Do you ever feel like no one really gets you? That despite the support you get from your family and close friends, something's still missing? And that even if you were regularly surrounded by people during the day time, you still feel isolated given your unique role?
"Just let it out. Open up!" People might say. But what if you don't feel comfortable showing your vulnerabilities to others? And what if you don't want to burden people you love with your problems?
Having worked with various CEO's, founders, and solopreneurs before, I've gathered some of my top tips for how you can manage leadership loneliness and feel more rooted.
1. Practice self-compassion
Everyone has his or her own set of concerns that no one else can fully understand or empathize with. As a result, everybody feels lonely in one way or another, to different extents. And that's just the reality of being unique humans with unique life experiences and situations.
What this means is the only person who will ever fully get you is you. So have more faith in yourself; practice self-love; be kinder to yourself when things don't go the way you want them to; and be more accepting of exactly who you are and where you're at.
2. Cultivate self-awareness In Communication
Mindfulness. Self-awareness. These are words that have been tossed around frequently in the past few years. And with good reason. By becoming more aware of why you think the way you think; why you act the way you do; and why you say what you say, you can better ensure that your ever-changing emotions and rash reactions don't end up affecting the quality of your relationships.
For example, if you catch yourself in the middle of responding harshly to a loved one and become aware of the root of your frustrations (i.e., did he or she actually do anything wrong, or does your stress come from something else?), you can then take a step back, regain perspective, and shift your tone or behavior accordingly to not make the person feel wronged.
When people closest to feel you're acting irrationally to them, you might push them away from you, making them confused and even resent you for putting up that wall. To the contrary, if you can be more mindful of how you communicate with your family and friends, and if you can be more intentional with your actions and decisions, you can strengthen those relationships instead and bring them closer to you.
3. Join supportive communities online
In our network economy, so many support groups, associations, and communities have been created to connect people with similar interests, concerns, industries, and roles. I'm 99% sure there's already one out there for you.
If you feel isolated because of your unique role, search on Google, Facebook, LinkedIn or other search engines: "[position] community," "[position] group," etc. You can also search for societies based on your struggles, industry, or interests. The key is to really clarify what about you makes you feel alone, and then to look for groups based on that.
With some research, hopefully you'll find the right communities to join so you can build a backbone for yourself. But if you really can't find any at all that fits your needs, think about starting one! Because chances are, somebody else may be looking for such a group to join as well.
4. Meet like-minded people in real life
Find local events for people like you; attend summits or conferences in your field; or meet up with people who you know face similar problems as you.
While online forums and groups are great for indirect support, nothing beats in-person contact. And while getting to know someone extremely different than you are can help you grow, connecting with like-minded individuals can help you feel more rooted and secure.
So get out to meet and build close connections with people like you. Hear the excitement, the anxiety, the uncertainty in their voices. Share your deepest fears, desires, and goals. And bond over your unique responsibilities, passions, and experiences no one else can relate to as well as you do.
5. Get confidential support
Find somebody who is further along the path than you are to mentor you. Hire a coach who specializes in working with people like you. Or seek for help from a health professional. The benefits to these private, 1x1 solutions include you being able to:
- have a confidential sounding board;
- be 100% yourself without being judged;
- feel heard, understood, grounded, and confident;
- get dedicated support tailored to your needs, and more.
If you're uncomfortable with revealing your weaknesses to the people currently around you; if you loathe letting things out on people you love in fear of making them worry; and if you need someone who will give all of their attention and trained guidance to you, don't be afraid to reach out and get that confidential support that you need. Truthfully, you don't have to do it alone.
If you're looking to feel more at ease, balanced, energized, grounded, and confident, allow me to be your secret backbone to support you so you can truly thrive in all areas of your life. You don't have to go at it alone!