Feeling a bit lonely?
If you are, you are not alone! More and more business owners and managers are feeling more and more isolated.
Entrepreneurial types are often stereotyped as the life of the party – the people most at home “pressing the flesh” as they network their way to success.
But in reality, economic and competitor pressures are forcing us to work longer hours, with less time for our families and friends.
We are often working alone or in small teams, without the camaraderie of a large office.
When the buck stops with you, you can feel incredibly isolated.
Why is this dangerous?
- It can lead to a lack of motivation
- Our health suffers
- Our personal relationships suffer
- Our business suffers
- Our capacity to lead is compromised
- We may experience feelings of personal failure.
So I’ve been doing a bit of research around this and have come up with a series of strategies to help business owners or those who might be working alone at home or in very small teams to guard against that creeping sense of loneliness.
1. Value your relationships for what they are
When you start to view everyone in your network as a potential client, you have probably lost perspective. Not everyone will want to do business with you. But there may be plenty of people who just want to spend time with you because you’re interesting, or funny, or intelligent!
2. Never forget your “why”
Why did you go into business in the first place? Or why did you choose that career? Remind yourself of your bigger picture goals to keep focused and motivated.
3. Have a mentor
Find that you’re second-guessing yourself or worrying about your decisions? Get yourself a great mentor. This should be someone you can trust with all your fears, worries and concerns. And someone you trust to give you honest, no bullsh*t feedback!
People who depend on you (ie. your employees, your teams, perhaps even your family) are not likely to tell you what they honestly think. So your mentor should probably not be one of those people!
4. Create your own “advisory board”
A while ago I invited a number of women, each of whom I really admired for different reasons, to come together for lunch with a view to forming a BOLT – Board of Logical Thinkers or Board of Loud Talkers, whichever was most appropriate at the time! There was no particular agenda, other than a desire to relax with smart people to chat about common interests and concerns. It just takes one email to make it happen.
5. Build a life outside work
It’s SOOOO tempting to open the laptop at the weekend just to check on things. But if you have a family, you have obligations to them. And you have obligations to YOU! So make a list of things you love to do and give yourself permission to do them.
6. Connect online every day
There must be literally thousands of us out there – isolated businesspeople who would love to connect. Join an online forum or discussion group or connect with others via social media. It’s not as good as being face-to-face, but it’s better than nothing!
7. Push yourself to get out more
How many invitations to networking events did you turn down last month? It takes effort, but social and networking events create new human connections.