Tue, 21 May 2019
Making hard decisions can bring the most seasoned leaders to their knees, no matter how calm they look on the outside. The fear of a better option (FOBO) can paralyze decision-making. It is also the enemy of innovation. In this show I talk about 4 ways to deal with FOBO.
FOBO versus FOMO
What is it that causes that hesitation at decision time? Patrick McGinnis calls it FOBO: the Fear of a Better Option. Patrick describes it as being “paralyzed at the prospect of actually committing to something, out of fear that we might be choosing something that was not the absolute perfect option.” The result is that you get stuck in an analysis paralysis and never make the decision. The sister term to FOBO is FOMO, the Fear of Missing Out. If you miss out, you will not have that one magic piece of data that will give you perfect information. So, our fear of missing out feeds our fear of a better option. The result is saying “yes” to everything. I used to say “yes” to every request to speak or teach no matter the impact on myself or my family. When you combine FOBO with FOMO you can find yourself afraid of doing anything. That is FODA, the paralysis that turns into a fear of doing anything. What I had to learn was to say “no.” Breakthrough came when a newspaper article was written about me which forced me to go public with a secret that fed my imposter syndrome.
The way that I deal with FOMO is I create criteria for myself that help me prioritize the requests for my time and attention.
FOBO in Innovation
When it comes to innovation, deciding to move forward on an idea, to commit to resources such as people and money, is ripe of FOBO. I have seen a leader hesitate to give a team the green light on a project because they are not yet convinced that it is the best/perfect idea. The truth is that no idea is a perfect idea. In this case, FOBO could be masking a more general fear of failure. But not deciding means zero chance of an innovative idea. The main object is to innovate and to do that, you need to try your ideas. You have to come to terms with the fact that most of your ideas are going to fail. FOBO, the fear of a better option, is the enemy of innovation. It is the tool antibodies will use to brush off your ideas.
FODA (the Fear of Doing Anything)
When you combine FOBO and FOMO you can find yourself in a paralyzed position not wanting to commit to anything. This is FODA, the Fear of Doing Anything. You need to learn to be decisive. Here are 4 ways to deal with FOBO and not get caught in the trap of FODA:
These 4 ways to deal with FOBO will help you be aware of your own FODA and change. We will never have perfect information and, therefore, will never make the perfect decision. So, make your decision and move on. For any questions or comments send me an email.
Five Minutes to New Ideas
Tony Robbins once said, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” You can apply this quote to networks, communities, family, and friends you socialize with. To change that quote a bit, you are the average of the five social networks where you spend the most time. This week’s Five Minutes to New Ideas considers how our social networking reflects who we are.