Do you feel ever feel alone?
Are you working on your dreams all alone?Do ever get super lonely? You spend a lot of time alone as a blogger or entrepreneur. We all need a connection! Here's how to find it within yourself and others who just get it. Click To Tweet
It’s not an easy thing to admit, but I’m somewhat of a lonely loner. And proud of it? (Maybe, I’m getting there).
Sometimes I wonder if I’m missing out on something.
Am I less than, partly missing parts of something I don’t even know I’m missing by being kind of a loner right now?
I’m sure none of that makes sense to you unless you’re right in the thick of it, waking up and grinding your way to success. Perhaps you’re working towards a successful blog or building a profitable business.
No matter where you are on your journey to making your dreams a reality, there a season of loneliness.
A point, a literal line break between who you were pre-goals and who you’ve become on your journey.
Where old friends and some relationships just don’t continue. When you’re ambitious and driven to succeed, not everyone is going to get that, not everyone is going to stick around for it.
And it’s not intentional… but somehow it just happens. And you find yourself spending more time with your business than you do with any other thing or person just to look up and wonder… where’d everyone go? Maybe you even wonder why you don’t miss them more.
So if you’re feeling a little lonely on your pursuit of achieving your dreams and goals, know this: you are not alone! This post is dedicated to the lonely, hardworking hustlers at heart. It has a message of good news for you too, with every relationship that’s ruined by your goals, there’s an opening for new connections and friends who do get it.
Instead of seeing this as what you’ve lost, open your heart to the community of support that you’re now a part of. This entire group of the population who’s working outside the typical pathways to success, who are making money at home, starting side-hustles and even making money in their sleep.
It Was All I Dream, I Used to…
I have these weird nightmares where I’m on a plane, but it wasn’t really a plane, just with the rows of airplane seats in a warehouse-like a giant room. And in the seats were all these people I used to be “friends” with.
Let’s be honest, these weren’t friends, just faces of people I knew. Maybe we connected briefly during the many years I was a student. Think of it as being in a giant room with everyone you’re Facebook friends with.
How can being self-employed from my home office/bedroom in the house I share with my mom stake up against lawyers, doctors, and business professionals? Okay, okay I live at home with my mom… would you buy it if I said she was my housemate? (And yes, I know housemates pay rent).
Not only would I feel less-than in these dreams (did I mention that they were recurring dreams?), but I would feel this deep sadness for all the friendships that I’d lost.
But even deeper than that, farther down was the real truth of the matter. I never felt like I belonged with them, or anywhere else. Not once did I ever feel completely at home with a group of people. Maybe I’m a wanderer, maybe I just never belonged.
Do You Ever Feel Alone?
I always used to wonder if maybe something was wrong with me. Maybe I’m missing that thing that makes someone a good friend? I’m not sure what that thing is, seeing as I probably don’t have it anyways.
I must have had this dream at least 10 times. Always the same, always the same feelings from my middle row seat sitting between now strangers.
You know, the typical movie scene reunion incarnated into one of my top 5 nightmares. Maybe I just watch too many movies?
What I grieved for then was my lack of connection, the inability to be understood and seen. The irony of it all is that it looks losing these shallow, often pretend connections and standing largely on my own, to really connect with a sense of belonging.
It took braving the wildness, as Bréne Brown puts it in her book of the same title.
“True belonging is the spiritual practice of believing in and belonging to yourself so deeply that you can share your most authentic self with the world and find sacredness in both being a part of something and standing alone in the wilderness. True belonging doesn’t require you to change who you are; it requires you to be who you are.”
― Brené Brown, Braving the Wilderness
I found belonging in myself when I pushed through feeling alone.
We’re Not On the Playground Anymore
Sometimes I wonder, when did it get so hard to make friends?
Do you remember the days when friendships were forged in minutes from liking the same comic book? “Hey you love Archie, I love Archie, let’s be best friends!”
True story, okay well the theatrical version of a true story. This happened in the fifth grade and we are still friends to this day, not that I actually remember this happening but she reminds me.
I was the one with the comic book. Now I’m the one with the blog? Wanna be friends?
This doesn’t happen anymore. What would we even say?
“Hey you love [enter popular brand here], I love [that brand again], let’s be best friends!” You can only imagine what the response I would get, “Okay crazy lady with the big hair, don’t rob me.”
Seriously, why aren’t things this easy anymore? Did we have to grow up and become so unapproachable?
Small talk with new people usually follows a similar script (if they don’t think I’m a teenager that is). And I’d be totally lying to you if I didn’t say this was the reason why I avoid it like the plague and often choose to not socialize with strangers.
“So you don’t have a job?” – Nope, I do my own thing.
“What’s that like?” – A bit of this, a bit of that. Pretty much whatever I like.
“Interesting…” [Insert some eyes glossing over and me swiveling and escaping for the door].
As simplistic as this exchange is, it’s happened all the time. And then people who have no idea about anything online business related proceed to give me business or life advice. This right here is why I simply cannot be bothered with any type of small talk.
I Try to Blog It Away
I’m so not a journaling kind of girl. I was not that girl who had a diary with that tiny lock and key. I was never one for capturing my thoughts, heartaches and super amazing days on paper.
My philosophy has always been, why bother, if it’s great I’ll remember.
I’m realizing that the issue wasn’t that I didn’t like writing, I just didn’t like the idea of having to physically write on paper.
