Fear of Other People’s Opinions (FOPO)

A wonderful colleague sent me an article recently on the Harvard Business Review about a term I’d never heard before: FOPO. Fear of other people’s opinions.

We’ve all heard of FOMO – fear of missing out, for those who actually haven’t heard. But FOPO was new to me. New, but so true and so prevalent in my every day life.

We as human beings are wired to be overly cautious of what other’s think of us. One example the article used was back in the time of cavemen, if a man did not come back successful from a hunt, there was a possibility of them being shunned out of their tribe, thus causing the caveman to worry about what his tribe would think of him if he did not succeed.

Although primal, this is so similar to what I experience every day. FOPO has a tendency to hold back my own opinions, my pathway to success, and moving forward how and when I would like to. I’ve written in previous blog posts that I am aware that other people’s opinions of me are none of my business and that, most of the time, I try to be confident and unapologetic for who I am. That’s the goal, but it’s not always that easy to practice.

If you start paying less and less attention to what makes you you — your talents, beliefs, and values — and start conforming to what others may or may not think, you’ll harm your potential. You’ll start playing it safe because you’re afraid of what will happen on the other side of the critique. You’ll fear being ridiculed or rejected. When challenged, you’ll surrender your viewpoint. You won’t raise your hand when you can’t control the outcome. You won’t go for that promotion because you won’t think you’re qualified. (Michael Gervais, HBR, May 2019).

This article is especially relevant to me as I continue my journey to compete for Miss Colorado 2020. The only reason I wouldn’t compete is because I am afraid of what other people will think of me, strutting around a stage in 4 inch heels. I am running in this pageant because I want to break out of my comfort zone and disregard the FOPO that I feel deep in my gut. I certainly think this will help with that. Help with learning how to dispel it. Help with learning to be more self confident. And seeing how other strong and confident women handle themselves and knowing that I am just as capable.

I hope this helps you too! To read the full article, visit the Harvard Business Review.

Until next time!

xoxo, H