How to Manage Your #FOMO as a Creator

This article is an excerpt from The Thing About Creators by Jessica Carson. Read other excerpts at the end of this article. 

#FOMO — Novelty v. Commitment

Congratulations. You have one thousand wells one-foot deep. And absolutely no wells one thousand-feet deep.

The unquestionable result of the all-pervasive FOMO mentality.

FOMO, or fear of missing out, is defined as “the uneasy and sometimes all-consuming feeling that you’re missing out – that your peers are doing, in the know about, or in possession of more or something better than you.”

And no less than three-quarters of young adults have experienced a FOMO attack. It’s getting pretty scary out there.

But don’t let the cheeky name fool you.

FOMO is a deeply real phenomenon. It’s rooted in our disintegrating ability to make decisions. As we seek more novelty and less commitment, we grow more fearful of missing out.

We are convinced that everyone else is living their best 9-5 life. That everyone is moving up the ladder faster. So we have constitution-length resumes littered with brief stints “here and there.”

We are gripped with fear as we scroll through social media, blindly convinced of its accuracy. Certain of the fun we’re not having. So we pine for the lifestyle on the other side of the fence.

We catch ourselves a cute fish only to ogle all the unhooked opportunities in the barrel. To wonder what’s on the other side of the swipe. So we flirt and cheat our way into relationships that will certainly be better than our last.

And now companies indulge our fear of missing out. Passes to sample a new gym every week. Clothing services to never wear the same outfit twice. Dating apps to meet new (or several new) dates every night.

It’s easy to see how FOMO becomes a vicious cycle.

We’re unhappy with our choices made and not made. And because we don’t know how to value our experiences, we succumb to decision paralysis. It’s a definition of insanity.

And for Creators, FOMO can be particularly intoxicating.

They are naturally curious and open-minded. They need to explore and experiential-ize. They are novelty seeking by design.

But when the Creator tries to experience everything in a day-and-age when you can literally have everything, it can result in disaster. Their predisposition for novelty and stimulation cranks into overdrive.

They may bounce from one thing to the next. Experience everything and commit to nothing. Grab for novelty indiscriminately without reference to values. Find themselves so insatiably curious that they taste everything despite an increasingly aching belly.

The issue is not that Creators don’t have the ability to commit. It’s that they often don’t know what to commit to. It’s impossible to prioritize your decisions until you know your values.

In our desire to be everything, we become nothing in particular. In our pursuit to try everything, we claim nothing as uniquely our own. We choose quantity over quality, novelty over mastery, and sampling over commitment.

We collapse into crisis when we find ourselves anchored to nothing. Committed to no particular skill, culture, hobby, or relationship. Sacrificing deep personal development and growth for novelty.

But don’t fear, Creator. There’s an advantage to FOMO — it’s a crystal ball into your values.

FOMO is a magnet for your conscious and subconscious desires. By noticing where you’re funneling your fear, you can trace the source of your values. This makes decisions easier and the identity clearer.

Use your FOMO like a magic mirror. Let it lead you straight to the wellspring of your values. Your fears are a lot less scary when you realize they’re values in disguise.

Take the reigns on your FOMO. Make it work for you, Creator.


Searching Fo Mo:


There are four big things I’ve learned about FOMO & Creator identity:

-Creators naturally exhibit more novelty seeking, curiosity, and FOMO
-FOMO leads us to the things we consciously or unconsciously value
-By observing FOMO, we can learn about our values
-Creators can use those values to stabilize the identity

Here is my three step recipe to overcome disruptive FOMO:

1. Name Your FOMO – Examine
2. Personify Your FOMO – Explain
3. Value Your FOMO – Explore


1. Name Your FOMO – Examine

Give your FOMO a name. Like a pet. An annoying pet.

Word of caution. FOMO is more sneaky than we give it credit for. It’s not the night at the club you fear missing out on. It’s the next level deeper. It’s the fear of not living an exciting life, not being desired, not being able to afford the lifestyle you want.

The first step is naming your FOMO. Examine the sources of FOMO in your life. List the three top things you fear missing out on. Be real.

Example

-I fear I will miss out on the career I was meant to have.
-I fear I will miss out on developing the skills I’m truly best at.
-I fear I will miss out on forming the relationships that will deeply satisfy me.

2. Personify Your FOMO – Explain

Okay, so you have your FOMO pets with their name tags.

Now it’s time to give them personalities. Time to explain how they’re ruining your life. No drama.

The second step is personifying your FOMO. How is your FOMO acting out? What does each fear makes you do, think, or say? What’s the fidgety reaction you have to each fear?

Don’t judge yourself. It’s fine. We’re about to get to the good part.

Example

– I change jobs frequently and don’t commit to jobs long enough to learn from them.
-I jump from from different sources of learning (sports, books, hobbies) without finishing/mastering any.
-I bounce from relationship to relationship (social and romantic) without fully investing in any.

3. Value Your FOMO – Explore

Work that FOMO, Creator. Work it.

Peel back the layers. Decode the messages. Figure out once and for all where those fears are creeping in from.

Step three is valuing your FOMO. Explore what each fear means you care about. What’s the value that’s being threatened?

When you know your values, you know where to channel your energy. Don’t let a little FOMO jerk you around.

Example

-I value a meaningful and impactful career.
-I value growth, mastery, curiosity, and crave strong passions in my life.
-I value deep, satisfying relationships and intimacy.

 

Name the FOMO: Examine Personify the FOMO: Explain Value the FOMO: Explore
I fear I will miss out on the career I was meant to have.
-I fear I will miss out on developing the skills I’m truly best at.
-I fear I will miss out on forming the relationships that will deeply satisfy me.
-I change jobs frequently and don’t commit to jobs long enough to learn from them.
-I jump from from different sources of learning (sports, books, hobbies) without finishing/mastering any.
-I bounce from relationship to relationship (social and romantic) without fully investing in any.
-I value a meaningful and impactful career.
-I value growth, mastery, curiosity, and crave strong passions in my life.
-I value deep, satisfying relationships and intimacy.

 


The Thing About Creators

Don’t be fooled: Breakdowns aren’t reserved for your burnout roommate. In fact, the most spectacular freak-outs, funks, and crises are saved for disruptors, innovators, influencers, trend-setters, and go-getters. It’s basically a right of passage. Welcome to the club.
The Thing About Creators explores the crisis of meaning plaguing modern day success stories. The Creator is a powerhouse of psychological and energetic strength — but these rarified abilities make them uniquely vulnerable to funks. Add to this our current work and play climate, and we have an epidemic in the making. But Creators can capitalize on their crisis unlike any other. They can disrupt themselves.

Check out other excerpts from The Thing About Creators:

–  The Thing About Creators– An Overview
I.  How to Manage Your #FOMO as a Creator
II. How to Find Your True Competitive Advantage as a Creator

III. Why Your Elevator Pitch is Hurting Your Self Concept
IV. How to Handle Your Restlessness as a Creator
V. Why You Should Think Twice About Being an Impression Manager
VI. How Your “Personal Brand” is Keeping You Stuck

VII. How to Maximize Your Resonance With Others as a Creator
VIII. Why You Need to Stay in Your Body as a Creator

I hope this taste of The Thing About Creators serves you. Share your thoughts with me — I can’t wait to hear from you, Creator.

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