Where’s this girl now? I can’t find her.
Somehow from writing that first email blog post to a few friends back in June 2016 has turned into a daily ritual of at least a thousand words per day.
I am so thankful that I started blogging. It’s only been a few months, but the connections that blogging has brought into my life saves me from feeling totally alone and isolated.
Sure, those small talk people will probably never understand what it’s truly like to be your own boss, all the challenges and obstacles that come with it. But, thankfully there are so many communities of people online and in-person who do get it.
Coming back to this blog post three years later after embracing my path and destiny as a boss babe I see now that this was just a season of loneliness. In those quiet moments, when it was just me and my Macbook, I found myself (as cliche as that sounds). I realized who I was and what I was on this earth to say.
I don’t need my then friends or even my family to get it. Because I get it, and so many other kick-ass blog-preneurs I’ve met over the last few years also get it. That’s enough for me.
That’s partly why I started a local MeetUp group in Toronto for bloggers.
No Passport Required for Self-Discovery
But I’ve come to realize, that in the loneliness and the quiet is where I find myself. Away from the noise and the busyness of life and the world, stuff and other people’s lives.
You always see this happening in movies or read about it in books, the protagonist goes on a journey of self-discovery – a walkabout. “I will climb that mountain, eat that pasta, and walk my way to myself.”
Okay, you go do that, but I guarantee that all you really have to do is just get to you, and you are right where you are right now in this moment.
You don’t need to quit your job or spend 5K roaming in Rome (I’m all for travel and pasta, and pasta in Rome is the best pasta I’ve ever had, but do it because it’s an amazing experience).
What you seek is not outside somewhere waiting for you to find it. You are right here. And the answers are within you. I can’t believe I’m saying these things, but for real friend, it’s true.
Often times we already know the answers, but it’s just accepting them or being in a place to hear them clearly, to find that clarity. And clarity is found in the silence, in the loneliness.
Not searching to fill the void with food, stuff, others or anything else in this world.
It’s just you staring into the void and not being afraid of what we find there. For me, the void starts with a blank document and a blinking cursor.
A Self-Imposed Sentence
At this point, I am the architect of my own loneliness and even more embarrassingly to admit, I don’t mind that much (most of the time). I’ve become addicted to being alone (even if I do get lonely at times, but that’s what movies are for).
But I’m okay with it because I put myself here and it wasn’t exactly by accident either.
Phase 1: Saying No.
It first started when I realized that I needed to reduce my spending so I that I could invest that money more directly into myself and my future. That meant learning to say no to a lot of social outings, from dinners to trips. Sorry boo, my goals are worth more than yet another dinner or movie.
Phase 2: Sorted Out.
Enter the wonder of automated e-mail sorting. No more time spent daily deleting loads of emails tempting me to buy this, read this. Just like magic I no longer see them, unless I want to. I only see what matters, the personal emails and business inquiries get quick responses.
Phase 3: Offline Connection.
Then came my choice to reduce my online socializing, but if I’m being honest it’s more like online gazing. Scroll, scroll, like, like. It’s not really socializing, and it just leads to way too much comparing and feelings of “I’m not enough.” I realized that social media was the plane.
Phase 4: Back In It.
To be determined. Could go either way at this point. Walk even further down the lonely road or emerge more centered and self-assured than ever before. Ready to conquer, ready to do my thing, ready to socialize in person and online, hopefully, make some new friends. Anyone available?
With fewer notifications and electronic interruptions, and less going out and socializing, I’m really just left with myself and my thoughts, which has been great for writing and figuring myself out. I’ve spring cleaned my mind of the chaos of it all.
Not that I don’t see or talk to people, just the overall traffic is way less, but the value of each interaction is much greater. And when I am interacting with someone, I’m present. I no longer feel the pull of technology to always be checking my phone.
After months of not being on Instagram at all, I’m even starting to consider getting back to it, but for business purposes obviously. I really do not miss scrolling past peoples lives, I’m too focused on building my own.
Best Facebook Groups for Connection
If you’re feeling lonely on your journey to success, I won’t’ leave you hanging. There are thankfully so many amazing online communities for collaborating and building connections.
Over the last few years, I’ve built so many beautiful friendships with women who truly inspire me. They’re bosses in their own right, doing what they love for a living and so open to sharing that wisdom.
Remember, you’re a member of a secret society of bosses who are living life on their own terms, it’s time to get to know them!
It’s easier than you think to form a new connection. Reach out, say hello and even better gush about how much you love their work. Funny enough I think most of the friends I have now all started with a simple email about someone stealing our pins on Pinterest.
Here are a few of my favorite groups on Facebook for connecting:
Request to join and participate in the daily threads. My favorites are collaboration threads. No better way to make connections that to work with someone a guest post, round up, interview or joint venture.
My friend Marina of Yes to Tech created this amazing spreadsheet of all the Best Facebook Groups. Be sure to get it!
Don’t be shy!
A Message to You Boo
I’m just the right amount of lonely and you reading these words is just the right amount of company I need in this solo-land of “figuring it out and trying to make a life for myself from my room with a road-side view.”
Every comment and response makes me feel that less alone and reminds me that this loneliness serves a purpose and it’s a necessary part of the process (my process at least).
My lonely heart really does get such joy from writing to you weekly.
Picture me, leaning out the window of my simple townhouse holding up a tiny woman-made antenna, sending my message out to you across time and space.
You are NOT alone.