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Are you a victim of FOBO: Fear of a better option?  Here are the signs:

You never take a vacation because you can’t make a decision.  There are so many choices and you don’t want to make the wrong choice.

You stay in a job you hate because you keep thinking that a better position in the company will open up and you don’t want to miss the opportunity.

You want to start a business on the side but every day you think of another possibility and what if you pick the wrong one?  

You refrain from getting committed in a relationship because you worry that Prince Charming is  just around the corner.  

Sometimes the world we live in can lead to paralysis analysis.  There are so many options and choices. Heck even picking out your deodorant can be overwhelming;  scented or unscented?  Once you pick scented there are still lots of decisions ahead.  Should you pick passion de tango, nourished beauty or cocoa butter kiss? Seriously, the choices are endless.  And that’s just deodorant mind you.  

What if you are trying to make a major decision like whether the time is right to sell your house?  Should you sell your house in order to move to a house in a better neighborhood?  Should you tolerate the neighborhood you are in and hope it’s an up and coming place?  Could you find another house that you like as well or even better? For the right price? Trust me.  I understand FOBO. I’ve been there.  

Here’s the problem with FOBO.  It keeps you from making a decision and moving on.  And when you don’t make a decision, especially a decision that  you are tangled up and anxious about, you keep yourself on edge.  Your brain is a problem solving organ and when the problem or question isn’t put to rest, it continually circles around and persistently tries to solve it.  This is called having an open loop.  When you have an open loop you are needlessly taxing your brain and creating anxiety in your life.  It’s tiring. It’s exhausting and it keeps you from spending time on other worthwhile things.  Like being creative. Or savoring the present moment. So what is the answer?

Conquering FOBO

  • Identify the open loops in your life-Seems obvious but honestly, most of us aren’t even aware of the constant repetition of unanswered questions and the hidden distress it causes.  If there is a situation that you are continually stressing over and asking yourself, “Should I or shouldn’t I?” Then it’s probably an open loop.   
  • Set a realistic deadline for making a decision-Realistic is key.  Give yourself enough time to research and gather the facts but not an eternity.  Most decisions are going to be determined by a great deal of subjectivity and speculation anyway.  Until you spend a day wearing cocoa butter kiss deodorant, how will you really know if it will be a delightful scent or an annoyance?  You can certainly research the price point of a house in a neighborhood that appeals to you but who knows if waiting another year or two will result in your neighborhood finally being the happening place that you hope for?
  • Embrace imperfect action-Acknowledge the fact that no matter what you choose, there will always be unanswered questions and other possibilities.  Decide to give yourself credit for making a rational best choice and don’t stress over it having to be perfect or take into account every possibility.  Making a decision, even an imperfect one is superior to continuing to spin around in circles and feed FOBO.
  • Make a firm decision and commit to it-Commitment is the key.  Let go of the other choices and totally commit yourself to the one you have made.  Look for the positive in the choice. Don’t allow yourself to revisit the other possibilities and instead enjoy the peace of no longer having to constantly analyze your choices.
  • Set a date in the future to revisit your decision-This helps quell the fear that you’ve made the wrong decision or that you aren’t up to date on changing circumstances.  Maybe you decide that you will stay in your house for another two years then again consider moving.  Maybe you decide that you will look for new employment and re-evaluate in a year.  Maybe you decide that you will try starting your business on the side and after a year decide if the profit and if the time involved is worth it.  You get the idea.  In the meantime you will relax in the decision you’ve made.

Closing the open loops in your life can result in a release of anxiety and frustration that is so constant that you may be unaware of the negative impact it has on your life.  It frees your brain to relax, appreciate the present and breathe calm. It frees you up to be more creative and productive.  Try it and let me know what you think.  

Come grow with me:)

Turn Your Dreams into Reality:  Dream Board Workshop

Saturday, March 25th 10:00-3:00

MUST Ministries Administrative Building

1407 Cobb Parkway NW, Marietta, GA

Grab your seat here:  http://www.dreamachievercoach.com/dream-board-workshop/

Want some help with making those decisions?  

Grab a complimentary coaching clarity call here:  Coaching Clarity Call

Let’s start making a new future together.

Kim Yarborough

GO FOR IT!  Dream Achiever Coaching has helped me give voice to my long-term dreams and begin to take the necessary steps to finally make them a reality.  Lynne is very encouraging, and helps me see things in ways I may not have otherwise seen. Working with Lynne has given me a new confidence that I CAN achieve my dreams! http://www.civilitynation.com/

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Comment by Debbie W. Wilson on February 21, 2017 at 7:43am

Lynn, I don't think I'd heard of FOBO: Fear of a better option defined that way. I chuckled at the deodorant illustration. My son used to have a hard time picking a flavor at Baskin Robbins. We'd finish our choices and he was still agonizing over the right one. I've done it too on other things. Great points because in life this can lead to lots of regrets. 

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