It can be lonely at the top, even for entrepreneurs. You started on this career path because you felt differently about work, success, and freedom than most others.
But in removing yourself from the business “norm,” you might now feel alienated because of the very things that motivated you to go out on your own. It can be difficult to talk to people who don’t share your experience, views, or mindsets.
What’s needed is a shift from seeing yourself as different from the majority of the world who aren’t entrepreneurs, to connecting with others who think the way you do and also own and operate their own businesses.
The truth about loneliness.
Being lonely is almost a necessary precondition for entrepreneurs at the beginning of their careers. Your business represents your hard work, effort, and determination. You were the one to make it happen. But “one” is lonely.
And if you keep operating this way, you’re putting yourself at an incredible disadvantage. If you’re perpetually lonely, you’re using massive amounts of energy just to sustain yourself, and you’re not learning, growing, or reaching your full potential.
Safety in numbers: A community of support.
Being part of a network of like-minded thinkers will give you the ability to vastly multiply your learning and reduce the amount of energy it takes to motivate yourself. Instead of self-motivation, you’ll be motivated by the community you’ve surrounded yourself with.
When you join a group, commit to contributing to it, and support your fellow entrepreneurs, you’ll start to see the rewards almost immediately:
You don’t need to make all the mistakes yourself.
Click To Tweet
- You’ll learn from others’ mistakes and successes.
You don’t need to make all the mistakes yourself. Entrepreneurs can gain from talking to other entrepreneurs who’ve had failures in order to see how they learned from them. Out of failure come thoughts of alternative ways to approach the organization of your company as well as your marketplace.
Similarly, there’s value in using their success stories as tutorials for how you can do things in a new and better way. You can get a simple overview of someone else’s success in 15 or 20 minutes, which can save you months or even years of your own trial and error.
- You’ll gain a truly unique perspective.
When you connect with entrepreneurs from other businesses, countries, and industries that are different from your own, they can provide a perspective or approach that you might never have thought of. How they’ve dealt with a certain situation could provide a solution that’s never been tested in your industry. Imagine the game-changing potential if you were the first to adopt it and succeed.
- You’ll find your best accountability partner.
Every time you connect back with the group, it’s an opportunity for you to refocus, sharpen, and connect to your vision. When you’re among your peers and away from the business (working on it, not in it), it’s easier to reconnect with where you are now and where you want to go.
Plus, you have the added support of the like-minded, successful entrepreneurs around you to drive and motivate you. They want to see you succeed.
And because they’re all highly motivated and moving quickly, it will force you to stay accountable and keep up. You won’t want to be the one who gets left behind.
- You’ll experience cooperative competition.
To truly reap the benefits of the group and produce something useful, you must make a serious commitment to cooperate and collaborate, and not safeguard your ideas.
What a lot of people think of as competition is actually a form of cooperation for everybody involved to jump to a higher level of performance. Everybody in a network of entrepreneurs with futures bigger than their pasts is going to be in a leadership position for everyone else in the group. Feeling that someone’s ahead of you in something puts you in a student role. That person is always growing, so there will always be that pressure. Cooperating with one another will raise everyone’s performance to the highest level.
Remember, real growth happens when you surround yourself with like-minded, growth-oriented people—and use their experience and support to propel your own success.
About the Author
Dan Sullivan is the world’s foremost expert on entrepreneurship in action. He is the founder of The Strategic Coach Inc. and creator of The Strategic Coach® Program. Visionary, creative, wise, playful, and generous, he is a true champion of entrepreneurs worldwide.Follow on Twitter More Content by Dan Sullivan