FOMO (or fear of missing out) is a very real feeling that your friends are having fun without you. When that fear creeps into our work lives from our personal lives, it takes the form of envy: somewhere out there, someone’s career is advancing faster than your own. But could those (let’s face it, kind of ugly) feelings of FOMO actually help inspire you?
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Let FOMO Mean You Get Out of Your Comfort Zone
If your fear of missing out leads you to look for new experiences and learn new skills, then congrats! It’s working for you! The worst thing you can do is sit and stew about someone else’s career.
Patrick Allan at Lifehacker points out that FOMO inspired by a seemingly stagnant life can motivate you to get out of that rut. You can take those classes for skills you didn’t think you could tackle, or go to a networking event that you’ve been avoiding because of your fear.
Don’t Believe All You See Online (Be Inspired by It)
If your FOMO is being fed by what you’re seeing in your friends’ Facebook or LinkedIn feeds, be careful you’re not creating a green-eyed monster for no good reason. Your friend might be on a work trip, snapping pictures from interesting locales, or maybe they post when they get a promotion (which seems to be every few months). But maybe the truth behind the picture is the stress they feel over their sales quotas or account goals.
What you should be asking yourself, according to career counselor Bethany Mills, is what specifically you’re coveting in those posts. Ask yourself, “What does that person have that you want?” and “What is your current situation lacking?” You have to take the time to reflect on your own career situation and how you can improve it.
Not All Fears are Equal
While fear of missing out might be kind of maddening at times, it’s not the worst of the fears you could be battling. Fear of failure can be just as bad for your career as fear of success. If you’re feeling FOMO, you’re thinking about how to improve, and that means you’re headed forward. Even a little action can help break up the career block you’re feeling.
Tell Us What You Think
Do you have career FOMO? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.