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I recently received two incredible invitations The first invite: One of my girlfriends rented an incredible Airbnb in Santa Fe for a fun girls weekend getaway. The second invite: My man asked me to go camping with the dogs in Moab, as he’d heard me say I wanted to disconnect and just roam in the desert.
Two fabulous choices and one important decision to make.
These types of situations use to spin me into hours, even days, of torture.
All because I was afraid of making the wrong decision.
Do you know what this is called?
FOMO: the fear of missing out.
FOMO is such a huge epidemic. Do you have it?
It’s crazy-making, y’all.
Is it just me, or is this feeling of constant fear a sad state of affairs in our modern world?
In fact, it’s such a big deal in today’s day and age, that it’s earned a place in the Oxford dictionary.
Oxford’s Definition “fear of missing out: anxiety that an exciting or interesting event may be happening elsewhere, often aroused by posts seen on a social media website.”
FOMO will cause you to do things that don’t make sense, such as:
- Picking up your phone first thing in the morning before you’ve kissed your lover or given your kids a big hug to check out what happened on Facebook while you were sleeping.
- Refreshing your email every 5 mins just in case someone is trying to contact you as if you’re that important in such a big world.
- You stay at an event long after you’re bored just in case something *might* happen (FYI: it never does).
- You’re on your phone while sitting at the table with friends to see if anything “cooler” is happening.
- You camp out in front of the Apple store to be the first in line to buy the are the first latest and greatest iPhone.
- You’re always saying “I’ll let you know,” to invites just in case something better comes along.
- You say yes to things even though your body is giving you a clear no because you don’t want to miss an opportunity.
- You spend more time on social media than you do in real life with family and friends.
- You suffer extreme anxiety and depressing thoughts when you scroll through your Instagram feed.
- You’re constantly checking out your main competitor (or high school rival’s) Facebook page.
- You hear someone mention that they’re going to that coolest networking event and suddenly you feel full of doom. You begin to think about how she’s making all the connections and seizing opportunities that you’ll never have. So, you hop on your computer to see if you can land a last minute ticket.
- You lose sleep thinking about all the books, projects, dreams you’ll never get to.
- While on vacation, you’re thinking about work.
- While at work, you’re thinking about vacation.
But, it can get even worse.
A serious case of FOMO can induce paralysis.
My friend, Margaret, suffered greatly from the inability to make decisions.
She couldn’t decide where to go for dinner. What if she chose the new Italian place and realized that their cannelloni isn’t as good as the place she’s gone to for years? So, she either skipped going out altogether or someone would step in and make the decision on her behalf.
Planning vacations caused her to go temporarily insane. What if she picked the wrong hotel? Or, God forbid, the tour she chose didn’t meet her expectations? Finally, her husband went on hotels.com and just booked it.
A very talented writer, she had dreams of authoring a book but she couldn’t decide on one of her 5 brilliant ideas. What if she picked the wrong idea? Her book still hasn’t been written.
She was so terrified of missing out… that she often did!
The irony, right?
Maybe you can relate to Margaret.
Yes, this is classic FOMO.
Hi, my name is Tonya, and I’m a recovering FOMO addict.
I know from experience how debilitating FOMO can be.
Even when your life is really going well!
Here’s how I used to think:
I’d be sitting at home in the states surrounded by the people I love the most in the world thinking that I should be in Paris.
I’d be sitting at a cute little cafe in Paris thinking I should be home with the people I love the most.
Can you relate?
Nothing will drive you crazier than being in one place and thinking that you should be elsewhere.
And, this is the way so many people live.
When I suffered from FOMO, I didn’t realize it at first. I just thought that I was a girl on the move with a lot of dreams. My mantra was, “So many opportunities; not enough time.” Framing my FOMO as a “pure passion for life” made it seem normal and legitimate.
But, living a life full of fear is not normal and should be called out.
Years ago, a friend said to me:
“Tonya, you’re always running. Your grass is greener mentality is exhausting.”
Thank goodness for the people in my life who have offered me tough love. It’s why I love to dish it out to you because when you know the person offering it out truly cares about you, you start to pay attention.
Suffering from FOMO? Here’s what you must do about it.
Living with FOMO is a horrible existence.
I didn’t want to be:
…that woman who missed what was in front of her because I thought I should be elsewhere.
…that woman on her phone at the dinner table checking her Facebook account.
…that woman who thought her life was never good enough.
…that woman who was never really present.
Yep. The first step is to admit that you have a problem.
It was causing me to suffer from
- A perpetual feeling of “not enough”
- Disconnection in relationships
- Unfinished projects
- Unrealized dreams
- A poor quality of life
I knew I had to stop my FOMO madness.
I’m an ambitious gal and love constantly expanding and growing. However, I needed to take a step back and examine the energy behind my choices.
The question I always ask is: is this out of love or fear?
And, like most things in life, it’s not black and white. Sometimes, my choices were based on absolute joy and at other times, it was fear driven.
Seeing the trips, opportunities, and experiences others were having often influenced my choices to go harder and faster.
I didn’t want to trade in my ambition for laziness and satisfaction. I’m the gal who loves always being a little hungry for life. But, I also didn’t want to make choices based on trying to outlive others.
