Think grades are the only thing that matters? Not all important predictors of success are on a college application. Here are two real-world issues that your teenager needs to know how to handle in order to succeed in college and life beyond. Teach your teen these real life skills for an easier path to success.
I thought the fad would be over by now, but it looks like FOMO, the “fear of missing out” that’s gripped society via social media, is still going strong.
Oh, it’s not that I expected us to get over our natural human desire to have it all. We’ve always had it and we probably always will. But it’s so prevalent right now. Everywhere I turn people are talking about feeling that FOMO, that worry that everyone else is doing more, having more, and just being more than you.
But here’s the bottom line: “missing out” isn’t a big threat to your life happiness. You know what is a threat? Burning out. We should all have more FOBO: fear of burning out. Fear of getting so stressed that you just can’t take it anymore.
When it first became a “saying,” we all thought FOMO was a (mostly) positive emotion. If we don’t want to miss out, it spurs us to work harder, go out and spend more time with friends, and have great experiences. FOMO launched many a skydiver, entrepreneur, and Thursday-night whiskey-fueled country line dancer (for better or worse).
But there’s a downside we didn’t see: saying “yes” to everything is exhausting and impossible to sustain. FOMO leads to burnout.
Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Burnout?
We should be afraid of burning out. Burnout is characterized by unrelenting stress that leads to disengagement and a loss of excitement. Burnout is a feeling of hopelessness. So why don’t we have more FOBO? We know burnout is bad, but we often don’t take measures to prevent it. We work and work and wait until we’re just so stressed out, until we decide that something needs to change.
If we want to be happier, peaceful, and more resilient to stress, we need to trade our FOMO for FOBO. Burning out is a far bigger threat to our success than missing out on any one opportunity, no matter how good.
Why Burnout Limits Opportunity
When you burn out, you limit your ability to enjoy life. You feel a sense of detaching from your surrounds and the people in your life, even your closest loved ones. If you’re burned out, you’re also hard to get along with at home AND at work, because you’re more likely to be sarcastic and unkind without even realizing it.
Burnout also makes it hard to be successful, because it is often characterized by a sense of exhaustion. If that happens to you, you’ll notice you just start coasting at work, because you’re just too tired to care, even if you’ve been getting plenty of sleep. That’s not a way to get a promotion!
To Do: Ditch FOMO for FOBO
It’s time to let FOMO be a thing of the past. Too much FOMO leads to burnout. For a peaceful life, forget the FOMO and arm yourself with a stronger sense of FOBO.
Do you wish someone would give you a leg up and help you get where you deserve? Well, here’s how you find that person! My friend Rami told me an incredible story about the moment that led to his success, and it’s a great lesson in being collaborative instead of competitive.
My husband is great. But he’s not my rock.
I don’t say that to be insulting. In fact, I mean it as a compliment. He’s not my rock, or my anchor, or any of those other overused phrases to describe a partner. A rock and an anchor are things that tie you to one place. They slow you down, weigh you down, or even drag you down. That’s not a metaphor I want to use in my marriage.
On top of the terrible image of being weighed down by your partner, a boat is pretty much helpless without an anchor. It can’t go much of anyplace. It can get stuck at sea forever, but it can’t go much of anyplace else. The boat needs the anchor. That’s a pretty crummy analogy for a healthy marriage, too.
By describing our spouses using outdated comparisons, we set negative expectations for what relationships should be. If you hold on to a belief that your marriage is holding you in place, what do you believe will happen if you grow and evolve? Or want to experience the world on a grander scale? If you believe that you require your partner, in order to be safe and secure, what will happen if your partner can’t always keep you safe? Or if life ever challenges you to be alone?
Healthy Marriages Don’t Need Rocks
My husband isn’t a rock. He’s more like… Technicolor.
Movies were great long before Technicolor was introduced. But they were even better after. Before Technicolor, we could still experience the story, the characters, and the emotions. We still enjoyed the drama of it all. But with Technicolor, everything got brighter. It got more engaging. It seeped into our souls.
