We may be cutting edge on performance mastery tools, but I certainly wouldn’t say I’m cutting edge on the latest acronyms, or so many other things for that matter. I only learned a few months ago that FOPO stands for Fear of Other People’s Opinions. As performance mastery coaches at Next Evolution Performance, everyone in our team is fully aware that FOPO is very much a thing.
Examples of FOPO
We see this all the time. Left unattended, many people spend a lot of energy credits making decisions based on other people’s opinions. This can be from anything like what other people will think of their clothing choice, right up to big decisions like going for a particular job or project.
I’ve heard of people holding themselves back from going for a job because they are worried about what their co-workers will say if they don’t get it.
I’ve seen others worry about others’ opinions to the point where they are too scared to say no to things (and lose the opportunity to practice self-care) because they are worried about what other people will think of them.
I once had a client who was spending many energy credits on feeling guilty because she bought cupcakes for her kid’s school fair instead of hand baking them and was worried about what all the other homemaker mums were going to say. In business, people worry about putting their fees up for fear of what their clients will say – even if the fees are completely justified.
I’ve seen others hold themselves back from getting new clients as they were too scared to make the calls in case they were told “No”.
As for people who don’t like presenting – well there’s FOPO in action right there – being too busy worrying about what people think of you to get excited by the great value that you can provide to other people.
How to avoid FOPO
If it helps, people generally don’t really care about you – not wanting to sound heartless, but most people are too wrapped up in themselves to care about your choices.
A great example of this is as a fitness instructor I’ve had many a conversation with people who are new to class who want to hide up the back, which makes it really hard for them to see. But they are sooooo worried about everyone else looking at them and what others are thinking that they are petrified to move forward. The irony is that pretty much everyone is looking at themselves in the mirror anyway! I explain to them that even though I’m instructing on a stage, I often can’t get people to look at me when I need them to if I’m trying to correct their technique. So believe me, they certainly aren’t looking at you!
In order to avoid FOPO think about what would you try if you knew that other people would think you were amazing regardless of the outcome?
So, surround yourself with people who do think you are amazing no matter what and you’re half way there!
To get the rest of the way, focus on the idea that other people’s opinions of you are none of your business. Think about how many energy credits you spend worrying about other people’s opinions and then put those energy credits into just trying more awesome things, or saying “No” to take care of yourself, or whatever serves you more than someone else’s opinion of you.