014: Get Over FOMO: Focus on What’s Important | Tanya Dalton Skip to the content
April 18, 2017   |   Episode #:

014: Get Over FOMO: Focus on What’s Important

In This Episode:

Discover how you can hone in and focus on your priorities without getting FOMO about missing other opportunities. For today’s episode, I’m talking about how FOMO is a major factor to developing trends and to how we perceive the many situations around us. I’ll discuss a few of my favorite tips to start breaking that feeling many of us get when we have to choose between what to do.

Show Transcript:

The Big Idea

Do the things that are fulfilling to you. Let go of the rest.

Questions I Answer

  • How do I let go of FOMO?
  • What can I do to stop feeling like I have to say yes to everything?
  • What tips do you have for women who feel spread to thin?
  • How can I stop feeling busy all the time?

Actions to Take

Key Topics in the Show

  • How Steve Jobs got over the Fear Of Missing Out.

  • The history of the word priority.

  • How and why we experience FOMO.

  • The number one regret of people on their deathbeds.

Resources and Links

  • Ten Things FOMO Causes:
    • Trying to pursue a career, enjoy family life plus social activities, hobbies, fitness training, and more.
    • Being constantly connected via our phones and social media, available to communicate in every possible way.
    • We now participate in communities rather than belong to them. We take part of several different communities, virtual or real, at any given time, on a temporary basis, avoiding total commitment to any one of them.
    • People who are considered more ‘interesting’ have a wide range of interests and occupations, they make changes to their appearance, their clothing style might vary, and they exhibit openness to explore new concepts, designs, and cuisines.
    • Our lives are characterized by ‘nowness’ and we are quick to respond to opportunities and to adopt new behaviors, styles, products, and brands, though we are just as quick to forget about them.
    • As part of our ‘nowness’ we are constantly on the lookout for new experiences preferring instant gratifications to the good things which come to those who wait.
    • We are horrified at the thought of aging, the ultimate missing out. We try every anti-aging preventative means, undergo plastic surgery and cosmetic treatments, use make up and look for the fashion trends in lower age groups to look younger.
    • Many people live in more than one family unit during their lifetime and have more than one meaningful intimate relationship.
    • Many men and women experience mid-life crises and choose to take a break from their lives to explore different experiences.
    • Relocations to different cities and countries are common. We want to sample life elsewhere and find out what new possibilities they hold for us.
Show Transcript

Hello, hello, everyone. Welcome to Productivity Paradox. I’m your host Tanya Dalton, and this is episode 14. Today’s a really special day because this the first  episode of our second season. You may have already noticed there was a little bit of a  change when the introduction started. I really wanted to do something that felt a  little more personal. I feel like I wanted it to reflect me a little bit more, so I asked my  husband, John, to do the voiceover for the introduction. Now if you know John at all  you know he is the ultimate introvert, so this was truly an act of love for him to do for  me. He is so supportive of me and of course of the podcast. It really wasn’t feasible  for him to be on the podcast each week like I’d really like, but this is his way of being  involved in it and I love how it turned out, so I hope that you like it, too. It’s just one of  the little changes that we’re doing in moving forward into season two.  

 With this new season comes a whole new focus. I’m really excited because  each season is very, very carefully planned out for you with a focus. Just like with my  goal setting and the planning that I’ve talked to you about in the past, I always like to  have an end goal in mind. And with season two, I want to know where we’re going to  be at the end of the 13 weeks together as part of the season, and we are going to be  focusing in on streamlining.  

 I felt streamlining was a really important topic for us to really cover over the  course of these episodes because when you’re streamlining, it’s really the process of  editing and taking things away. Taking things off of your plate because we’re always  talking about all those things you want to do. We really need to start by editing and  taking some things away so we have that white space in our lives and we’re able to  breathe and really enjoy the things that matter most to us, so that’s going to be the  focus of the next 13 episodes. We’ll be covering all different aspects of streamlining.  

 As we move on to season three and four and so on, we will have the space in  our lives to be able to actually implement a lot of the systems and the things that we  really want to do, so let’s go ahead and get started because this is our first episode of  the season. We’re going to start with getting over the fear of missing out because I  think that’s really important to tackle, especially as we’re talking about taking things  off of our plate. It’s really about focusing in on what’s important.  