The analogy of Technicolor works because it helps us understand how our partner makes our life better, while still allowing us to be whole, functioning individuals. It acknowledges the richness of relationships, while not supposing that singlehood is like being adrift on a lonely see. Heck, some people prefer black and white films!
When we rely on other people to provide necessary functions we should really be providing for ourselves, like happiness or stability, we’re handing over our personal power to someone else. And that’s a recipe for dysfunction. The struggles of life require us to be fully complete individuals, all by ourselves, to survive.
My husband is my Technicolor. He brings brightness and joy and intensity to my life that I didn’t have before. My movie would still be running without him, but it’s far better with him.
What’s so great about self-improvement? Society has an obsession with self help projects to aid us in our quest for happiness, peace, and low-stress lives. But are we searching for the right things? Here’s my take on what we’re REALLY looking for when we “improve” ourselves.
The voice is coming out of my iPhone, tinny and electronic in the dark room.
“Breathe in and feel the hand on your abdomen rise,” the voice says. I breathe in and out, in time with his commands.
“Keep your eyes shut,” I will myself. “Just for another minute. It’s probably almost over. Keep your eyes shut.” I breathe in and out and try to get in rhythm with the tinny voice.
I’m not very good at meditating. I’d almost always rather be doing something else, like checking something off of my to do list or – like last night – just going straight to sleep after a long day. But I can’t ignore all of the research I’ve done that confirms how good meditation is for you, so I persist. I turn on my meditation app and try to focus my mind, even though my frustrated mind fights me every step of the way.
It made me wonder – how many times during the course of a single day do we think “I wish this was over already?” Here’s my personal list:
- When I’m working out in the morning
- Sitting in traffic on the way to a meeting
- Making sales calls to build my business
- Doing the dishes after dinner
- Arguing with my husband over whose turn it is to do the dishes after dinner 😉
- Waiting for my slowest dog to do her business already
- Meditating in the evening
What does yours look like? Arguing with a toddler over what they’re going to wear? Sitting in a daily staff meeting that sounds just like yesterday’s? Making dinner for someone who doesn’t appreciate it?
Time Traveling to the Future
Of course it’s natural to wish the boring or frustrating moments were finished and over with. But if we put our attention on the annoyance, we’re giving our mind permission to be miserable. Instead, studies show that the most successful people have something called a “future orientation.” Future orientation is an ability to focus on what’s coming and what’s possible, instead of current circumstances. It offers us an ability to be hopeful, instead of frustrated.
What does that look like? Well, for me it means thinking of how strong I’m going to be instead of how my quads burn right now. Or how much more peaceful I’ll feel once the dishes are done. Or how accomplished I’ll feel once I make a sale. Or how that meeting is going to move my business forward, once I get through the traffic.
We say to ourselves, “I wish this was over already.” But it will be over soon enough, and wishing won’t really make it happen any faster. Life will never be empty of daily frustrations and stress. But if we can shift our focus to future orientation instead of the annoyances of the present, it makes the struggle feel worth it.
Does seeing photos of Hurricane Harvey’s devastation have you feeling helpless?
There’s a reason why so many people are pitching in and volunteering to help. And it isn’t JUST because they want to be good samaritans. Giving back to other people is a great way to help all of us process trauma and feel less powerless. Even the smallest gesture helps us feel a little more in control during these traumatic times. Find something to do, and give back!
You’ve seen the cultural obsession with being busy: people who greet one another with “How are you?” “Sooooooo busy!” Or texts that read “Sorry I never got back to you, I’ve been slammed.” We equate busy with being important, so we flaunt our busy-ness like a badge of honor.
But all that busy could be getting in the way of something truly important.
When we’re so overwhelmed, we may be missing opportunities for excellence. It’s difficult to do our best work when we’re stressed out and busy. If you want to be truly great – at your job, parenting, being a friend, your hobbies, anything – it pays to be less busy and more focused. Here’s why…
This Is Your Brain On Stress
When you get stressed out, your brain floods your body with stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol. Those hormones are great if you’re in battle or fleeing from a predator, but they aren’t so great if you’re just sitting at your desk.
