When happenings are positioned as “once in a lifetime” they are hard to ignore; and when schools close and people take time off work, you realize something big is about to take place. The news plays a part in the frenzy by repeatedly warning the public that highways will be crowded and hotels sold out because “everyone” will want to take in the historical event: the total solar eclipse. Missing out – that feels monumental!
After all, the last total eclipse took place in 1918, so for most, it truly is a once in a life time event.
I don’t like to miss out!
Total solar eclipses are not the only happenings in life that result in “FOMO – the fear of missing out.” Even though Merriam Webster has recently added FOMO as an official word, the concept is not new. Prior to advances in technology and the birth of social media “keeping up with the Joneses” is what your mother called it.
No matter what you call it, FOMO or “keeping up with the Joneses,” it is triggered when you lack clarity around your vision, your values, and the unique purpose God has for you and allow yourself to be influenced by others. Technology and social media certainly make it easier to see what others are up to, and can contribute to making you feel like you are failing to keep up. FOMO also increases the odds that you will settle for less than God has in mind for you by trying to imitate what He’s has for others.
What God has in mind for you is exclusive to you. It will be creative, unexpected, and most likely outside of your comfort zone. It will require you to trust Him, it will stretch you, and it will be something you can only do with His help. In the end, it will glorify Him.
I confess I experienced FOMO recently as the hashtags began to circulate online for the annual Global Leadership Summit. In the past, this is something I regularly participated in and very much enjoyed. As a life and leadership coach – it is right up my ally! Yet, circumstances didn’t allow me to participate. I must trust that God has great things in mind for me even if I had to miss this event.
Maybe you’ve experienced FOMO around job opportunities, leadership positions, networking events, investments, potential clients, amazing social opportunities… the list is endless! Fear of missing out leaves you with an unsettling feeling that is tough to shake and keeps you from focusing on what’s right in front of you leaving you stuck.
I know that there’s a good chance that FOMO is at work when I find myself being indecisive, feeling like I need to be everywhere but where I am, or my vision or strategy is fuzzy. It leaves me feeling insecure, not to mention it feeds fear and anxiety which does nothing positive for my health. And it compromises my effectiveness as a leader.
So what do you do when FOMO creeps up? Here are some tips that help me in those FOMO moments:
1. Focus on God’s love for me
Each morning in my time alone with God, I read a couple of chapters from Psalms or Proverbs as a part of my reading through the Bible. When I read through Proverbs, I go back at the beginning of Psalms. Why? Because they remind me over and over again that no matter how horrific life gets, God is still in control, still able to help me, and He still loves me. I need that kind of daily reminder because the twists and turns of life can tempt me to think otherwise.
It is wildly comforting to me to know the depth of His love for me – He is the source of love and love is the remedy for fear.
There is no room in love for fear. Well-formed love banishes fear. Since fear is crippling, a fearful life – fear of death, fear of judgment – is one not yet fully formed in love. I John 4:18 (MSG)
Like a loving good father, God wants the best for me. I put my trust in this; it gives me peace and security.
2. Concentrate on the good
FOMO is all about focusing on the one thing you can’t have while overlooking everything you do have. It is rooted in scarcity – the idea that opportunities are limited and often narrowed even further by the sense that a specific opportunity is the ONLY way to achieve whatever you are chasing right now.
Yet God is able to work in all kinds of crazy situations – He’s proved that over and over again in countless lives in scripture. Remember Joseph, Esther, David and so many more!
And I am certain He has been at work in your life too! Trust that there is enough to go around. Have an abundance mindset.
3. Dwell on His purpose for me
Scripture tells us that God knit you together in your mother’s womb. The Message words Ps 139: 15 as “sculpted you from nothing to something.” He created you out of nothing for “something” – that’s pretty exciting to me! You won’t find that “something” on Facebook, Twitter, or imitating the lives of anyone else. Nope! He has something JUST for YOU!
Sometimes that is a specific “to do,” but more often it is a way of being that reflects Him. And as you operate out of that way of being, opportunities unfold that you would never have previously imagined.
4. Practice committing
Sometimes fear of missing out is about hoping that something better will come along. That can make committing hard. The inability to commit results in issues both personally and professionally. It is tough to follow a wavering leader who struggles to settle on a specific vision, strategy, or a date for a meeting.
Begin taking the plunge and just commit. Practice missing out. Soon you will see that life goes on and that you can rely on God to show you what needs to be different; that situations work out. When leaders can own mistakes and make positive changes – that’s attractive to those under their influence.
5. Take charge
There is no time like the present to take charge of your life. After all, we each have one life to develop the habits necessary to do what you’ve been created to do. Manage your time well. Invest your time in activities that will make a difference and contribute significantly to the goals that God’s given you. Develop habits that will enable you to be a more effective leader.
Being clear on your vision, values, and purpose allows you to move forward with confidence. It makes it easier to determine whether or not opportunities are right for you. The more you are able to clarify the less FOMO is at work confusing your next steps.
Where has FOMO been showing up for you; in historical events like the total solar eclipse, business or social events like the Global Leadership Summit, or in some other way? What’s been the impact of FOMO on your life or leadership?
© Can Stock Photo / stanciuc