After years of denying it, nine months ago, I finally acknowledged to myself that I was suffering from FOMO.
To clarify, this term simply means, The Fear of Missing Out.
But not so much in terms of my personal social life but more so from my work social life and the impact that I thought it was having on my career progression.
Despite being friendly with all my colleagues in the office and going to the occasional social event and being a high performer, I felt, because I wasn’t socialising with my work mates every other night, it was impacting my opportunities at work and being seen as more than what I was.
I started suffering from FOMO. So when I started in a new position and a more senior one, I found that not only did I work hard, I socialised hard (different to party hard may I add). This meant that I had many ‘work’ events that I just ‘had to be at’.
I felt that I was on fire during that time - my ego was nurtured by going to amazing events or an after work drink which would turn to dinner. Fast forward two years and more of this socialising which can be mistaken for networking (there is a difference), and lots of fun, positive (but somewhat shallow) interactions, I found my FOMO started extending in other areas of my life and I was running myself ragged trying to keep up with it all.
When I started my business, I would start comparing myself to other people and their apparent successes. I started getting what I like to call ‘comparatism’. The self doubt train came zooming in pretty quickly after that and I started to feel that perhaps I would never be as good as them. But then something changed.
With the new business, I was forced to spend a lot of time on my own. And I really struggled with this having grown used to leading teams, giving feedback, receiving feedback and going to events or to the latest restaurant and bar with the perceived glamour that goes with.
It was when I sought the advice of a friend of mine where he said to me, “You are a people person but you have become one of those people that you couldn’t stand and you’ve lost sight of you and what you care about. You are comparing yourself and trying to be all things to everyone. Everyone else trusts in you, and therefore you need to start trusting in yourself and your ability.”
A light went on – I needed to hear that. I needed to hear that I had to manage my own allocation of time and to trust my ability and myself to interact in a way that makes me feel truly good and makes the person I am with feel good. That is with intention, with heart and with a true listening ear.
And when my body and my mind give me the sign that I need to slow down, if I need to cancel plans, I will, but with the honesty that goes with that (most of the time they feel the same but felt obliged).
The result, when I do socialise for work or for play it is with my full self, listening fully, laughing genuinely and with people that make my heart sing. And most importantly, these interactions lead to the most wonderful, fulfilling opportunities.