Locums and FOMO: What is there to Fear? 

Do you get FOMO? No one should experience the Fear Of Missing Out, especially those that do locums. In this article we discuss the goods and bads of Fomo.

By: Dr. Diana Londoño & FlexMedStaff

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FOMO (Fear of missing out), an acronym originally coined in 2000 by a marketing strategist named Dan Herman, became popular in 2004 by an op-ed article written in Harvard’s Business School by Patrick McGuinness. It now permeates our language anytime we feel that we are missing out on something in life. 

As a locum practitioner, it is easy to get caught up on what we are missing out on while treating patients at the hospital or clinic. Due to travel arrangements, shifts, and call assignments, one can be susceptible to miss out on life events, magnified by the presence of social media. It is not healthy for anyone to dwell on these missed events. For these reasons, anyone or especially a locum practitioner must learn to understand what FOMO really means. Understanding FOMO and how it affects us is a crucial aspect of keeping a healthy mindset while doing anything in life, including locums. 

FOMO leads with the first-word fear. It is said that there is a Universal Law that nothing good comes from any thought or action, based on fear or anger. This is how wars begin – we start fearing what is different, we fear we don’t have enough, we fear the loss of our identities (or false ego), and thus we protect these false beliefs and identities, using it to justify our destructive means to achieve an end. Yet, when we lead from a place of love, the outcome is entirely different. It has a different energy. 

Fear has a role, and it can be evolutionarily protective so that we survive. It alerts us when there is danger. However, this must be quick, moving to the part of our brain where we use our intellect. We then realize we are not in imminent danger from a tiger coming to eat us in the cave. We can then use our rational prefrontal cortex and our heart to make decisions based on love.

When we act out of fear, our sympathetic system is on high alert, releasing cortisol which literally keeps us “frozen” and in panic. It is psychologically impossible to think clearly when we are afraid. Only when the fear has passed can we “think clearly” about finding the best solution to a situation. Thus, living from a place of fear or FOMO keeps us stuck (we can’t think of a solution), reactive (we are on high alert and any provocation makes us jump either towards safety or attack), and in a cycle of negative emotions which spiral into guilt or shame which are also not productive. 

When we live in fear, we also live in a place where we are at the mercy of “external forces” or circumstances. We have no power when we are afraid, and we are stuck. We begin to live in a mindset of being a victim of the circumstances. It is different than when we act with the mentality of being the creator of our circumstances. We no longer are afraid of missing out because we understand the reality that we are living is the one we consciously created. We take 100% responsibility for our reality.

The concept of being a victim or creator of our reality is many times a tough pill to swallow. Some people will fight tooth and nail to keep the victim mindset alive. Why? Well, because when we are living in a victim mindset, we can then blame everyone else for our circumstances. We will blame our partners, our kids, our job, the politicians, and even the dog for our unhappiness or happiness. 

We must control how we think, how we feel, and how we react. This is OUR power. And it is a power because it means that no matter the circumstances, we create our reality. 

So instead of harboring FOMO, which is fear-based, full of negativity, and puts you on a victim mindset, foster and practice coming from a place where you are not afraid of missing out on anything because you are creating your reality. If you don’t like your current situation or reality, then this is a time to pause (yes, I said pause), and reevaluate where you are and what is not working. More importantly, what do you WANT? 

You need to be clear about what you want. Do you want to continue treating patients? Do you want to continue doing what you were trained to do? Is it worth doing locums if you can work less, make better money, and improve your overall life? Is it worth missing out on some events to ultimately have more time to be mentally and physically present at the events you do attend? I hope so.   

So, stop living in fear. Live consciously. Live as the creator of your life. There is nothing to fear in that life. You dreamed it, thought about it, felt what it was to have it, and you took steps to create it. Live and work on your terms, your schedule. You now have the control and can enjoy it. This is where fear of FOMO has no room. There is only room for joy. Create yours today! Live with purpose. Live as the creator, not the victim of your reality.

***Dr. Diana Londoño is a practicing urologist and founder of Physician Support Coach. Her passion is coaching physicians back to having successful careers. You can connect with her via LinkedIn, Physician Support Coach, or her personal website.

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