Tackling Loneliness For Entrepreneurs, Leaders & High-Performers
Updated: Dec 16, 2019
In accordance with the "Mental Health Month" this October, we've pulled our team's best effort on recognizing the existing loneliness epidemic and sharing ways to identify triggers to curb out of this silent killer that has over the years become a common feeling for most entrepreneurs as they build their brand or communities.
CEOs and other top leaders go to great lengths to maintain an unflinching façade of trust, hiding any insecurity or anxiety. But this process produces both the leader and the company with high-risk opportunities.
Loneliness can affect patterns of sleep, stress hormones, and even white blood cell production. Learning how to overcome these loneliness feelings at work is crucial so that you can be healthier and work more efficiently. Isolation and loneliness trigger that fight-or-flight response, which can lead to ill health and even death.
In fact, according to Forbes, 42% of Millennial women are more afraid of loneliness than a cancer diagnosis, by far the highest share of any generation. This fear has been ingrained into the very lexicon of Millennials, immortalized in acronyms like “FOMO” and its many companion terms.
SOME ALARMING STATISTICS
One in four Americans (27%) rarely or never feel as though there are people who really understand them.
Two in five Americans sometimes or always feel that their relationships are not meaningful (43%) and that they are isolated from others (43%).
One in five people reports they rarely or never feel close to people (20%) or feel like there are people they can talk to (18%).
WHAT CAUSES IT?
Financial - pressure to get funding, close a sale, and implementing their vision.
Social - less time outdoors especially during the building stage. Networking can be a hit or miss, depending on the events and the founder's personality.
Legislative - business permits, taxes, and operational costs.
One approach you can alleviate this is to find the right people around you and collaborate alongside them. Hire the best people who can do the stuff you're not good at.
The existence of loneliness can not be grasped without the thoughts being taken into account.
Lead From Within: Wherever you are, touch base with what you experience and be open to finding ways to work through it. You may not realize it, but you are not the only person on earth (or even in your office) feeling this way. Chances are that you are surrounded by others who feel just like you do. And you're already ahead because you acknowledge it, and you're reading this article on how to make things better.
It's healthy to have a sense of belonging be it through a digital support group, or some old friends that you see once in a while. A change of scenery, be it at a new coworking space, having a new indoor plant, switching to natural lighting instead of the dreadful fluorescent lighting, waking up after a good night's rest, and even a quick set of jumping jacks during the workday can greatly assist with limiting feelings of loneliness.
My personal strategy? I like to call friends to catch up and laugh a little bit with them. Just this instant shift from work mode to social mode achieves the purpose. Even watching prank videos on YouTube does the job if time is limited. Finding joy in the various tasks and being grateful that you get the opportunity to push your ideas forward is already a rewarding mindset to have.
A healthy spin to this as well is that being alone and carving time to be on your own is actually a healthy thing to do. It's okay to unplug and take an hour off to have a proper meal and listen to a podcast that enriches your mental garden, allowing your mind to wander off in free form, enhancing creativity (Just put it to work!) Do it and don't resent yourself after. It's healthy. You're fine. You're doing okay. Most importantly, you're not alone.
“It is strange to be known universally and yet to be so lonely.” ~ Albert Einstein
Loneliness is a human condition and as leaders, we must learn to cultivate it - not just for our personal well-being but also for the communities we are to build.
No experience is the same. Recently overcame loneliness? We'd love to hear from you.
Share your experience by commenting below. Share this to a friend too!