I spent a good chunk of Saturday cleaning out my personal email inbox. What started the day at approximately 4,900 messages ended at 173. Among the 4,500+ emails I eradicated from my inbox was a huge collection of marketing and promotional emails from companies I have purchased products from or joined their membership clubs. The “unsubscribe” button came in handy more than a few times.

The biggest chunk of emails that I had to sort through was the glut of leadership blogs and email lists I had subscribed to. Most of these delivered a message to me every day or a few times per week. I saw every one of them come in and then proceeded to not make the time to read them. But I kept them in my inbox, creating an unmanageable reading list of leadership material.

Why? FOMO – Fear of Missing Out.

I knew there were valuable nuggets of information in those messages. Maybe one had the insight I needed to help myself, my players or my team achieve the success we’re working towards. Maybe one of them held the key to unlocking my true potential. Maybe, maybe, maybe.

On Saturday, I decided to delete all of the leadership emails that I had not yet had the time to read or digest. The reality of life is that our brains can only process and retain so much information. There is a finite amount of time to read and mental capacity to retain. Attempting to play catchup on the 2+ years of leadership material that I had yet to read seemed futile. My Fear of Missing Out on some invaluable piece of information was conquered by my understanding of my own limitations. From now on, I will read the leadership blogs that I can each day, and delete/unsubscribe the ones that I cannot.

The world in 2015 is permeated by a sense of FOMO. We are constantly checking our notifications and messages for something that we should be doing/reading/seeing/talking about instead. The Pavlovian response mechanisms in our phones train us to be this way. Businesses are constantly searching for the next edge, the next big thing. Scouts. recruiters, and coaches are always looking for the next great player. Society doesn’t take time to appreciate our limitations and work with what we have.

“Comparison is the thief of all joy.” – Joshua Medcalf, Train 2B Clutch.

FOMO is the overwhelming comparison of our own present state to others. We need to stop comparing ourselves and start reveling in what we have. Don’t worry about what else is out there. Stay in the moment. Stay in the present. Do the best you can with what you have where you are. The rest will take care of itself.

Starting with my inbox, I’m fighting my own battle to conquer FOMO.


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