5 steps to dealing with loneliness as a leader

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Loneliness is one of the most demoralizing states that at some point in our life we will have to come face to face with. Loneliness comes upon us like a giant there to steal our soul, robbing from us our happiness and contentment. This giant comes at the moments in our life when we are under extreme stress or have reached the end of our rope. It is at this moment we look into the mirror and see this giant of loneliness staring back through our hollowed eyes.

Loneliness is the one belief that if we fall prey to this, it will create a terminal environment. If we believe that we are the only one that is going through a challenge or problem, then we will not look outside of ourselves to find that help that is desperately needed. We choose isolation, hiding away from the people, and support that comes from being within a community. Ignoring the help from others only allows the giant to grow, taking up your field of vision until it is the only thing that you are able to see within our lives.

This giant we are calling loneliness shows up in our lives in a few different ways. He especially comes around when we are on the brink of burnout. When we have expended all our energy fighting a battle that there is nothing left to take care of ourselves. He shows up when we have endured long periods of stress. He has shown up in the lives of our family, friends, and community throughout this recent pandemic of COVID.

This giant will show up and affect your life in two different ways.

Your giant of loneliness will always appear to be larger than they really are.

They start by taking hold and exercising power over our lives. They leave an impact on our decisions, actions, and emotions. They draw their power from previous victories in our lives. They take up the ground that kills our dreams and steals away our hope of a better future. Learning this lesson will give you the strength to move into a position of power and give you the right perspective of what you can accomplish.

Your giant of loneliness will leave a deep impact on your life as they grow larger.

I have coached several business owners through their challenges of business growth but often find that there are many feel that they are carrying the weight of the world on their shoulders. As we sit and discuss the items that focus on business growth, the excuses start. The reason why they haven’t done better or why they haven’t set up the system to make their business or personal life grow. It is at this point we can see the impact of this giant of loneliness.

For each individual, the impact will be different. Some will feel like an imposter and believe that they don’t deserve to have a life where they can be content. Others feel that there are too many uncertainties and the anxiety or fear coming from that creates a lonely feeling.

The giant shows up at the moment you feel the weakest, appear like an unwanted dinner guest when the food is short. It becomes the first thing you think about when you wake up, that lingering shadow chasing you throughout your day, and the last thing you think about before you fall asleep. It will haunt your dreams, causing those 2 am wide awake moments and the restlessness demanding your attention.

All of this chases you deeper into your isolation and loneliness. Drive you into a downward cycle. Sometime this shows up in an addiction or some activity that you turn to for some sort of relief from the mounting weight that continue to grow the more that it is left unchecked.

All of these lead us to just quit life. No one else could possibly understand our situation or circumstances and since we are alone it won’t matter if we just step away from living our lives. It will start with small things. The skipping of an exercise here and there. Missing some thinking time or reflective time needed to heal our soul. We stop thinking creatively and begin to think only as a survivor. Looking at the progressive steps it will always be a slow fade into loneliness that causes us to move into isolation.

There is hope for those that feel the burden of loneliness.

  1. Talk about your current state
  2. Decide to make a change in your thoughts and actions
  3. Find others – there are others that have gone through what you are currently going through
  4. Act and do what you need to protect your mind, attitude, and spirit.
  5. Celebrate the little wins.

As you face down your giant, please note that it will get harder before it gets better. It will always be a battle to take control of the thoughts and attitudes that have come to be the normal way of living. As you change your belief system and focus on the new way forward, there will be times when you slip back into the old patterns that have been entrenched for many years. Do give up! Keep moving forward and adjusting, you will become more proficient at following the plan of action laid out above.

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