5 Steps Entrepreneurs can take to Combat Loneliness
by Jennifer Radkey
Author John Donne may have penned the quote, “No man is an island,” in the 17th century but, like many truths of human nature, it’s still relevant today.
We’re all attached to each other in some way; our humanity is intertwined. It’s when we lose sight of this that we may start to feel lonely. We may also feel as though we’re in isolation from the world around us.
Entrepreneurs often walk a lonely road. The success of your business relies on the effort you put into it daily. With a drive to succeed and a passion for what you are doing, it can often be hard to separate life as an entrepreneur from anything else.
There can be a level of pride in the entrepreneur’s journey that makes it challenging to acknowledge that there’s genuine struggle. When society paints a rosy picture of the life of the entrepreneur—setting your own schedule, doing what you love, earning your own riches, etc.—it can feel as if you aren’t doing something “right” when you’re running a successful business yet feel stress, loneliness, and gloom.
Being an entrepreneur has its perks and many would tell you they can’t imagine doing anything other than running their own business. However, this doesn’t mean that the path is easy or without its risks of social isolation, anxiety, burnout, and depression.
It’s time that we acknowledge all aspects of being an entrepreneur—the good, the bad, and the ugly—to peel back the façade of perfection. We need to allow space for honesty, connection, and self-care.
Below are five steps entrepreneurs can take to combat loneliness as an entrepreneur.
1. Find like-minded individuals who can relate.
Often, entrepreneurs may feel as if no one else understands them, no matter how well-meaning or supportive friends and family may be.
Connect with people who you can be honest with and who will listen with little judgement. This can be through a social group that connects entrepreneurs not for the purpose of business growth and networking, but to build friendships and share stories.
If a group like this does not exist, consider starting one yourself.
2. Practice mindfulness with your external relationships.
Share with loved ones when you’re feeling particularly disconnected or stressed. They may not understand life as an entrepreneur, but they have your best interest at heart and can help you find balance between your work life and personal life.
Finding time to spend with the people who care for you as a whole person is important. Doing so can remind you to acknowledge and respect all the different sides of who you are, not just the entrepreneur side.
3. Learn how to be in a healthy relationship with yourself.
Acknowledge when you need social time. Recognize when you’re not getting enough sleep. Take time to enjoy hobbies or participate in physical activity. Take time to appreciate your accomplishments and feel proud of what you achieve.
Try journaling or participating in the things you loved doing before you became an entrepreneur to create connections and feel less alone.
4. Share the burden.
As an entrepreneur you often quietly place a tremendous amount of responsibility onto your shoulders. This can lead to feeling entirely on your own—even if you have a team surrounding you.
Learn to place trust in your team and to release some of those responsibilities to others. If you are a solopreneur, perhaps look to other professionals to whom you can outsource some of your tasks ( virtual assistant, social marketer, etc.).
5. Seek professional help if needed.
If you feel alone in the process and don’t have anyone you feel you can speak to, consider seeking a professional to help.
Consider hiring a professional life coach If you’re looking to create stronger social connections; need help with work/life balance or stress management; or wish to manage external relationships better.
If you suspect a mental illness, such as an anxiety disorder or depression, reach out to a registered therapist. There’s no shame in asking for help if it means living a well-rounded life that’s successful not only professionally but personally.
Entrepreneurs are masters of paving the way for their visions to come to life. However, the road they pave doesn’t need to be a lonely one. Applying the same drive to your personal well-being as to the success of your business will only have positive outcomes!
Cheers to your personal and professional growth!