You may have heard the term FOMO, which stands for Fear Of Missing Out. It’s a product of living in a society of abundance.
So many choices! So many amazing things going on, and because we carry around these devices that allow us to see, at all times, what all our friends are up to, it’s easy to get caught up in FOMO.
Where FOMO is the worst, though, is when you go to a conference, right?
Not a boring work conference, but a really juicy, exciting one, with a ton of workshops and panels, where every single one is something you are just dying to attend. You can’t make up your mind, because you don’t want to choose between them, and it’s excruciating. And paralyzing.
That is FOMO.
COMO has changed everything for me.
COMO is the antidote to FOMO.
FOMO, as we know, is Fear Of Missing Out.
COMO is Certainty of Missing Out.
Because you are going to miss out on some things. It is inevitable. It is impossible, at this juncture in time, to attend multiple conference workshops in different rooms at the same time.
Hermione Granger‘s ability to time travel is not possible in this space-time continuum, alas.
So embrace COMO. Embrace the fact that you are going to miss out on lots of things you would love to attend, let them go, and let yourself be fully present for the things you do get to attend.
Because if you’re lamenting the workshops you are missing, you won’t be enjoying the workshops you’re actually attending.
AND, once you make a decision, your brain is so much happier and less anxious! Our brains hate the state of being undecided!
COMO in Real Life
Of course, COMO applies well beyond the realm of conferences and workshops. Conferences provide very handy examples, but the real power of COMO is in day to day life.
COMO came into play in a very big way in my own life just over a week ago when I woke up to two voicemails from my husband on Saturday morning.
My husband happened to be at a conference in Austin, Texas. And he is not a phone guy, so the fact that there were two voicemail messages from him, early in the morning, got my spidey senses tingling, and not in a good way.
And when he started off the first message by saying he didn’t feel well, and the friend he was staying with had driven him to Urgent Care, well, as you can imagine, I was pretty freaked out.
Turns out he had appendicitis, and about 90 minutes later he was in surgery having his very enlarged appendix removed. (By the way, he’s fine. He’s recovering great, and everything is fine.)
Now. He was supposed to fly home from the conference on Monday. And I was supposed to fly to North Carolina on Wednesday, to go to Life Is A Verb Camp. But because of his surgery, his return flight had to be postponed to Wednesday.
(Oh, and did I mention that Sunday was my birthday? I was going to spend the first half of the day at camp, and then the rest of my birthday in planes and airports. Not with my husband.)
So that left me with a choice.
Choice = FOMO… or COMO!
I could let my husband come home from emergency appendectomy surgery to an empty house, get himself home from the airport, and spend four days recuperating at home all alone, while I go to camp as planned, and spend most of my birthday in transit.
Or I could postpone my flight by a day, pick my husband up at the airport late Wednesday, then turn around and go back to the airport early the next morning for a 6:00 am flight to camp, leaving my husband to recuperate at home all alone, and spend most of my birthday in transit.
Or I could postpone my flight til Friday, get one full day at home with my husband, spend a full day in transit, get a day and a half of camp, before spending the rest of my birthday in transit.
Or I could cancel my trip entirely and stay home with my husband, miss all of camp, but spend my birthday with him.
Whatever I decided, COMO — Certainty Of Missing Out on all the wonderful connections and experiences of camp if I stayed home with my husband (plus I was one of only a handful of five-time campers, so I would lose that status if I didn’t go); and Certainty Of Missing Out on time with my husband, and much-needed work time, and much-needed down time if I decided to go.
It was tough decision, no getting around it.
COMO helped a lot.
It’s not that the decision itself magically got easier, but reminding myself that no matter what I chose, I was going to miss out on something, and to embrace that certainty, helped to soften something for me so I could ease into the choice that I knew was right, which was to stay home with my husband.
Honestly, I have done way more than my personal limit of traveling this year. And I really didn’t want to get on another plane. So it’s kind of interesting that the Universe threw this particular monkey wrench in right now.
Funny how life works, isn’t it?
Anyway, thanks to COMO, instead of resenting our bad luck, I was able to enjoy the photos and messages that people shared over in the Life Is A Verb Camp Facebook Group with a full and open heart, while being fully present with my husband.
I was so profoundly grateful for those “extra” five days I got to have with him, and that I got to spend my birthday with him, and I got to have a birthday dinner with my parents, too! That was an unexpected silver lining from the surprise appendectomy!
I hope the concept of COMO helps you as much as it’s helped me. Next time you think FOMO, remember COMO!
This week’s Something Cool is a brand, new podcast I just discovered, called Unplaced created by Michelle Nickolaisen.
Unplaced is an audio drama that tells the story of a woman who wakes up one day to find that no one can see or hear her, and everyone she knows is slowly forgetting about her.
If you like your podcasts with a mix of introspection and urban fantasy, with a dash of supernatural horror, check it out.
Want a creative kick start?
Check out my book!
What would change for you if you could totally revel in the joy of creating? You CAN, with The Creative Sandbox Way!
- Melissa’s 10 fool-proof guideposts that have helped thousands get joyfully creating.
- 5 reasons why creative play is good for you, AND for the world (it’s neuroscience, baby!)
- Why “I’m not creative” is always a lie, and how to bust it.
- How to turn creative blocks into friends.
AND you’ll get creating right in the book itself.
“It’s one part field guide, one part creative practice—and I loved it. The Creative Sandbox Way is an adventure packaged as a book.”
NYT best-selling author of The Happiness of Pursuit and The $100 Startup
Hear ye, hear ye! This is to serve as official notice that all links to anything for sale, be it books or courses, are likely to be affiliate links. What this means is that if you click through said links and make a purchase, although it won’t affect the price that you pay, a few coins will jangle into my coffers, enabling me to buy a packet of hard gluten-free biscuits to feed myself and my husband for another day, or perhaps a pen with which to create some artwork. Or perhaps they will contribute toward paying a fraction of my web hosting bill, so that this blog and podcast can continue to exist. Thank you kindly for your attention.
Thanks for Listening!
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