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HOW I OVERCAME A SERIOUS CASE OF FINCON FOMO

FINCON FOMO

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!

FINCON FOMO

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.

SELF DOUBT

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.

FOMO REPREIVE

FINCON FOMOI 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

FINCON FOMOMy 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?

FINCON FOMO

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!

Comments 12

  1. I relate to so many of the FinCon related FOMO feelings you mentioned. I didn’t even really consider going but after seeing so, so many posts about it I couldnt believe I missed out.

    I’m hoping to make it out next year, sounds like so much fun and very motivating.

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      Hey Sarah! I figured I wasn’t the only one with those feelings! 🙂 I will definitely consider FinCon next year, but too early to say at this point. The location is tempting, especially right about now. : )

  2. However, I am just a newbie on this blogging playground, I can totally relate to your feelings. It would have been an awesome experience. As I was checking the recaps of the bloggers I follow, it seemed more of a college reunion than an educational event. The fun was strong with them.

    For me it was not a big deal to get over because there was zero chance of going. That trip with travel by car/airplane/airplane/car, hotel fees, food and the tickets itself would cost several thousand dollars. Also leaving my wife alone with the girls for a whole week while wandering around on a different continent is not something I really want to do. Because of the same reason I don’t think that next year will be an option too. Something huge miracle should happen to this blogging hobby to be able to rationalize such a move.
    Maybe in the coming years, connected with a Super Frugal Road Trip? 🙂

    Same time I envy you for your wonderful weekend. I think we have a couple of years ahead till we can pass down the girls for a whole weekend.

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      Hey HCF, thanks for the great comment. It would be a major expense coming all of that way, to be sure. It would be somewhat costly for me as well. If I do go next year, I’ll have to pull off a major travel hack to keep costs down. Perhaps it’s a challenge for me for 2018? 🙂 We’ll see. The weekend was great. I completely understand how hard it is to get away when the kids are very young. I remember that when our son was a year old, we went away, but only for 1 night. After that, it was probably a few years until we took another trip. One thing we did to make it easier child-care wise, is split up the kids. For example, our in-laws would take 2 of them, and the other one might stay at a friends place for the weekend, that kind of thing. It requires some extra organization, but it’s less of an ask on family/friends. : )

  3. Gahh, I’m so sorry you felt like you missed out on FinCon. 🙁 For what it’s worth, I signed up for FinCon when my blog was super small. It was a leap of faith and I wasn’t sure it would be worth the money. I’m pretty sure Mr. Picky Pincher thought I was nuts for paying to go to a money blogger conference. But after going this year, I’ve already booked stuff for Orlando. I do admit Orlando is going to be expensive (I’ve already paid like $1,400 for tickets and the hotel–ouch!), but it’s so much fun that it’s worth it. We’re going to get there a few days early and have a mini pre-FinCon vacation. 🙂

    For what it’s worth, I was a skeptical first-timer this year and I really did find the experience worth it. I do feel more confused about what I should be doing for the blog, but mostly because I know of options that I never knew about before. If anything, I know FinCon made me a better blogger, which means my readers get better stuff, and that’s what it’s all about. 🙂

    I’ll be there next year if you’re looking for a friendly face! 🙂

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      Hey Mrs. P! Thanks for sharing your FinCon perspective! I think the reason I ended up writing the post was because I was surprised at how strong the FOMO feeling was. Leading up to the conference, I didn’t feel that much pull to attend, and then there I was struggling to get motivated to write, and feeling as though I should have been there. Anyways, we’ll see how 2018 turns out. If I do go, you’ll definitely be on my list of peeps to connect with! : )

  4. I say you book it now to not only have something to look forward to, but also to motivate you!! Knowing you’re going to be surrounded by all your peers in a year will help you kick ass until time! Plus I secretly want to shake your hand, so, at the very least do it for J. Money 🙂

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      J$, a couple of things…first of all, your comment just made my day, so there’s that!. Secondly, you make a pretty compelling case, and now you’ve got the wheels turning. : )

  5. I am so jealous of your wife’s side hustle! That honestly sounds like heaven to me and your photos of your weekend away are stunningly beautiful. Getting away without the kids is very important to do and to me, there is no place I would rather go than a snowy cabin. I really love how you took your feelings of missing out and turning them into positivity. Things can take such odd form in our brains and social media really amplifies this. But those thoughts and feelings don’t really represent anything real more often than not. Bringing yourself back to your naturally friendly, supportive and positive place cured you and I am not surprised at all.

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      Linda, you are always so encouraging, it means a lot! At the moment, the farm-sitting is intermittent, meaning my wife is not actively looking for new clients, but the opportunity is there should she decide to. If she were to ask for referrals, or put the word out on Facebook, I think she would have as much business as she would ever want. What’s cool to me is just how well it fits with her interests and skill set. That’s a tough combination to find in a side hustle.

      In the past, being a stay at home Mom, her default to earn extra income always tended to gravitate to child care. But we’ve been there, done that, and neither of us have the energy for it anymore. That’s tough, thankless work!

  6. I felt the exact same way when I was home during FinCon 2016 – worried that I had passed on an incredible opportunity.

    I won’t lie – going to FinCon this year was *great*. But it was also exhausting, costly, and did I mention exhausting? Oh, I did? Yeah, it’s worth saying twice.

    Depending on what my work situation is like, I may or may not be attending next year. I’d love the chance to get back together with everyone, but if I’m just starting a new job, I’m guessing they might not be OK with me taking a week off to work on my blog 🙂 Beyond that, vacation time is for family first, hobbies and side hustles second 🙂

    Hopefully you’ll still get a chance to meet up with some bloggers in person over the next year. My offer to meet up if you’re coming through Madison still stands!

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      Hey Chris, I will definitely be letting you know when I’m in Madison, hopefully sometime in 2018! You never know, I may try to sneak my way into a North Stars meet up if it works out, and they’ll have me :). FinCon is a possibility next year, but for now, I’ve got plenty of exciting ideas and projects to work on.

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