Who said being an entrepreneur was lonely? Well no one and thats my point! Not one single person mentioned the solitude, isolation or silence you face daily whilst trying to earn a living from something you love. You see coming from a corporate background that was highly social and full of amazing people - loneliness is what I faced.
Sure you have space to think, time for you and no one interrupting every five minutes with yet another non eventful drama but …..BOOM!!!!! Can you hear that? Its silence. So deafening, its ringing in my ears and in order to drown it out what do we do? Well, fill it up with the noise of our loud inner critic of course! And boy does it play on the times of silence.... Oh and if we haven't had enough of listening to it, thats tough as it continues to drone on telling us it could have done everything better and as it has an answer to everything (always after the event - helpful not!). Slowly over time this voice starts to eat away at our strength and determination and drains all our creative head space like the super suction on a Dyson hoover!! And do you know what I have found? I have found by getting out there and talking to hundreds of solopreneurs and new business owners that they are all lonely that its a real epidemic.
As humans we are social beings and its so important to have social interaction with others to help us:
A) Keep our social skills being used to ensure we don't lose our confidence
B) Ensuring that inner critic has least amount of air time possible
C) To collaborate and share ideas and understand that you are not alone
What I have learnt from clients and life is that if we stay in our own little bubbles we lose confidence by questioning what we have to say and do to the point where we believe no one will want to listen anyway. We become introverts and hide behind that word to say its what we have chosen (a lot of the times this is not true) and then we let our head be taken over by unwise words, unhelpful thoughts and unloving mantras about ourselves. These words turn into beliefs and then turn into actions and before you know it you are paralysed by indecision and start to loose sight of who you are by losing all trust and confidence in yourself.
STOP!!!!!!!! Pick up that phone and start connecting. Get out there and start meeting people. Look at local groups, look up old friends, find other entreparuanears and CONNECT. Start drowning that voice out with action. Start to understand other people are just like you and you are NOT alone. What you will find is everyone feels lonely in one way or another and that perfect life people paint is a load of bull! Truly it is. Lighten the weight of those heavy shoulders and reach out and know you are great and you have ALOT to offer the world. By truly immersing yourself you will gain your confidence back and start living a fuller and more meaningful life. TRUST that you are enough and people will listen. When you feel you maybe failing don't give up and remember why you started what you are doing and STAY ON THE PATH.
The more you CONNECT the less lonely you will feel and the more exposed you will be to the realties of life; simply that its not all rosie and life is sometimes hard. Perspective is a useful tool that will enable you to truly resonate and relate to life and starts with letting people into your life and being real with everyone around you. Don't hide, don't run surrender to it, accept it and then move on to the next chapter.
A healthy mindset it key to your wellbeing so don't chose to sit in silence and retreat. You have one shot at this life and don't forget that. USE IT, LOVE IT, LIVE IT!
When you realise loneliness is a large challenge to being an entrepreneur you need to look at what you get back; ownership, flexibility, and creating something out of passion. You start to meet kindred spirits all around you, all trying to live life meaningfully by doing something they love and success starts to mean something very different...
So would I go back to my corporate day job…. Nah … I wouldn't change it for the world!