By: Jessica Ekstrom, Guest Blogger
Every few weeks, I get a severe case of FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out). Contrary to the popular case of FOMO, it’s always felt in my professional world, not in my social world.
No matter how many sales we’ve gotten with Headbands of Hope, or no matter how many articles I’ve published or magazine placements we’ve secured, I get this overwhelming fear I’m not doing enough. A huge pit starts to develop in my stomach and it won’t start to shrink until I start writing down a list of everything I’m going to accomplish in the next 24 hours…
- Write a book
- Speak at a national convention
- Get booked on Ellen
- Be on Forbes 30 under 30
- Have Headbands of Hope on “Oprah’s Favorite Things”
- Start a 5k
Obviously, I’m setting the bar high.
But that’s the thing, even if I accomplish all of those, I still won’t feel satisfied. There will always be “the next thing” around the corner that I feel like I need to get.
I blame social media for a lot of FOMO cases. Most people get FOMO when they see a picture of their friends out at a concert that he or she had to miss to study for a test. For me, I get FOMO when I see an article pop up from the Huffington Post about a product that isn’t ours. Or I see a list of keynote speakers for a conference and I’m not one of them. Or I see a video of someone absolutely killing an American Idol audition and I wish it were me (even though I can’t sing a lick).
You could say I have jealousy, but I think it’s deeper than that. It’s a constant state of mind that I need to be making the most of my life. Therefore, other people’s accomplishments serve as a reminder that I need to do better.
People always say, “Shoot for the moon, even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.”
Some people see this as a beautiful inspirational quote (which it is). But for me, my instinct reaction is that the stars aren’t good enough, and I’m keeping my NASA suit on until I reach the moon.
I’m crazy, I know.
On one hand, you can accredit a lot of my accomplishments in my life to this mentality. Starting a business isn’t easy, especially when you’re 19 (now 23). Being a public speaker is terrifying. And writing a book is a huge commitment (book in the works right now).
On the other hand, I’m terrible at living in the moment. Any milestone I reach in my life is always shadowed by the next one.
Where’s the stopping point? Am I going to live my whole life three steps ahead of myself?
I’ve realized those moments where I do feel that breeze of satisfaction don’t come from these tangible milestones I keep reaching for.
They come from the moment I know the sum of my efforts equal impact.
If I know that one girl in the hospital gets a headband because of something I created, that gives me that feeling of satisfaction that I’ve been trying to fill with external achievements.
It’s easy to get caught up in FOMO and everything we could be or should be doing. But one day, we’ll look back and realize all of these missed opportunities at happiness. And usually, the answer to put your mind at ease is why you started in the first place.
It can be really easy to loose sight of your purpose and happiness when you're always focused on the next milestone to reach.
- Can you relate to Jessica's story? It's great to keep setting higher and harder goals, but make a conscious effort at least once a month to reflect on what you have already accomplished, how much you've grown or changed and to express gratitude for that journey. Feel yourself re-energized and ready to tackle the next thing with mindfulness AND perspective (and none of that nasty FOMO!)
Jess Ekstrom is the 22-year-old founder of Headbands of Hope and Headwear of Hope. Both companies give head products to kids with cancer with every purchase. Jess is also a public speaker at speaker at CAMPUSPEAK. Check out Headbands of Hope on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram (@headbandsofhope) and Youtube.
image via deviantart.com