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Fear Of Not Achieving (FONA)

FONA, the Fear of Not Achieving. Have you ever heard of such a thing? I didn't even know there was such a term, but there is. Why does it matter? Well, as women we naturally have an instinct for negative thoughts before we insert positive ones. Think about it, how many times have you or have you heard women say "I have a dumb question", "I must be a moron", "Only I would do something so stupid"? Probably at least once a day. Clinical psychologist and perfectionism expert Elizabeth R. Lombardo, Ph.D, says "Much of what women say to themselves, they would never say to someone else—not even someone they did not like." But, why do we do that to ourselves? Because we have been doing it since childhood. So now we have FONA, to live with.


It is crazy to think we have FONA, because when you really take a moment to think abut the things you achieved in the 18hours of the 24 hour day, it is pretty amazing.

Think about it, you wake up every morning and the alarm goes off - 6 am, you stretch, yawn, turn on the TV (to find out if the world ended) and you look at your phone for news and email (again, in case the world ended).

You follow that routine with the morning "sit-up" maybe even two (that counts, right?) only to lunge to the shower, where you will wash away stress and bad thoughts from the day prior.

And "wha-la", clean you comes out, ready to tackle anything, anyone has to push your way. But, first you need to make sure the hair, the cloths and the accessories go well with the shoes and purse, because nothing can turn a great day sour, except a bad hair and a bad outfit.

It is now 7:15 and you stop and get the daily cup of milk and espresso, say morning "hello's" to the coffee shop staff and away you go to the wonderful place called your second home, the office.

You sit in traffic for 20 minutes listening to the news (again, because the world might be ending and you need to know), you would make some calls left on the "to-do" from yesterday, but your not sure if they will be in the office.

It is 8 am sharp, you arrive at your office, turn on the computer, get the files out that are needed for the day, review the notes from the day prior, glance at a presentation, look at the checklist of the items to be completed today, answer a few "hot item" emails, check on the team to make sure they are good to start their day and then when that's done, you are off to the first of 5 meetings that day.

First meeting, 8:30-9:30, a lot of talk, a lot of notes, a few "errr" moments, some doodling, a quirky smile and some more talk, a glance at the phone, yikes, next meeting in five minutes. You were hoping this meeting would end on time, giving you a second to relieve yourself of the milk and espresso, but no can do. Next meeting starts at 9:30 and will go to 11 am. Crazy thing is you are the main presenter, so a precious second to review your notes, one more time, would be welcome. Not going to happen, you walk in and within a second (or at least that is what it felt like) you are on the spot. You present, you get questions, you discuss, the next presenter goes, and what you thought was a long meeting already, just got longer. With all the questions you received, presenter two got a late start and now, instead of 11 when the meeting ends it is 11:15.

Which, when you think about it, 15 minutes before your next meeting is a gift. You take the time to do the things you need like; respond to the 8 emails that came in asking for replies before the end of the day, you listen to the 5 voicemail messages that were marked "urgent" and now there is a line of people waiting to talk to you. You speed meet and grab a power bar, to go. You make the mad dash to the next meeting that will go through lunch and end, just in time before the "all hands meeting" at 1:30. REMINDER ALERT: Lets not forget, this article is about FONA. The fear of not achieving. Hmmm I not sure where the fear becomes reality in our mind, but it does.



The wild part of this scenario is it is only the first half of one day in a work week made up of 5. As people, as women, we do achieve a lot in a very short amount of time, but we forget to take 60 seconds to think about what we did in 6 hours, let alone 60 minutes. Because if we did we would not achieve the days tasks. But that is wrong, we are actually really great at multi-tasking and we are awesome achievers.

So the next time you think, you didn't achieve a darn thing that day, or that week, etc. and that FONA sneaks up. Stand up (with your cute shoes), stretch, raise those arms and remember -you are an achiever, you are successful, you are a master multi-tasker, you are not going to let FONA ruin your day or your future. Because...behind every women, is herself - the achiever.


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