You’ve heard of FOMO, right? The fear of missing out? It’s a real thing — countless therapists have penned articles on how to conquer the stress that “FOMO anxiety” brings and it has even made its way into the Oxford English Dictionary.

But here’s the thing: I’m not convinced FOMO is necessarily a bad thing.

The problem lies in how we apply it to our lives. Too often we use FOMO to say yes to things we shouldn’t but forget all about it at times that we actually are missing out on something potentially wonderful.

Left unchecked, FOMO can leave you feeling drained … or worse, paralyzed with fear.

Too often, fear itself proves to be stronger than the fear of missing out — and that’s a problem. That new hobby you’ve been dreaming of? The language you want to learn, the new sport you want to try? The FOMO is there for sure, but it’s drowned out by the greater fears that whisper to you when you even think about putting yourself out there. The fear of leaving your comfort zone, of trying something new, of being the new kid, of making mistakes.

The power of simply showing up.

So how do you tackle the fear and harness the positive power of FOMO?

You decide to simply show up.

My incredible vocal improv students constantly remind me of the power of showing up. For many of them, joining the class wasn’t an easy decision. Some of them are new to vocal improv and some of them are new to singing altogether! Some of them had a long-standing desire to try something new, to do something just for them, to be part of something bigger but delayed joining because the fear was stronger than the fear of missing out.

Some of them worried because vocal improv is unpredictable — you don’t know who’s going to be singing with you, you don’t know what’s going to come out of your mouth, you don’t know whether you’ll be leading, following, supporting, or singing a solo.

And that takes guts. The guts to show up in the first place and the guts to just go with whatever happens once you’re there.

But do you know what? Showing up is the hard part. Once you’ve done that, the magic can start.

If you commit to showing up fully, to dive into the unknown, to throw yourself into the music and to love whatever comes out of your mouth, the result is always a thing of pure beauty. Sometimes you’ll soar, sometimes you’ll hit a bum note. It doesn’t matter. Perfection isn’t the goal; it’s about making it work, laughing it off, accepting and loving poor choices because they’re eventually going to lead you to that glorious moment that makes it all worthwhile.

It’s true of vocal improv, it’s true of choir — and it’s true of life.

We’ve all had moments when we’ve shied away from confrontation, suppressed the desire to try something new, denied the fact that we’re missing out on something, even if we don’t know exactly what we’re missing…

And we’ve all worked through those less-than-perfect moments where we’ve felt the fear but decided to show up anyway. It takes a whole load of courage but the results, whether perfect or not, always lead to amazing growth. There’s always something precious to be gained from working through conflict, confrontation, discomfort, imperfection, and hardship. And it all begins with the decision to simply show up. To realize that the fear of missing out is stronger than the fear.

When the fear of conflict, confrontation or of putting yourself out there to try something new hits, it’s tempting to turn the other way. But if you can find the courage to make that one decision to show up, to dive into the unknown, to face your discomfort…that’s when life gets really sweet. I promise!

Ready to dive into vocal improv?

If the desire to sing is bubbling away inside of you, don’t let the fear of the unknown overpower the fear of missing out. If you’re ready to show up, we’re more than ready to welcome you in!