Many moons ago I noticed that I had to constantly decline invitations to Happy Hour or Friday Night Dancing. It wasn’t so much that I noticed it as it was all of my friends, colleagues and family complaining about it. That’s when I realized that my road to success as an entrepreneur would mean I would be alone a lot of the time.
I wanted to be the best at what I did, and that meant spending a lot of time in front of a pc or reading books, especially when I was learning. I had to really focus, so I needed to be in my zone. When I taught myself to program or SEO or anything having to do with the online marketing world, there was a lot of learning, reading, trial and error, and rinse and repeat. There wasn’t as much content online as there is now, but it was, and still is, a lot of fun and work. Although I missed out on a lot of non-learning and non-working fun, I never really “missed” it.
As the years went by, those same friends and colleagues continued on their own paths as I left companies and built my own. Their paths were their own and not any better or worse than mine, but I did start to notice that the folks that busted through the corporate ladder and built something of their own were the ones that worked really hard and were sometimes lonely like me.
It finally dawned on me that those were the people, my people, that I needed to hang out with. So I started to go to more networking and mastermind types of events, and I joined online groups of like-minded individuals who were on the same path. It took away some of the loneliness and motivated me a lot.
Yes, many of my old friends still get together every Friday or Saturday night to hang out, have some beers and de-stress from the work week. Many times they spend the night drinking and complaining about their lives and “the man”. They wake up late on Saturday with a hangover and stumble through the weekend feeling cruddy. The friends who have persevered are the ones who weren’t around as much because they were furthering their education in the evenings or working on a new skill or going to networking functions, etc.
What I have learned from the loneliness is that it’s perfectly fine to be lonely. You can’t be the person who hangs out with your buddies all the time and the person who is laser focused on success at the same time. At least, this is the case for me. Couple that with being a mom, and my bandwidth of free time is limited to my kids.
Basically, I’m OK with being lonely at times if loneliness means I am working towards my goals. I’d love to hear feedback from other entrepreneurs and how they handle the loneliness of success.