really challenging, great work.

And often, deep down, we know it is.

Our time is fixed so it’s essential to master our time and focus on the things that really matter, not move on to that next shiny object.

So when we pencil in another chance for improved income, status, or relational equity, we do it at the expense of focused time for high-leverage projects and margin for rejuvenation and our most important relationships.

How to get over your FOMO and increase happiness 

Thankfully, there’s a way out of fear of missing out to keep you focused and on track.

Here are 5 simple steps you can take to overcome FOMO and increase happiness.

To focus your time and energy on your path to your goals, follow these five steps:

1. Commit to strong, specific goals

Clarity is key. If your priorities are clear, you can worry about yourself and not think about anyone else.

Always be intentional.

When opportunities come along be clear on whether it fits with your overall goals.

If yes, cool. If not, forget about it.

2. Know the high-value activities needed to hit your goals

There’s only so many hours in a day.

Prioritise your key activities and work on the most important thing first.

Don’t multi-task between projects.

3. Recognise the tradeoffs

When you are thinking about saying yes to an opportunity, ask yourself what you’re giving up.

What is the most valuable use of your time right now? If it doesn’t help you reach your goals then the answer is no.

4. Give yourself permission to say no

Have the confidence to say no to the things that aren’t right for you.

After a while you’ll be clear on the things that will help and the things that will drain you of your energy.

It’s fine to say no.

5. Create an abundance mindset

Fear of missing out thrives on scarcity mindset and you not having clarity on your goals.

If you’re in a scarcity mindset, remember all of the great things about you and your business.

This will instantly transform your mindset from scarcity to an abundant mindset.

This will give you the confidence to say no if the opportunity is not right.

Remember, there is always another opportunity.


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Mark Pettit Administrator
Strategic Business Coach , Founder, Lucemi Consulting
About the Author Mark Pettit is a leading 1:1 business coach to ambitious entrepreneurs who want to free themselves up to jump to the next level of time freedom and business growth. He is the founder of Lucemi Consulting, a coaching and consulting company. Visionary, creative, and generous, he is a hero to entrepreneurs seeking to work less, do more of what they love and multiply their revenue and profits.
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