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When we have risen to the top of our fields or become the head of an organization, the old adage about how lonely it can be at the top often starts to ring true. And as we discussed in the last blog, loneliness is an adversary that can undermine our well-being, productivity, and overall satisfaction despite our professional achievements.

To distract ourselves from these feelings we may up our load, trying to bring every big idea to life. Although many professionals, business owners and entrepreneurs lose themselves in their work in this way, no one can escape the fact that humans are social animals by nature and being disconnected from others … feeling lonely … will eventually impact each of our health.

Before any of us enter into the vicious cycle of workaholism, we have to hit ‘pause’ and make time and space to recognize and address this silent adversary … a powerful adversary that is not only affecting our personal well being but can also affect the overall success and sustainability of our businesses.

To address this loneliness, we will look at some of suggestions generally given to fight the battle against loneliness. These suggestions are part of the answer … each one has value for us … and there is not one that I think all of us should not cultivate and grow in our lives.

The five (5) recommended things to do are:

1. Foster Community. Seek out business and entrepreneurial networks, forums, or support groups where you can connect with like-minded individuals who understand your journey. And if you cannot find one you like … CREATE ONE.

2. Prioritize Relationships. Make a conscious effort to allocate time for your personal relations – carve out quality time for loved ones. Most of us live by our calendars … so make a regular appointment with those you love and who love you back.

3. Embrace Vulnerability. Recognize that vulnerability is a strength. (No, it’s not a weakness … It really is a strength.) Find trusted confidants with whom you can share your challenges and concerns. Choose carefully. This does not have to be a large group of people – I would say you are blessed if you can count on one hand the people you consider to ‘have your back’, to be your ‘3 a.m. friends’. These can be within your family or social circle, a mentor, or a paid professional coach.

4. Take Care of Yourself. Prioritize self-care and well-being. You might ask … ‘And what is this?’ There is no cookie cutter answer. The answer is anything that nurtures your physical and mental health. For me this is regular massages (the physical part); and an on-going Bible study (the mental and spiritual part). [As an aside, right now I am working through Pricilla Shiver’s “Hearing the Voice of God”. This is set up as a 5-week course. It has taught me so much … I encourage you to look into it for yourself.]

5. Seek Professional Help. If the feelings of loneliness persist or become overwhelming, reach out to a therapist or counselor who specializes in professional, business owner, entrepreneurship-related issues.

And while all of the above five (5) things are valuable and will help … they are only part of the answer. Why? Because loneliness is a symptom of something deeper … it is a symptom of an underlying root problem … and as a symptom it points to the hole in your heart and mine that we have been trying to fill with the things we, as Americans, define as success. And guess what? The hole is not getting filled … it is still there … waiting for the rest of the answer.

“In a moment … the rest of the story.”

Paul Harvey

I will be back in the next blog with the rest of the answer.



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