Why FOMO is the Ultimate Trap

Do you suffer from a FEAR OF MISSING OUT (FoMO) that in fact causes you to miss out?  What are you afraid you will miss?

What exactly is FOMO?

FOMO is short for “fear of missing out”. It reflects a person’s anxiety that they are not experiencing the same things as other people and that what they are  currently experiencing is substandard in comparison. We spend our time focusing on what other people are getting or learning, that we are not. It is not hard to see how this phenomenon could result in significant distraction from the interactions that you are engaging in, in that moment.

What are the effects?

I have it from a very reliable source, that certain people, (who shall remain nameless) allow FOMO to drive their behaviour such that they become distracted by their story of missing out, are unable to focus on the discussions in the present moment and miss the connection that comes from the shared focused conversation being had.

How it trapped me at my own game

I recently participated in a three-day workshop around the topic of group facilitation. The facilitator declared at the start, that whilst he had a pre-planned framework of topics and activities we could explore, we would go with the flow, taking some of the detours that the group decides.

That was all it took…. despite being a coach and fully understanding the principle, I came down with an unexpected and intractable case of FOMO myself! I was left sitting with this nagging doubt in the back of my mind, that our little conversation detours would deprive me of the valuable information I did not know that I didn’t know! What was I going to miss out on?

Should I share my relevant thoughts as they showed up in the discussions? Were we using our precious time to get the information that was important for me to know? What were we not talking about that I didn’t know I didn’t know?

The mental chatter was prolific until it finally dawned on me….. I was so busy being caught up with my FOMO story, that in actual fact I was missing out on everything, not just the information that wasn’t being presented.

Has this ever happened to you?

STOP, notice your story, step outside and respond from a place of choice.

According to Adult Learning Principles, the best learning occurs when the student is self-motivated, self directed and engaged in a conversation that is highly relevant to an outcome they wish to achieve. Being spoken at is helpful in new learning, but the best learning comes through applying the learning, using deeper reflective conversations to bring greater awareness and understanding to the topic.

So, as I wrote this blog feeling a little sheepish, I reflected on how you may have heard me start my own workshops with the following words….

“In the spirit of coaching, I will be using my slides, posters and workbook as tools to support our reflecting and learning conversations. That means that we may not necessarily proceed in the order in which it is set out. I imagine that this will mess with some people’s heads, the people who like to make sure that they have received all the information that they came for. My promise to you is that I will make sure we cover it all by the end of the workshop.”

From here on in, I will make an addition to my starting words…..

The value you will gain from what I have to say is present, but it will be dwarfed by the value of the focused conversations that we can share collectively about what we think about the material being presented.

The past is in the past, the future has not yet happened. The present is all there is. Be present in the present and mindful of your stories so you can choose to learn what the present has on offer.

How many valuable insights you have missed through being distracted by your own stories of FOMO?

Hi there! I’m Jacqui Snider and I’m here to help you and your business grow and flourish.

As an Occupational Therapist and Workplace Culture Coach and Trainer, I am passionate about helping individuals and organisations develop better home and workplace practices that everyone enjoys being part of. With more than 35 years of coaching experience, I have personally coached and trained in excess of 350 leaders, bringing about transformational change in both individuals and teams.

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