As an extroverted, networking, coach-defined community person, social distancing and self-isolation can be beyond difficult; causing my FOMO (fear of missing out) to be exaggerated even when I am fed the common expression and hashtag, #Inittogether.
Prior to the pandemic, my time spend on social media was very focused and intentional; especially on LinkedIn. Even though I socialize, it is a place where I continually and consistently build content to share, teach, and inspire.
However, since the pandemic hit, I am using it as a way for me to fight that terrible and uncomfortable feeling of missing out.
To be honest, I never thought I would need my LinkedIn community to help me get through this uncertain and upsetting time, but I am. The virtual and global collaborations, meetings, coffee dates, cocktail hours, summits, courses, hangouts, and even dance parties have made my creative juices soar and my networking muscles stronger.
It wasn’t like this in the beginning though. To be honest, I didn’t feel ready to be “stretched” any further on LinkedIn. I did not feel ready to take any additional risks but, was open to any invitations of course. Almost immediately, when the pandemic hit, I could see people adapting, embracing the chance, and committing to making the time in isolation matter. I have to say, all this new activity rapidly transferred my FOMO online.
I have heard many stories of how often social media activities can exacerbate FOMO for some. Many people can feel that they are not contributing enough, not active enough, not learning enough, not sharing enough, and not “enjoying” the pandemic enough. I suddenly understood what that all meant but, was determined to turn it around.
I knew that I had to turn those feelings of undeniable and uncontrollable envy, into something positive.
We are all somewhat forced to rely on social media for social engagement; the virtual community building remains strong and really is the most viable option if we miss connecting and interacting with other people.
There is a caveat though. We must all find our unique virtual path during times of change; tapping into our own specific interests, finding the right space to cultivate it, fighting the fear, beating down imposter syndrome, and lowering our expectations. We will also have to lead, and not just follow, so that we do not get into the cycle of waiting for invitation after invitation and then getting upset when one does not make its way to us.
After giving it a bit of time, I decided to reach out to my community and let them know that I would be hosting a one-of-a-kind LinkedIn Endorsement Party; a chance for people to raise others up, build community, and sprinkle tons of LinkedIn endorsement goodness on a global scale. I felt a bit of pressure. After all, it would be a first of its kind and I would need to rely on the help of my online community to make it happen and to ensure that the word would spread.
This forced reality, brought on by the pandemic, positively forced me to stretch outside of my comfort zone. But I knew I had two choices; Sit on the sidelines and watch the action around me or let it be the force that would move me into action. I chose to move into action and saw my LinkedIn troops rally behind me as we managed collectively to throw a global LinkedIn Endorsement Party like no other.
We must all accept that this is the new “normal” for now but that not all is lost. We can all think of this period as a time to build up and explore our online community and what we can do to make it our own and make it work for us. Life, as it once was, has simply been put on pause and not on stop.
I can’t wait for the day to hold a LinkedIn Endorsement Party offline again; to share laughs, storytelling, and interaction without the necessity of a computer screen to make it happen. I look forward to the day where I no longer must Zoom-In, and virtual social-connection is no longer the main and only catalyst for human connection.
But for now, especially during uncertain times, I keep in mind that every single person feels a certain level of FOMO at different times throughout their lives. I also keep in mind that reaching out to online friends can, in fact, put things in perspective, offer us opportunities to grow, turn FOMO into BTAIM: Be That As It May, and help release the anxiety of “missing out” on anything.