Ever felt like you're in a relentless career race, saying "yes" to everything? This constant hustle, driven by the fear of missing out (FOMO), often leads to more stress than success. True achievement isn't about grabbing every opportunity but choosing those that really count.
I remember, early in my career, thinking that grabbing every opportunity was the key to moving forward. Sure, it brought some wins and connections, but it also led to burnout, where the stress outweighed the gains. This burnout, I realized, came from the paradox of choice - too many options leading to inefficiency, anxiety, and regret. It dawned on me that being busy perpetually was a double-edged sword.
So what sparks the impulse to 'do it all'? In my work with executives and professionals, I've seen how FOMO leads us into traps. Let's explore these traps and learn how to find joy in making choices that truly align with our career goals and personal values.
⚠️Trap 1: The Yes Habit
Constant "yes" stems from seeking approval or avoiding conflict.
Reflect: Are you saying 'yes' for the right reasons? Does it align with your priorities?
⚠️Trap 2: Opportunity Illusion
Not all opportunities are steps forward. Seeing peers or colleagues take on multiple opportunities influences you to follow suit: the bandwagon effect!
Reflect: Does this opportunity truly align with your career goals, or are you just following the crowd?
⚠️Trap 3: Misaligned Goals
Sometimes, we chase opportunities more for external validation than for personal fulfillment leading to misalignment with our intrinsic motivations.
Reflect: If you look back in five years, will you regret not pursuing this or be glad that you focused on what truly mattered?
Our Fear of missing out (FOMO) drives us to overcommit. A German study highlighted that overcommitment in professionals is linked to a high need for approval and can lead to the development of stress-related health problems. The study found that overcommitted individuals struggle to create the stress response needed to keep up with life's demands, leading to conditions akin to adrenal fatigue.
So, how do you navigate your career race with purpose and enjoy it?
Navigate from Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) to JOMO
Implementing a strategy to combat FOMO involves a balanced approach, combining discipline and optimism.
🚀 Mindful Decision-Making:
Decision-making frameworks, such as the 10-10-10 rule can help you in making more informed and intentional choices. This framework, created by the Stern School of Business professor Suzy Welch, will help you foresee the short-term, medium-term, and long-term impacts of your choices.
When you have to make a decision, think about its impacts in 10 minutes, 10 months, and 10 years. This encourages deliberation, letting your impulse take the backseat.
🚀 Quality Over Quantity:
Whether it is tasks, networking, or screen time, choose quality over quantity by gaining clarity on your goals and establishing boundaries to achieve them. This will help you to focus on the depth and quality of the engagement and the value it offers.
For example, you could choose to attend fewer, and more relevant networking events or workshops that align closely with your niche, rather than trying to be present at every available networking opportunity.
Additionally, restrict browsing social media to specific times, focusing on high-quality interactions and content consumption that directly benefits your work, rather than constantly scrolling through feeds and experiencing anxiety over what others are doing or achieving.
🚀 Reflection & Growth:
Regularly reflecting on experiences, both positive and negative, can lead to better decision-making and increased work satisfaction. Therefore, reflect on whether you are driven by external factors and pressures or are making deliberate choices based on your values and goals. Learning from the successes and failures to gain invaluable insights into your limits and strengths. This reflection can lead to setting realistic expectations and more fulfilling professional choices for the future.
🚀 Embracing 'JOMO' – the Joy of Missing Out:
Find joy in being present by prioritizing what's important to you, and not feeling the need to compare yourself with others.
You don’t need to accept every party invitation, take every LinkedIn course, or make everyone happy.
It is important to be intentional with your time and prioritize what is truly important to you. Shifting the focus from what is missed to what is gained in the present moment can be transformative leading to the joy in missing out (JOMO)
The shift from the frantic (FOMO) Fear of missing out to a more balanced and mindful approach is not just a personal preference but a strategic imperative in today’s professional world. Making mindful and deliberate choices that align with your values and objectives, optimizes your career path with a sense of purpose and fulfillment, leading to improved mental health, job satisfaction, and overall well-being.
Remember, success is not just about being busy; it's about being purposeful.
Do you want to accelerate your career growth? Book a FREE consultation to explore your options.