“The FOMO is real.” Every time I find myself missing out on an industry event, I utter these words.
And the meetings and events industry feeds us a constant buffet of conference and events, where FOMO can come up literally every week for us!
Let’s face it, FOMO (the Fear Of Missing Out) has become a real monster in our lives. We’re constantly bombarded with social media posts of people living their best life at parties, exotic vacations, or even just sipping fancy cocktails at a local bar. In our busy meetings industry, the nasty pang of FOMO makes us question our choices and feel like we’re missing out on the greatest party and networking event of the century.
Or are we?
What if FOMO is nothing more than a sneaky illusion? What if we actually didn’t need to attend every single industry event? What if our careers and networks could stay in tact if we missed out on some of the events here and there?
Upon closer examination, FOMO tricks us into believing that everyone else is having a blast and “getting ahead” while we’re stuck at home, binging on snacks and watching reruns of Friends (for the 20th time….). But here’s a little secret: those social media posts and conference updates are just the highlight reel. Behind the scenes, people are also dealing email piling up, work emergencies and the real threat of burnout as they “try to do it all.”
I’ve been there, and some weeks, I’m still there.
Enter JOMO, the hero we all need but don’t know we deserve. JOMO is all about embracing the “joy of missing out”. My friend and fellow industry road warrior Anthony Vade (Encore AV) introduced me to this term. For months I fought him on it, unable to see the “joy” in missing opportunities to spend with our industry friends. Was I trying to make up for lost (COVID) time? As an introvert, I could certainly use the break to help recharge my batteries.
I needed to reframe what JOMO means to me; It’s about finding happiness in saying “no” and relishing in the peace and freedom it brings. It’s the realization that we don’t have to be everywhere and do everything to live a fulfilling life. JOMO is about realizing that our intentional missing out does not mean a career death sentence, or a missed career-changing opportunity.
In fact, saying “no” is like waving a magic wand that opens doors to other “yeses.” When you decline an invitation or choose to skip an event, you’re making room for something else that aligns better with your desires and values. Maybe it’s an evening of self-care, a chance to explore a new hobby, working on a career-enhancing project, or simply enjoying some quality time with yourself or loved ones. Those “yeses” can be magical.
Whether we show up to an event or not, let’s all give ourselves permission to enjoy the things we genuinely love without guilt or comparison. For this introvert, maybe its not about being at the crowded party, but creating a smaller more intimate gathering, or not going out at all. Perhaps its not about stamping my industry event dance card, and more about stamping my life’s health and wellness card.
Remember, my dear friend, life is a series of choices, and each “no” is an opportunity for a better “yes.” So, the next time FOMO starts whispering in your ear, take a deep breath and remind yourself of the wonders of JOMO. Celebrate the joy of missing out, because in the end, it’s about finding your own path and being true to yourself.
To seeing (or not seeing) you at the next event,
Leanne Calderwood, CMP, is a branding and LinkedIn trainer for the meetings, events, and hospitality industry. She believes our industry is built on experiences, and that experience should start with our professionals.
She serves hospitality professionals and teams through her online courses and consulting services to help guide #eventprofs out of the shadows and into the spotlight using their branding strengths and stories.
When she’s not talking shop, you can find Leanne drinking tea, making jam, and gardening at her home in Kelowna, B.C. with her husband, two teenage sons, and her dog, Farls Barkley.
You can learn more about Leanne over on her blog at www.leannecalderwood.com.