 FOMO is a word that I feel like we hear all the time, and it’s really one of the  biggest stumbling blocks that many people deal with. You might actually be  surprised that even though we’re hearing it a lot about it now, this is actually a term  that has been around since around 1996. A doctor, Dan Harmon, coined that term  during a client focus study group, and he was noticing all the attention people were  giving to that glass-is-half-empty kind of aspect where instead of focusing in on all  the things they did throughout their days, it was really about the things they didn’t  do that they kept focusing in on. What will I miss because I don’t have the time or  maybe the money? It seemed to create a barrier, so that term FOMO, or fear of  missing out, has been around for quite some time, but I really feel like it’s more at the  forefront now.  

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 The experience of FOMO is really the result of three major perceptions. One,  we don’t want to miss out on good opportunities. People say opportunity knocks  once, and you feel that, I don’t know, that pressure to go ahead when something  good comes along. To just go for it even if it’s not exactly the right fit or even if you  don’t have room on your plate. The second perception is a basic sense that you  should be in total control over your life and your capableness, and that kind of feeds  into our feelings of control and being able to do all the things. And then the third  perception is that perception that everybody else is doing it all, so you should be, too.  There’s a lot of pressure from looking at social media and other places like that of all  these things that people are doing, so there’s a lot of that feelings that we should all  be doing just as much. So I want to go and talk about these three different  perceptions a little bit in depth just to kind of discover why we’re having this issue  with FOMO so often in our lives.  

 Thinking about that first perception that we don’t want to miss out on good  opportunities because why would we want to say now when something sounds so  amazing? Am I right? It seems counterintuitive to say no when an opportunity arises  especially if it’s one that feels like it should be a good fit for you. So let me tell you a  story about Steve Jobs because Steve Jobs was the master of constraints. That’s a  man who had no fear of missing out. If you think about how he ran his business, the  first three years of Apple’s existence, he had one product, the Apple 1. He had that  product, and he did not expand until three years later. He waited until he really felt  like he had nailed it. When he felt like the Apple 1 was at a wonderful place for him,  then he moved on and expanded into other things.  

 And we all know the story about how Steve Jobs was pushed out of Apple and  then brought back in around 1997, but here’s what’s really interesting. While Steve  Jobs was gone, Apple continued to innovate and create products, but they were not  doing very well. They were about 1.04 billion dollars in debt. That’s a pretty significant  dent in your wallet, right? It didn’t make any sense because they were still putting out  a lot of products.  

 When Steve Jobs came back to Apple in 1997, the first thing he did was he cut  out 70% of their products. These were products that were already on the shelf, these  were products that had been working in innovations for years, these were products  that were moving down the pipeline through Apple. What’s interesting is the fact that  even though he cut out 70% of their products, one year after he did that, they went  from that one-billion-dollar loss to a profit of 309 million dollars. So by cutting things  out, they actually made more money because they were truly able to focus in and  hone in on fewer products and make them amazing. Jobs says that Apple was  distracted by opportunities, and he’s quoted as saying, “Deciding what not to do is  just as important as deciding what to do. It’s true for companies, and it’s true for  products,” and I’m going to take Steve’s quote a little bit further and say this is true  for you as well.  

 Opportunities seem innocent enough and they seem exciting because they’re  new and they’re shiny little objects, but we often forget the commitments that come  with them, the energy and the time and the money, and really, the focus that it takes  away from the opportunities we already have at hand. The ones that maybe we really  

need to pour our time, energy, and money into. We lose track of that when we have  ©Productivity Paradox Page 2 of 6

so many opportunities, so we need to kind of get rid of that shiny object syndrome  and really focus in on the things that we think are going to move us forward the way  that we truly want to go. So it’s okay to say no to opportunities even if it seems like it  fulfills your purpose because if you’re taking advantage of too many opportunities,  none of them are really going to move you forward the way you want.  

 Then we have the second perception which is a basic sense that you should be  in total control of your life and capableness which translated says I should be able to  exhaust all the opportunities I want. So let me tell you a little bit about the word  priorities. Here’s what’s interesting, I think, about the word priorities. The word  priority came into existence in the 15th century, and you’ll notice I said the word  priority. It was singular, and it stayed singular for 500 years. People saw priority as  one thing that you’re truly focused in on, and it wasn’t until the 1950s that they  actually started using that as a plural as in priorities, more than one.  

