I have a confession to make.
This past week, I came down with a MAJOR case of FINCON FOMO. That’s right. This debilitating condition had me in it’s clutches for a few days, until I finally managed to wriggle myself from its grasp.
Now, I realize that some of you are unfamiliar with both of these acronyms. “What the h&%$ is a FINCON? FOMO? Sounds like one crazy illness!”
I can assure you, I’m ok. In fact,
depending on who you talk to last time I checked, I have all of my faculties. I’m perfectly healthy.
To clarify, FinCon is an annual conference of financial content creators: money bloggers, authors, fintech startups, sponsors, you name it. Every fall, almost 2000 money geeks converge upon a hotel/conference centre for a few days of networking, workshops, mentoring. This year’s conference was held in Dallas, TX, and by all accounts it was incredible.
FOMO is the acronym for the ‘Fear Of Missing Out’. And miss out I did! At least, that was the overwhelming feeling I had after seeing the pictures from FinCon, and reading all about it.
WHEN AND HOW DID MY FOMO OCCUR?
In my mind, there were two things that contributed to my feeling of FOMO:
The first came out of my desire to connect.
As a personal finance blogger, I belong to an incredible community. I’ve been at this for just over a year, and during that time I’ve met (online) so many amazing bloggers. We support each other’s writing, and send help and tips back and forth. We encourage each other, and share some great stories. So, when an opportunity presents itself to go and hang out with these fine folks in person for 3 or 4 days, it’s something you naturally want to do. I would suggest that the desire is even stronger as an anonymous blogger, because at the best of times you’re fighting the urge to cast the mask aside, and say (insert sappy background music) “Hey, can we be friends!?!”
The second part of my FOMO was the result of reading through the sheer volume of “FinCon recap” posts, the accounts of so many bloggers who attended, sharing their experiences. It goes without saying that the collective impression was that it was incredible. Life-changing is a term that was thrown around more than once, and I don’t doubt it one bit!
Don’t get me wrong. I loved reading the reviews on FinCon, and I appreciated the conference being covered from the many different angles. But as I read through post after post, and scrolled through my Twitter feed day after day, certain feelings began to seep into my consciousness that were tough to suppress.
I began to feel some self-doubt about my own blogging efforts. Had I missed an opportunity to ‘take my blog to the next level’? Is my not being at FinCon an indication of my level of commitment? Sounds silly, but these thoughts crossed my mind. There was also the feeling of just plain-old missing out on the fun!
In the midst of this, as is often my routine, I went to my local coffee shop for a writing session. I usually go late at night, after 10 PM, when I know it’ll be reasonably quiet. But I didn’t get anything done. I found myself continually distracted by my Twitter feed, which kept the aforementioned feelings top of mind. After midnight, I went home empty handed.
I had a wonderful FOMO reprieve over the weekend. My wife and I had a chance to get away for a couple of days, for some much needed alone time. This is something we make a point to do once a year, or so. Our daughters visited their grandparents for the weekend, and our 17-year old son stayed home and looked after the dogs. We got a cabin in the woods (literally), and the timing could not have been more perfect. The evening we arrived, we got about ten inches of snow, which created an absolute winter wonderland. It was nothing short of magical. In case you’re interested, this recent post will provide a full understanding on my feelings about winter.
Anyways, getting away meant turning off technology for a couple of days, thus the FOMO eased significantly. By the way, if you’re married with kids, getaways are essential. Your spouse is your most important investment, never forget that! (I can assure you, that last line will never end up in a note or anniversary card to my wife, hardly Hallmark material 🙂
HOW I CURED MY FOMO
Upon returning from our weekend trip, and getting back onto social media, I realized that the FOMO was quickly returning. I now hadn’t written a new post in over a week, and the feelings of self-doubt lingered.
I knew that I needed to tackle it head on. If there’s one thing I’m learning, it’s to not allow fear of any kind take hold in my life, no matter how small or insignificant.
Recognizing this, I took the first step to get over my FINCON FOMO. I made a point to support as many of my fellow bloggers as possible by promoting their FINCON reports, and other recent posts. I commented, shared, Re-Tweeted their stuff. I looked for opportunities to chat with them on social media, email etc.
Needless to say, I quickly noticed a change in my mindset.
My preoccupation with missing out on FINCON was replaced by a desire to promote the experience and growth of my fellow bloggers. It was a great feeling!
In my experience, when I become too fixated on my own issues, or situation, the quickest remedy is to shift the focus from myself onto others, where it should be. Because of my fear of missing out, I was becoming selfish. That’s not a good thing.
MY OWN GIFT HORSE
This morning, finally over my FOMO, I received some unexpected, yet much needed blogging inspiration.
Solving the Side Hustle Problem
My wife has this super cool side hustle, where she farm-sits from time to time. She’s never lived on a farm, but worked at a vet clinic for a few years, and is amazing with animals in general. So, people pay her very well to feed and care for their animals while they’re away. This week, she’s looking after a few horses, donkeys, a dog and some cats on a nearby farm. I happen to be on vacation, which allowed me to tag along for her farm visit this morning.
A big focus for this blog has become helping people solve the side hustle problem. I’m drawing on my own experiences at building side hustles that work, in order to help others discover their own.
Standing by the barn, (while cornered by two horses who were in my face, preoccupied by the carrots I had for them), a feeling of contentedness came over me. I’m watching my wife laughing, while she directs the animals around the yard. And I realize that she’s doing just that. Solving the side hustle problem.
She’s discovered the ideal mix in a side hustle: passion, aptitude, profitability, and market demand.
In another time, we might not have recognized this opportunity. But blogging, along with our work with side hustles, has shifted that mindset.
In the past I’ve written about the importance of celebrating small wins. This morning made for a great example of why.
SO…AM I GOING TO FINCON 2018?
The short answer is…I don’t know. Make no mistake, I’d love to. I’ll admit, after reading so many positive reviews, and noticing that next year’s destination is Orlando, there was a real temptation to snap up early bird tickets and book a hotel. I realized, however, that I would be making the purchase based solely on emotion, out of my FOMO.
I’ll make a decision on FinCon’18 at a later date, when my head is clear, and I’ve had a chance to take into account my family’s other plans for 2018. My son graduates from high school in June. There is the annual Mystery Money Super Frugal Road Trip, and you never know what other adventure Mrs. Mystery Money and I might dream up.
For the time being, I’ll save the date. Sep. 26-29th. See you there?
If you want to see the video evidence of horses up in my face looking for carrots, you can check it out right here, on Instagram. : )
Have you ever dealt with FOMO? If so, I’d love to hear about it. Feel share your story in the comments below, or send me an email anytime!