I've been an entrepreneur for a long time (since 1990) and this subject is there in the highs, the lows ... there are so many times that I've felt this. I can really say I've had two lives, however, the first was when I was alone (Lone Ranger style). Even though I had business partners I had so much time when I felt I was all alone. And now ... where it is very different.
I can remember times that were so bad from a cash flow point of view that I would look at pan-handlers with a pot of money in a hat, or cup and think, "wow, they have more cash than I do right now."
Life for me changed when I joined a peer group for Entrepreneurs called Entrepreneurs Organization (www.eonetwork.org) ... the impact on me, my business, my family and my ability to contribute to a greater good has been obvious to all that know me. I truly can say that I am a better person accomplishing more than I had thought possible since my journey with EO. That said, you have to have a business of more than $1 Million in USD sales per year to qualify for membership. There is an Accelerator program put on by EO, with many of the same benefits plus instruction to help grow your business - and all the instruction is put on by people who have DONE it before. You can get info about that at http://accelerator.eonetwork.org/Pages/Default.aspx ...
But if neither of those things make sense to you ... I have written a number of blog posts on this subject. They are also podcasts so you can listen when you're on your way to and from meetings. They mostly deal with the fact that we can be our own enemies when we're in that low phase ... we need to ask for help from our teams, from our friends and from others.
The reality is that we all have baggage - as leaders and entrepreneurs we NEED to find people to help us unpack.
Here are some blogs for you to look at:
About a Forum of peers:
Vulnerability/Asking for help:
On riding the emotional roller coaster of being an entrepreneur:
I've been there ... just remember you are not alone.
Make it a great day!
Self doubt is about beliefs that have been programmed into our minds that promote limitation and self deprivation. The way to get rid of those is first to practice quietness in order to observe the patterns of your thinking and identify the underlying beliefs. Then you need to choose to change and then consciously re-program your mind with whatever beliefs make the most sense to you.
Would you like to know how I did that for myself in detail, give me a call. Got some minutes leftover.
Looking forward to hearing from you.
Let's be candid for a moment. There is nothing you can ever do to OVERCOME the loneliness you feel. That's the price you pay for blazing your trails and being a better version of "you".
One way to handle the loneliness is to do something that makes you feel powerful: personal exercise, a hobby, making phone calls, etc... The more you can GIVE to others in the exact same position as you the better you will feel.
Help someone else feel less lonely. Along the way you'll feel better yourself. :-)
As someone who has been down this road a few times, the good news is that there is light at the end of the tunnel. Although it may sound like a cliche, the fact is that adversity that often creates loneliness and self doubts - also builds character and confidence. In my case it forced me to go far beyond my comfort zone as a entrepreneur and as a result I ended up learning lot more and achieving lot more than I ever though possible. So when you feel lonely go learn a new sport, join a online course, attend a conference, do some social networking, and post a few question on Clarity. You will find many friends here. Good Luck!
The best way is to spend more time with others who "get you" = entrepreneurs, creators, etc.
This means proactively organizing dinners, travelling to events and spending more time with your friends who are also creating.
Oh, and share openly your challenges .. the more vulnerable you are, the more others will open up.
By going out into the real world.
Let me tell you, I used to be a doubt-riddled business owner, having started two businesses, overcoming quite a number of hurdles, dealing with every type of lunacy and drama you can think of.
But, when I went out to networking meetings (which usually are a huge waste of time and energy), started teaching workshops, met other entrepreneurs, it gave me confidence because I realized that a) my issues were hardly unique and b) I knew more than I'd ever thought compared to most other people in the general public who won't read, won't go to seminars or workshops, and never start businesses. Loneliness can be overcome by being humble, offering to volunteer where possible and applicable (where you're not being taken advantage of), and building friendships, strategic alliances with complimentary services, and remembering "what brought you to the dance."
Does that help?
The key is to find both an online and offline circle of support. Often creating or joining a mastermind with like minded colleagues provides awesome support. While being an entrepreneur is often being a "lone ranger," you can create your own support network and grow your business at the same time. Consider online forums, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn Groups as well as Chambers of Commerce, Rotary, Lions Clubs, Optimist and more IRT.
If by loneliness you are referring to personal relationships, here is my advice.
Being an entrepreneur often requires everything you’ve… all your energy, creativity, and of course, all your time. It’s easy to fall into the trap of, “I will never find my perfect life partner because I work all the time… Besides all the good ones are taken! And anyway, no one would put up with my work schedule. I could never hold a relationship together and build this business!”
Yet maybe, just maybe these thoughts are concealing unconscious reasons why you remain lonely and doubting your ability to change all that. Short, concise thought exercises can bring blocks to the surface where you can consciously decide if they serve you or not! If not you are then free to choose beliefs that match what you want instead of what you don’t want.
This process can offer an alternative to clinging to an unfulfilling viewpoint… like the idea that overcoming loneliness is difficult and requires a huge investment of time; a scarce commodity for a busy entrepreneur! This doesn’t have to be true for you.
If you really want to live a life you love, then call me for a free 30-minute consultation. I can help you.
Great...if you are feeling lonely and self doubt, you have already hit the bottom..there is only one way to go now. up and above. This is where you need to start tweaking your business and revenue models. May be the customers are telling you things you are not listening. Take a deep breath and start doing small things. Conserve cash and don't do large campaigns. Test the changed model in captive small customer groups till it works. God willing and you properly listening to your market, things will happen soon. The best people to keep you company are your customers, when feeling lonely.
I've been through this myself with every business I have started and there's no easy answer to this - you just do.
The usual path is you'll go through a hopefully-not-too-long period where you try things and they kind-of work... and then one day it just does. It's not an overnight event - it's the culmination of that long process of trying different things.
As others have suggested a support network can help if they pull you up. But stay really, really far away from people who drag you down or try to discourage you from your ventures.
It also helps if you are currently kicking *ss in another area of your life - some sport, the gym, some other hobby you have. That will remind you that you are capable of doing amazing things and that your business is no different.
Your harshest critic is going to be yourself and that's where the self-doubt comes from. You will see others around you succeeding and doing amazing things and wonder why you are not doing the same. But you can. Everyone goes through the ups and downs, some just hide it better than others.
Talk to other entrepreneurs and business owners. Hear from them the challenges they have gone through, and recognise that in some areas you know more and have done more than them, and in others, fair enough, you have a bit to learn.