The other day, I couldn’t remember where I left my keys.
I was already late and I spent another 5 minutes upending my house to find that they were next to my fridge…because I had put groceries away the night before.
I’ve had many instances of forgetfulness in the past few months, and it was beginning to concern me. I used to wow people around me with the facts I remember. Now, I had trouble remembering appointments, and following up on connections.
I realized that these lapses coincided with my increased smartphone usage.
At first, I thought I was just being silly. I had relaunched my website, hired an intern and taken on a major nonprofit as a client. That added stress was bound to have some repercussions.
But as life normalized again, the memory lapses and confused feelings continued. I had new Twitter followers and someone Youtubed my work. Wait, did I follow up with that new grantwriting lead?
And the event invitations. Which I didn’t get to.
I started to notice the things that weren’t getting done. The people I hadn’t connected to. The things I forgot. The events I missed.
They were all in-person, live encounters and interactions.
I missed them because of virtual, online commitments.
I could easily argue that sacrifices have to be made as an entrepreneur. I’m building my online personality and I’ve got to remain present to whomever is out there watching. Retweet! Comment. Post that great insight on Instagram.
There might be a trend online that matches with my next blog post, so I have to keep up on hashtags.
But all that checking my phone for a virtual event robs me of my present moment consciousness. It’s called Fear of Missing Out, or FOMO. It has some very real consequences to both adults and young people.
I thought I was multi-tasking. My attention was on several things at once, and I was always thinking about how to leverage what I was doing for what is next. But what I was really missing out on was the best and most real parts of my life. It was so easy because I love storytelling, and stepping away to document online what was happening made storyteller sense.
Where in your life has it been easier to step back and observe?
You’re not meant to float above events. Even as a leader, when your vision sees far more than what’s in front of you, you have to remain present to make your vision a reality.
It’s a subtle line that’s easily crossed.
What’s the point of a grand online persona if your in-person life isn’t as engaged? What’s the point of a visionary business if your personal life is suffering?
You Only Live Once. And for a visionary, your life affects the lives of so many others that it’s even more crucial that you put your personal life before anything else.
You heard it here first. All the books will tell you that people who want to make a difference need to be prepared for personal sacrifice. I don’t agree.
People who want to make a difference need to be prepared for their egos’ sacrifices.
Your personal life, or lifestyle, should be the benchmark for how you structure your business or your cause-related project. You only live once. Really. You should have moments to breathe and enjoy the sunset, like I did the evening I wrote this post.
That is how you don’t miss out on the important things.
“The thing about being ‘public’ is people expect you to be less human, to be what they imagine. You won’t get that here.” – Ferrari Shepherd (via @Goldie Taylor)
You’re not going to reply to every retweet. Not if you expect to be present and fully engaged for the most important things in your life.
I’m refusing to contract the new ADD.
If you want to join me, go to this site to check into how much you’re really missing out. Comment below.