 What happened then was, I like what Greg McEwen says. He says, “Illogically,  we reason that by changing the word, we could somehow bend reality, somehow we  be able to have multiple first things,” and I think that’s really true because when we  treat everything as a priority, it gives us the impression that, really, all things are  created equal. When everything is treated equal, nothing is really a priority anymore,  so not all the tasks on your list are created equal. I know we covered some of that  earlier in season one when we talked about priorities, but I really feel that’s important  to know that this has really gone through a dramatic change, so we have to stop  looking at all of the opportunities and focus in perhaps on the one priority that’s  most important to us.  

 Then we get to perception number three which is you perceive that everyone  else is doing it all, so of course, you should be doing it, too. And I feel like social  media really exposes us to this a lot because we’re flipping through Instagram or  Facebook, and we see all these beautiful feeds that show people’s lives and their  achievements all over the world. So social comparison used to be just with your  neighbors, and now it’s with the Instagram star who lives on the other side of the  world. It’s with everyone you went to high school with, and it’s with everyone in the  whole world. It makes our social comparison broader, and it makes us so that we’re  comparing ourselves to others much more frequently than we used to.  

 Because of that, it seems like some of these people have it all. It feels like that’s  not really fair, right? It’s not fair that their lives are so beautiful and wonderful, but  truly, what you’re not seeing in those pictures and what’s not showing in those  images when they show that beautiful meal that they have a picture of, you don’t see  all the dirty dishes piled up in the sink that’s not in the frame. Or when they take a  picture of their playroom with their kids playing, you didn’t see them wrestling with  their children trying to get them to take a bath 20 minutes before the picture was  taken.  

 You really have to keep that in mind that just because it looks like everyone is  doing it all, it doesn’t mean they really are, and the people who kind of are doing it all  have a team behind them. No one person can do everything. You can do anything,  but you can’t do everything. I love that saying because I think it’s so true. Your  

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options are limitless, but if you try to do everything, you’ll spread yourself so thin, so  it’s really important to try to get past this feeling of missing out.  

 FOMO is a major factor to some of the biggest developing trends shaping our  lives and society. Things like trying to pursue a career while enjoying a family life, plus  doing all the social activities, plus the hobbies, and fitness training and, and, and, and  all these things. I have a list of 10 of the biggest developing trends in our society and  how FOMO really affects those. I will have those listed in my show notes because I  think they’re really interesting. They include things like constantly being connected to  our phones and social media makes us available to communicate in every possible  way and a lot of things that FOMO is really factoring into, so I’ll have that list in my  show notes which you can find at Inkwellpress.com/podcast under episode 14. You’ll  want to take a look at those, and I could spend the time going over them, but I really  like to keep these shows nice and short, so you can enjoy them on your commute or  while you’re working out, so definitely take a look at those.  

 Here’s something that I found really interesting. 70% of adults in developing  countries experience fear of missing out to various degrees. 70%, that’s a pretty  significant amount, and that ability to cope with that fear of missing out relates  directly and significantly with financial and social success, and it contributes to high  levels of satisfaction. It’s kind of that glass-half-empty issue, right? But it’s not just  about getting rid of it, it’s about learning how to manage it because, honestly, FOMO  can have some pretty good side effects, so it’s not all bad. 30% of that 70% who are  affected are able to turn FOMO into a positive force in their life because it shows you  the possibilities. It can lead you to live a richer life filled with interest and excitement  and pleasures. It gives you ideas of things that you can do, and it can motivate you to  develop yourself to the fullest extent and rich achievements that rewards you with  satisfaction and good feelings of worth, so it’s not all necessarily a bad thing.  

 The problem really is out of that 70%, 40% experience negative feelings  because of that fear of missing out. They feel flooded and overwhelmed, paralyzed  and unable to really feel like they can orient themselves. They feel like they’re missing  out on every opportunity. Every commitment is perceived as giving up all these other  could-have-beens, so it really overloads your schedule because you’re always feeling  trapped in this endless race, and you feel a little bit out of control which is not really  great feeling. Not that I think you need to have control over all situations, but it is nice  to feel a little bit in control. The problem is that fear of missing out can truly become  a self-fulfilling prophecy. It starts to feel like all the al options are leading us to not  realizing any option at all so then we end up missing out all of it altogether because  we’re afraid that by committing to something, we’re missing out on other things.  

