Do you suffer from FOMO? - The Fear Of Missing Out

PUBLISHED: 00:00 18 November 2014 | UPDATED: 12:11 18 November 2014

Raworths Literary Lunch earlier this year resulted from an ‘uneasy experience’

Raworths Literary Lunch earlier this year resulted from an ‘uneasy experience’


Dare she miss a networking event just in case a golden opportunity slips through her fingers? Sharon Canavar worries

Sharon CanavarSharon Canavar

I’ve been pondering the Fear Of Missing Out (FOMO) over the last few weeks. My job is pretty full-on. The kids and wider family is even more frantic, so why do I sometimes have this niggling FOMO in the back of my mind? I can’t decide if I’m hardwired to always be thinking about opportunities - that if I miss that networking event there’s bound to be a potential sponsor there, or if I don’t go to that gig, I won’t get to speak to the artist that I’ve had on our hit-list for an age….and then it’ll never happen, or worse, someone else will snap them up.

And then there’s my social life. I’m torn between the lure of a night on the sofa with a glass of wine catching up on The Good Wife versus drinks with friends (when you’re constantly out working in the evening, that sofa and Julianna Margulies is a very attractive offer). But then what if you don’t even get invited for the drink and see the night out you missed on Facebook? Ah the perils of social media. Don’t even mention Twitter, where you can follow thousands of lives, thoughts, events and debates. Just look at all these other worlds you’re missing.

I’m nearly 40, I should know better. FOMO should be for those with their whole lives in front of them, not a niggling worry for someone who should pretty much have their lives sorted. It’s only when you write it down you realise quite how loopy this Fear Of Missing Out is.

I have a wealth of amazing experiences, and know how to make the most of each and every one. Watching my 18 month-old daughter rule the roost, seeing my son and nephew bouncing around in excitement and fear at the Viking Parade as part of the History Festival, bopping away (OK, mum dancing) behind the cameras backstage at the Royal Hall as the BBC filmed a ‘live from’ at the festival.

Even the experiences I find uneasy are ones that come with rewards.

Making myself give talks at various networking events - even though I hate public speaking and I talk too fast – can result in brilliant opportunities, such as finding a new title sponsor in Raworths to support the festivals.

It’s also a joy to be able to introduce supporters of the festivals to their musical heroes, watching as everyone from businessmen and women, to children, cool teenagers and our older audiences go weak at the knees when they meet their idols.

Life is rich, but your mind can play tricks on you. The best advice I know is to embrace what’s happening right now; don’t worry about too far ahead. Oh, and to really keep FOMO at bay, don’t become addicted to Twitter!

Sharon Canavar is chief executive of Harrogate International Festivals

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