I am not sure how to put this into words, but I’m going to attempt doing so, because I think so many of us are caught in this untenable position and we need to talk about it. Ever feel like you’re just about to implode or explode? Too much is happening and you can’t get a handle on it? Does your life sometimes feel like a runaway freight train? Are you always trying to catch up? Or maybe laid flat with despondency resulting from input overwhelm?
FOMO, the Fear of Missing Out, drives so many of our decisions and anxieties. The fact of the matter is that in modern day life, we are always missing out on something. Maybe that’s always been the case, but now we are more aware than ever of all of the things we are missing out on. I don’t think there’s ever been a time where we’ve felt more anxious about all of the things we simply don’t have the time or energy to get to, and all of the information that we don’t have the time or capacity to absorb. We have to let some things pass us by, no matter how great, fun, helpful, informative, or interesting they are.
Speaking for myself, I’m even overwhelmed by having to deal with sorting through and deleting all of the emails telling me about all of the things I’m letting pass by. It’s not just FOMO – it’s the endless inundation of offers and classes and events and information – the content that constantly fills my email boxes and social media and demands some sort of attention. Make it stop!
I’ve started unsubscribing from many authors and spiritual leaders and coaches that I really like … because I just can’t take getting so many emails all of the time. I feel accosted, not invited – inundated and overwhelmed, not inspired. But that seems to be the trend in marketing these days. That’s what all of the “experts” tell people to do if they want to be “successful” as an entrepreneur, whatever their business. I notice it being particularly rampant in the worlds of coaching, health & wellness, and spiritual/personal development (which are my fields), although it’s probably equally pervasive in other fields too.
Do these email campaigns. Post content every day – or at least every other day. Do a podcast. Never let anyone forget you for even a moment … stay in front of their awareness, demand their attention, scream for their attention … and drain your own blood if you have to, but be consistent about getting out “quality content” every day. Hustle, hustle, hustle. Whether you are a content producer or a content consumer, we are encouraged to keep running on that endless hamster wheel as fast as we can all of the time without taking a break … and I am just DONE! I can’t take it anymore. I don’t care about “success” – not if I have to earn it this way. NO! That’s actually very far from any definition I have of success. Worlds away.
I have a lot to offer in the world. But that’s NOT who I AM! This hustle culture has got me feeling like I can’t just relax and BE. I want to just relax and BE! Not all of the time, but yes, a lot of the time! I don’t want most of my human interactions to feel transactional – like I’m thinking of how I can capitalize on these connections, and network, and build my brand. I don’t want a brand! I especially don’t want to BE a brand! Who said we have to have (or be) a brand?!? I just want to be a human being, doing the work that I do. I want to be authentic, open, flowing, and flexible in who/how I am … definitely NOT trapped in some carefully crafted and constantly promoted identity. I will NOT be limited in that way! I’m not at all interested in promoting some image of myself that may appeal to potential clients.
What am I interested in? I’m interested in being ALIVE. I’m interested in hearing people’s stories. I’m interested in helping people to be true to themselves – and to find what is authentic and meaningful and joyful and pleasurable for them in their lives. I’m interested in hanging out with friends and talking. Or just sitting around a fire pit or somewhere out in nature in companionable silence. Or any one of thousands of fun and/or pleasurable scenarios – whatever appeals in the moment.
On occasion, I may have a desire/inspiration to write a blog post or to make a meme – and when inspiration strikes, I will do it. But I will no longer, never again, force myself to try to keep some sort of schedule of posts or emails – or to do things that I’m doing just to try to get business (because hey, I do need to have clients/business in order to survive, you know? – but NOT at the cost of my own integrity). Maybe that makes me a terrible business person, I don’t know. And honestly, I really don’t care. I feel like the whole marketing culture has become very toxic. I don’t want to be a part of that.
I mean, yeah – I’d like to figure out how to get more clients (help more people) and create some financial security for myself. But there’s something that’s surprisingly far more important to me than that: my own happiness – which flows from being true to what matters to me in each moment, responding to life as it comes, and not doing things that don’t feel good to my soul (like being pushy/aggressive in marketing or like engaging in the constant hustle). I don’t have all the answers – and there is so much that I don’t know.
Here is one thing I do know: I feel so much better when I step out of the stream of information and busy-ness and constant doing. I love my solitude and quiet times. I love laughter and conversations with friends, old and new. I love life without an agenda beyond enjoying each day, loving and being loved, and appreciating the many gifts of life. I’m fortunate to have a job (other than my own business) that I enjoy and that covers my basic expenses. That way, I’m not feeling like I have to compromise what matters to me in my own business. I think that’s been a real key to finding some balance and peace for me. I’m not attached to financial success in my business. That takes a lot of pressure off of me – and allows me to have the attitude that if the Universe wants me to serve, then the Universe can bring my clients to me. I’ve hung my shingle. I’m not going to stand at the door yelling for attention, “Come see me!” Not that there’s anything wrong with that – that is just not how I roll – it is inauthentic to me.
As for FOMO, I’m learning to simply trust that any information I need will get to me. Any experiences I’m meant to have will happen. I’ll be in the right place at the right time. Anyone I’m meant to meet will show up in my life. Anyone I’m meant to work with will find me. I’m out in the world. People can find me and choose to work with me. I’m happy to help. AND … I’m also super happy to not feel like I have to chase people and constantly ask them to come work with me. I don’t want to do that. It doesn’t feel good. It’s not that I’m shy. It’s not that I feel unworthy. Neither of those is true. It just doesn’t feel good … and I’m all about feeling good.
So, I’m here if you need me. You may not hear from me for another month or two. Or, who knows? I may get inspired and write again much sooner. But it will be from inspiration – and I’m not making any promises regarding any timetable. You know where to find me. You know I’m here. You can flip through my website to see what I offer. And that’s about the extent of the marketing that I’m willing to do. That’s what feels good to me. And if something else occurs to me and feels good, then I’ll do that. I’m not averse to taking chances or trying new things. I’m simply not interested in pushing myself (or anyone else) into doing anything that doesn’t feel good.