 So how do you deal with fear of missing out? Honestly, the first step is being  able to accept it. Realizing that yes, you probably won’t be doing the coolest thing  ever at every single moment. Let’s be honest. If you were doing the coolest thing ever  at every single moment, that sounds exhausting to me. There’s nothing wrong with a  little pajama time on Friday night watching Netflix and so I think we have to be okay  with the fact that yes, you can amazing things, but to keep that up would be truly  exhausting because it is an unwinnable game for everyone, trying to keep up those  appearances. Even those Instagram stars that so many people look up to and look at  these lives as being amazing, those people with some of the most exciting and  

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enviable lives are the same people who have hyperactive fear of missing out. It takes  a lot of exertion, a lot of work, and a lot of effort to make your jam-packed social life  look effortless.  

 I mean, think about how many times you take a photograph before you post it  on social media. I guarantee for every picture that these people put up on social  media, there’s probably at least 50 to a hundred they’ve thrown away. Not every  picture is truly showing them in the best light, it’s simply a curated feed helping them  to look a little bit more exciting, right? So you have to be willing not to have it all, and  in reality, you don’t need hashtag all the things, you just need the things that are truly  fulfilling to you. I feel like when I see that hashtag all the things it is so tempting to  want more. I feel like I’m struggling with this myself with my daughter with wanting  more, wanting more, and I understand that because you look around, and it seems  like everybody else has these beautiful, wonderful things. But is it really the things  that you want or is it just because it seems like it’s what you’re supposed to have?  

 So take a few minutes to recognize what you have because envy can really  become resentment if we fail to recognize the [own 00:17:49] opportunities we have  in our own lives. Prioritizing your own relationship over material things really will help  your well-being and the quality of your relationship trumps quantity of possessions  and experiences every single time. Every single time. That is going to pay off much  higher dividends than having a lot of things.  

 To tame some of this information overload, turn off your notifications.  Honestly, notifications are one of the things that really can derail your day for lack of  a better way of saying it. Limiting your screen time and focusing in on the time that  you have with the people who are important to you and the things that are really  important to you. It truly is not about having all the things, it’s about having the  things that are important to you. I really want to encourage you to really focus in and  try to focus on getting rid of this fear that many of us experience of missing out. And  if you’re feeling that, it’s okay because a lot of people, obviously, 70% in the  developing world experience that fear of missing out.  

 Here’s something I want you to think about as we close this episode. At the  end of your life, are you really going to be remembered by the number of Instagram  followers you have or this time you spent working or the size of your bank balance?  What are the things that you want to be remembered for? I thought this was really an  interesting perspective. This nurse who works in hospice was talking about that she  listens to all of these people on their death bed and listens to their regrets. She said  the top regret that she heard from people was I wish I’d had the courage to live a life  true to myself and not the life others expected of me.  

 I want to encourage you to live the life that you truly want for yourself and not  the life that others pressure you to feel or the life that you think you’re supposed to  have. Enjoy the life you have because I really feel like when we start streamlining and  cutting out some of this clutter in our life and we make room for the things that are  going to be important to us as we start implementing systems and priorities and  passions and things that we really want to do, you’re going to be immensely happy  with this. I want to remind you that we did talk back in episode seven and eight about  saying no and finding your yes, so if you are struggling with this, I would definitely  

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recommend going back and giving those a listen. We will be talking next week about  defining your boundaries through compartmentalizing your life, so I’m really excited  about this.  

 This season, I am so excited about because I really feel like we have some great  topics that we’re going to be covering including compartmentalizing and creating  buffers, figuring out ways that we can take back our weekends and having Fridays to  be our fun days of the week. I’m so, so very excited about where this season is going  to lead us. As always, I’d love to connect with you on social media. You can find me  on Instagram or Facebook @inkwellpress is my username, or you can find the show  notes at inkwellpress.com/podcast. The notes for this episode will be under episode  14. So until next time everyone, happy planning. 

**This transcript is created by AI, so please excuse any typos, misspellings and grammar mistakes.

Tanya Dalton is a top inspiring productivity keynote speaker. As a woman productivity expert, she is uniquely positioned to motivate the women in your audience with strategies for time management, goal setting and aligning to purpose.