A is for ALONE
It can be lonely at the top
No one said this journey was going to be easy. Although we’re bombarded with success stories left, right and centre, inspirational talks and motivation workshops, you rarely hear about the people who fail, or give up, or feel so lonely they quit and go back to their office job so they can have light water cooler conversation every day (do people even do that?!).
It’s lonely at the top. As your ideas and business grow, your life starts to change just as rapidly, and it can feel like a fast-moving train you’re struggling to hold onto.
There’s no doubt that as an entrepreneur, it can be a pretty lonely road. In fact, as any kind of creative person, loneliness is inevitable on the journey. We need to be alone to think, to absorb and to create.
That’s not to say that creative entrepreneurs are all hermits with social anxiety. As we spoke about in C is for CREATIVITY, you’re only as creative as the experiences you have. Sure, you can hide away in a cave practising Buddhism and enlightenment for years at a time, but is that really realistic for most of us? What’s more, does that really help us produce culturally-relevant art, design, products and ideas?
A lot of people we talk to feel pretty lonely in their business, particularly as a start-up. When Dream & Do was just Tara on her laptop, she implemented a routine to help: get up with her husband to make him breakfast, get dressed, and go to a library or café for the day to treat it like an office. When our writer, Amy, works from home, she leaves the TV on for background noise, to keep the crazy at bay (it doesn’t always work, but makes for a funny story the next day at work!).
According to Business Insider, depression is becoming an epidemic in the start-up world, with 30% of founders dealing with its effects, as opposed to 7% of the general population.
As a start-up, you’re going to feel overwhelming pressure to succeed. If you quit your full-time job to give this a red-hot go, if you defied your parents or your partner who didn’t believe in you. If you’re afraid of failure.
Remember to surround yourself with a social network. Find some balance. When you’re starting out or taking the next big step, it’s easy to fall into the trap of wanting to work, work, work, 24/7. But you’ll just burn out. Go to events and talks, even if you hate networking, because being surrounded by people who just *get* you – not to mention actual human beings – will make a world of difference. Harness the workaholic and put it on your “to-do” list to have FUN. Call a friend. Go to the movies. Meditate. Whatever floats your boat.
A great thing Tara did in the beginning was to hire an intern – company, help, moving the business forward and doing someone a favour with the work experience. And when you become a successful business with a huge team, you’ll be craving those lonely times, like Tara does sometimes.
One of our new clients, Daniela, called Tara in tears recently, feeling scared that she’d soon get lonely. Tara reassured her that it wouldn’t last long – she’d soon be meeting clients and growing. Plus it’s all worth it in the end – it’s just the initial cost of chasing your dreams.
Go get ‘em!
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