You may or may not be familiar with this acronym. Not only has the ‘fear of missing out’ infiltrated popular culture in recent years, but it has interfered with people’s genuine enjoyment of life. Why? Because it is in our nature to compare ourselves to others.
A coach whom I follow on social media, coined the term ‘comparisonitis’ (Ruby Lee), which is the ailment of constantly comparing oneself to everyone else. I think comparisonitis and FOMO are allies and we can choose to associate with them or not.
In my line of work, I’m hard-pressed to find someone who doesn’t have hopes and dreams and wishes to be successful. The people I work with are creative freelancers and artists. Securing the next paying project is crucial so that they can pay their bills, feed themselves, and ensure the success of their personal brand. They invest time in their marketing, seeking clients, and researching their competitors in order to improve their chances of getting work.
Whether you’re a jobbing actor or a freelance graphic designer the cycle of seeking out paid projects is similar. You constantly have to put your name out there and stand out from the crowd.
Comparing oneself to others in your chosen field can lead to self-esteem issues and ultimately distract you from achieving your goals. You may scroll through your social media newsfeed and see the success of like-minded creatives. This can make you question whether or not you are doing enough or if you are enough. So how does one free themselves from FOMO?
Focus on your goals
Clarity of purpose can help alleviate distractions. If you set yourself small tasks towards your ‘bigger picture’ goal then every small achievement is a win that motivates you to continue through the inevitable challenges. Be clear on your intentions and don’t seek external validation.
You can’t be everywhere and do everything so having clear goals makes it easier to choose your next move. Cut out anything from your life that doesn’t serve the purpose of fulfilling your goals and this may lead to increased productivity. Don’t be afraid to miss out.
We all know the feeling of having too much choice which can lead to procrastination. As the executive of your personal brand, you need to make executive decisions so choose the activities that will bring you joy and abundance, and don’t waste your time on activities that don’t provide personal growth or satisfaction.
You can choose to view competitors as a negative aspect of life or you can embrace that they are a necessary part of your development. I’ve sat through hundreds of auditions in my career and one can’t help but measure oneself against other hopefuls who are vying to be cast for the same roles. The reality is you win some you lose some. Don’t be afraid to lose some.
Our competitors give us something to strive for and they present perspectives we may not have otherwise considered. Be glad that your competitors exist. They are just as motivated as you. Their existence ensures the continuity of your industry and gives clients greater choice. If you practise celebrating their wins and reflecting on potential improvements for you and your brand then you may see them as less of a negative factor and more of a driver for professional development.
Where you are today may be a far cry from where you wish to be. Work out the path and a plan to get to your desired destination. It may take years. Be prepared to practise patience. FOMO feeds on instant gratification. Read, learn, and observe. Don’t be afraid to take your time.
If someone announces a personal achievement today be glad for them. One day that will be you if you focus on your goals, embrace competition, and pace yourself. You only need to be better than yesterday’s version of yourself.