Early Entrepreneur’s FOPO

No matter what you do people are going to frame opinions and make assumptions about you. Curating a flawless self to fit in will only fabricate matters and dilute the authentic you.

At some point in our lives, all of us have fallen prey to the fear of other people’s opinions (FOPO), which is a constant worry about what others are thinking about you. Though it helps you fit in the masses, it limits you from treading new paths and making bold decisions. As the National Director of CorporateConnections UAE and 25 years in the leadership role of several businesses, I offer advice to budding leaders grappling with FOPO and ways to overcome it.

How to deal with FOPO?

Other people’s negative opinions reflect their own limiting beliefs on work and life. Most of us are vulnerable to FOPO and sucked into confrontational situations in our initial years. However, the turning point is when you recognize that it’s futile fretting about what’s beyond your control and closing certain doors opens new ones. True independence and leadership start by taking tough decisions and venturing into untrodden paths.

How can leaders overcome FOPO?

A leader’s job is not to please people but to do what is right for the organization and the group you are leading. Pleasing others only makes you lose track of your goals.

Remember, your decisions or actions can’t appease everyone and a bunch of people will crib behind your back. However, it’s just a matter of time and patience that these same people will look up to you when they realize the benefits of your right decisions in the long run.

How to make bold decisions and act?

Incorporating feedback and suggestions from your team during the decision-making process is good. But evaluating what is right leads to sound decisions and better results. A leadership journey is the sum of the right and wrong decisions we take along the way. You have stories to tell if you succeed, and lessons to offer if you fail.

You garner people’s respect by sharing success with your team and owning any mistakes/failures. Taking full responsibility for your actions also musters the courage to make more life-changing decisions.

How to move forward?

Growth is a lonely process and can have people talking even more behind your back. We can’t really alter what people say or spread; we can only change our reaction to it.

Always surround yourself with people who boost your energy and avoid energy-draining ones. Network and create your own trusted peer group who you can bank on for advice during crossroad situations in business or life. Be candid and open when dealing with others and receive feedback in the same spirit to improve the existing and align with the larger picture.

I hope these insights will help you starve off FOPO and lead organizations more confidently.