Why FOMO Is Killing Small Businesses


Why FOMO Is Killing Small Businesses

There is never a good time to run out of staples. When you need to staple something, nothing else will do. The other week I needed to staple a proposal and the empty stapler sent me into a downward spiral. I slammed down the stapler, swore at it, growled at the cat, walked outside and sat on the grass.

I’m not a big hissy fit thrower. Honestly, I usually am very calm, very rational and very practical. But in that moment, the lack of staples turned me into a snotty faced child.

In my defence, the days prior to the great stapler riot had been a bit full on. I had received a phone call that a project that would have put the business in a strong financial position for the next 12 months had to be stalled due to the unforeseen resignation of a key decision maker. Add to that some painful and expensive dental surgery, a printer malfunction and well, you get the picture.

Running your own business can at times make you want to run away. Sometimes a big glass of wine or beer or a huge block of chocolate (or if your more health conscious) a trip to the gym, a jog or a paddle in the pool, seems like a much better use of your time.

But we don’t. We collect our discarded office supplies, wipe our noses, apologise to the cat and we solider on. But on this day, I couldn’t. On this day, I went rogue and it was the best thing I could have done. I gave myself permission to stop. Permission to turn off. Permission to sulk a little. Permission to take a sickie or what would best be referred to as a mental health day.

I lay on the grass and I looked at the clouds and told myself it was OK. I knew that unless I switched off my emotional brain, my rational brain would not work and my business needs me to be rational, not emotional. I let my Emotional Intelligence take over.

For me to have reached this emotional state was evidence that I had been ignoring my own personal needs;

  • Sleep – good quality pre 12am hours
  • Daily doses of real Vitamin D – Sun
  • 30 mins per day of exercise
  • Family/friends time – with no time limit
  • Sick days – 10 days per year
  • Annual Leave – 20 days per year
  • 1 RDO per month

Somehow in the past 5 years of running my own business, the above list had become a luxury list. When I worked as an employee, the same list used to be the mandatory list. I’m sure there’s a scientific reason workplaces are legally required to provide a set amount of leave for employees so why hadn’t I been scheduling it into my current full time workload?

I used to plan and look forward to holidays. I used to find leaving work at work, easy. Sure, you would have a nagging worry or two about what would you find when you got back from your leave but I was an organised little butterfly and prided myself on putting measure in place to minimise stuff ups whilst I was gone. Why wasn’t I doing that now?

I used to know how to let go but now, the responsibility of running my own business had made me very insular, protective and on this day, unable to see the wood for the trees or in this case, the staples for the note pads they were hiding under. My business had become more important than my health.

FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) is a big reason we don’t schedule time off from our businesses. We fear missing out on opportunities that could lead to income or save us time and money. We fear our business won’t be able to survive without our constant attention. What we should be fearing is missing out on a healthy future with our family and our friends.

So, I urge you to re-assess how you allocate your time and make sure your luxury list isn’t populated with actions or activities that should be on your mandatory list.

Running a successful small business is a marathon not a sprint and time off, time away, sleep and exercise are the regular sips of water you’re going to need to keep going.

If you’ve found ways to reduce FOMO in your business, please share in the comments below or let me know by contacting me via our website

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