I began to think about my childhood.
Growing up in a small community (and this was pre- Internet & cell phones) I had nothing to compare my life to, except the fantasies found in magazines and TV shows. I looked around, and it seemed we were all living about the same kind of life. My childhood years were simple and full. I was still ambitious, but it was internally driven. I didn’t feel the anxiety and pressure of keeping up or being one-upped in the living department.
However, in our modern era of technology changing at the speed of light and everyone posting every moment of their day, I unconsciously jumped on the train, completely abandoning my own life.
I realized that if I had trained for FOMO, I could train it for something else.
So, I did some inner searching and trained it to become addicted to …
JOMO: The Joy of Missing Out.
Unfortunately, this term (JOMO) hasn’t made it to the Oxford dictionary yet, but if enough of us adopt this way of living, I’m hoping one day it will.
Here’s my definition: “joy of missing out: a pleasure gained from enjoying one’s current activities without worrying that other people are leading more fulfilled lives.”
When I finally realized how I was missing out on my life because of fear, I committed to practicing the opposite: The joy of missing out.
JOMO can show up like this …
… feeling grateful that you have many opportunities and knowing you can’t choose the wrong one.
… spending your Sundays reading books, not status updates.
… a fuzzy feeling when you say “no” to the party because you can’t wait to cuddle with your dogs and watch a great movie.
… being so “in the moment,” not once do you think about what others are doing.
… making swift decisions instead of tormenting yourself for days.
… asking yourself, “What do I love about this moment,” instead of constantly looking for a new one.
Six ways to practice JOMO
Here are six mantras that I believe deeply.
I started saying them to myself on a regular basis, especially when I started to feel the feelings of FOMO kick in.
These mantras have helped me create true joie de vivre.
And, I’m certain that they can help you too:
“The party is within me.”
This is one of my favorite ways to remind me not worry if I’m missing out on something. If the party is within you, this means that no matter where you are, you can experience fun and joy, even if you’re sitting on the sofa at home by yourself. You get to bring the party to every moment of your life.
“I’m always where I’m supposed to be.”
When I’d hear those old thoughts of, “You should be there. You’re missing out,” I’d remind myself that I’m always where I’m supposed to be. How do I know that? Because it’s where I am at this moment. If I were meant to be somewhere else, that’s where I’d be. So, obviously, at this moment, I am supposed to be here.
“What’s for me will not pass me.”
Last year, I decided not to go to a big invite-only event that I’ve been a part of for years. Big names like Jeff Bezos, Shonda Rhimes, and Brene Brown, just to name a few, were there. When my friends called to tell me they had registered and to inquire if I was going, my body was sending me a clear no. In times past, I would have gone anyway and had a great time, but I chose to honor something deeper, my soul. And, I reminded myself that if there’s an opportunity out there that is meant for me, it will find me because I’m honoring myself.
“Disconnect, <insert your name here>”
When you run a company, you can often find yourself tied to technology way more than is healthy. Even today, with my love of JOMO, I have to remind myself to step away. This one word reminds me to turn off my phone, shut down my laptop and disconnect from the noise of the world and connect to myself and the people I love the most. I often use this one around 5 PM every day and on weekends. “Disconnect, Tonya” is often at the back of my mind, because I personally believe that we’d all be a lot more happy if we did.
“This is my life”
This phrase reminds me that I get to choose how I spend my time. I want to invest it in the people, causes and things I care about most, not on things I’m being pressured out of fear to engage with. I want to make choices that energize me, not drain me. This may mean saying “yes” to an event or to staying at home with the dogs. There is no formula, but you must know who you are, what’s important to you and what you want to experience in this lifetime.
Just by nature, I’m a fast-paced gal. My dad is 6 feet 6 inches tall, so from a young age, I had to walk fast to keep up. I love going fast in life until I crash and burn and realize that I was racing towards the wrong thing. I often talk about slowing down, as I believe that we all need to stop and take a breath. However, it’s the intention and energy that can create a feeling of slowness. I repeat this to myself often as a reminder to take in this moment, to really experience my life as it is right now, because what if this moment is the best thing ever but I don’t realize it because I’m speeding through?
The fantastic results with the consistent practice of JOMO
So, I’ve been practicing JOMO for awhile now, and I’m delighted to report that the benefits far outweigh anything you must give up.
Here are some specific ways that it’s allowed me to experience a newfound joy:
My daily life allows me room to read books that I never had time to enjoy, enjoy simple moments with my family, take walks with my dogs in the woods, work on creative projects and simply be.
I celebrate others when I see them “living large” instead of feeling the immense loss, because I know that I, too, am living large in my own way.
I am more focused in my work life because I’m staying in my own lane and making choices out of joy, not fear.
I’m more relaxed and joyful.
And, yes, life feels a lot more elegant.
Even if you don’t suffer much from FOMO, these mantras can help you with focus and decision making.
JOMO…I highly suggest you try it.
And one last thing:
In case you’re wondering where I chose to go a few weekends ago?
The answer doesn’t really matter.
Because you and I both know that I had a great time.
JOIN THE CHIC CONVERSATION: Which of the six JOMO mantras are you going to practice this week in order to help you make better decisions?
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