Defined as "anxiety that you're missing out on the awesome thing someone else is doing," FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) is rampant in the digital age. Not only does it make us feel like crap, it also can ruin us as bloggers. Here's how FOMO could be killing your blog dead.
Chasing Trends Instead of Focusing on What Works
It's better to be where your readers are rather than focusing on the latest trend. If your readers are over age 30, well, they probably aren't on Snapchat. It's fine to check out the latest thing, sign up for it (important for brand identity), but if it's not going to work for your business, don't waste the time.
Imitation Instead of Creativity and Innovation
You can't force yourself into someone else's mold. Don't build your brand on someone else's successful model. You can't be the next Dooce or Seth Godin or whoever it is you want to be. Those jobs are filled. As they say, "You do you." You have to create a blog that is based on your unique value and build your audience that way.
FOMO fuels perfectionism like nothing else, and it goes beyond being a blog killer to being a life killer. The brilliant Brené Brown said, “Perfectionism is a self destructive and addictive belief system that fuels this primary thought: If I look perfect, and do everything perfectly, I can avoid or minimize the painful feelings of shame, judgment, and blame.”
Perfectionism is the fastest route to being stuck in "draft mode" as a blogger. Letting go of the fear of making mistakes is the best gift you can give yourself. In fact, making mistakes can end up being a boon; you can show how you overcame them.
Spend Money Recklessly
That Apple Watch sure is cool, isn't it? So what if it's like a tiny iPhone that doesn't have as many features? Yeah. You probably don't need it. I can't even WEAR watches , and I was drooling over the watch (I ended up winning one recently and giving it away) I didn't need. That's FOMO.
Do you really need to attend that conference? Will it add to your bottom line? Do you need that upgraded equipment (saying this as the owner of a 6 Plus)? Ask yourself questions like these before you get caught up in the FOMO tsunami that happens when fun events and products are announced.
How Do You Fight FOMO?
Remember that FOMO is based on LIES. That amazing photo of the perfect table setting on that design blog? There's a huge pile of unsorted laundry just out of the frame. The image we put forth in the digital age is a performance, not reality.
Unplug. Get offline for a good period of each day. I stop spending much time on social media around dinner time, and try to avoid doing more than checking in on Facebook in the evenings. I personally practice a single screen lifestyle; I don't watch TVs or movies with a laptop or phone in hand. I also read as much as I can. It's helped keep my FOMO in check.
Go for the experience instead of the symbol. All too often we whip out our phones to document or broadcast (yes, I use Periscope, I see the 'irony') the moment instead of remembering to experience it. After years of conference attendance I recently switched to using a notebook instead of my laptop during the event, and I've found I learn so much more when I'm not tweeting what the speaker said during the session.
Practice Gratitude. Turn your gaze inward and realize how lucky you are. I write a daily gratitude list, generally right after my daughter has gone to bed. I find this practice centers me and helps me remember on my insides instead of other people's outsides.
You're Not Missing Out, You're Already Awesome
Perspective is so important when you struggle with FOMO. Chances are you've already done some amazing work when it comes to your blog, and if you can push past that first bit of FOMO you can do the things that work for you and help you accomplish your goals. Stop chasing the "other." You're already amazing.
Below is a video version of this blog post. Enjoy.