With adrenaline and cortisol flooding through your system, you aren’t very good at higher-order decision making or critical thinking. Unless your career is prehistoric hunter, you probably need higher-order decision-making and critical thinking at your job. When you are busy and stressed, you aren’t capable of making smart decisions, or doing very good work. You may think “I’ll just push through and get this project done, so then I’ll be less stressed.” But if you do a mediocre job, that’s not great for your future career prospects, is it? To be at your smartest and best, get the stress under control.
Are You Even Aiming?
My friend Ruben knew a lot about getting what he wanted in life. Diagnosed with cancer in college, the doctors tried every known cure but couldn’t make his tumor go away. When I met him, he had lived with his cancer for 8 years. With the threat of cancer hanging over his head all that time, he didn’t have your typical 50 item list of priorities he wanted to accomplish in life. He only wanted one thing: to fall in love and get married. Spoiler alert: he did it!
Truly great people aren’t just busy. They’re focused.
Ruben knew something smart: you only hit what you’re aiming for. So often in life, we spend our time, energy and focus on little things, then we’re frustrated when we don’t get the big things we claim we truly desired. But we weren’t working toward them! You can’t aim at 45 different targets at the same time. Do you know what you’re aiming for? Is it what you really want? Or are you spending your precious time on busy work?
Spend time thinking about what motivates you in the “big buckets” of your life: your family, career, etc. If you find yourself overwhelmed and frustrated by a massive To Do List, do what I do! I threw out my regular list and created something for myself called “The Time Targeter,” where I can organize my To Dos based on what’s really important, not just urgent. The Time Targeter helps me fit more into my day without feeling more stressed.
Click here if you’d like a blank copy of the Time Targeter and a free guide to get started using it.
Whatever you do, don’t forget to aim in the right direction.
We may equate busy-ness with importance, but truly great people aren’t just busy. They’re focused. They spend their energy where it matters most. When you’re scattered, stressed, and filled with adrenaline and cortisol, you’ll never reach your full potential. To join the ranks of the truly great, don’t just do more. Do more of what matters.
How do you say goodbye, grieve, and honor the memory of a loved one who passed away? I recently lost a loved one, and I got some great advice on two things you can do to help you heal. I’m doing these same things right now, too.
I just got back from a business trip where I tacked on an extra day and a half to see a dear friend from childhood and her growing family. My friend and I have one of those relationships where it always seems easy. We just slide right back into hangout mode no matter how long we’ve been apart.
It’s common knowledge that friendship is good for you: people with friends live longer and are healthier. In fact, close friendships may make you more likely to live longer than exercise! (That’s news that calls for an extra slice of chocolate cake at girls’ night out, right?)
But not all friendship is healthy or helpful. For your social connections to really be good for you, pay close attention to who you’re spending time with.
Do You Like Your Averages?
Jim Rohn, a business expert, said “You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with.” This idea is sort of like the firnedship version of “you are what you eat.” The more time we spend with the people closest to us, the more our ideas and behaviors influence one another. Whatever outcome we’re desiring – happiness, success, peace, you name it – we’re more likely to get it if we’re spending time with people who have what we seek.
In more tangible terms, one study showed that weight gain was practically “contagious” among friends. People often gain weight when their closest friends do. This is because behaviors become normalized in groups, so make sure the behavior that gets normalized and repeated in your groups is behavior you want to make your habit.
Cancel That B%#&@ Session
There’s one common behavior among that makes you miserable: Venting.
It’s natural to use friends as a sounding board and support system. But venting, which is complaining with no plan to take action or get an issue resolved, is actually unhealthy. Experts say venting allows you to release just enough frustration that you stay stuck in place and never make any headway against your problem.
Hanging out with negative people can also make you feel more negative. Humans are naturally empathetic, so when we hear other people talk about being miserable, our brains start to mimic those emotions, even if we don’t have a concrete reason to feel badly. Chronic complainers and people who vent can leave you feeling frustrated, anxious, and blue. And you might not even know why!
Connections with people are critical. But WHO those people are and how they behave may be more important to your mental health than you knew. Visiting my friend this week left me feeling loved and content! But if you have a friendship that drags you down, it’s okay to cut the cord for your own well being.