"It's lonely at the top"
This popular trope and famous quote says it all. The common perception is those in higher positions, or who have reached a level of fame are lonely and isolated. But does this saying hold any weight?
In many management styles, managers will distance themselves from their subordinates. When you have to balance other's wellbeing and careers with your own business success and wellbeing it can get tricky.
Since it takes time and dedication to be successful at work, people can abandon their social lives in favor of a promotion or project. The combination of being at work all the time, and distancing yourself from those you work with can make social isolation an occupational hazard.
If you don't have employees, you could be head down in a business book or marketing seminar, trying to find your business' next big break.
There are so many pressures of starting a business and of being a leader. It is tough at the top.
But as entrepreneurs, should success automatically mean loneliness?
There's a difference between being lonely and being alone
If you are happy with your head down, and you get great pleasure from working on big projects, a quiet, empty room can be your best friend. When it's quiet you can avoid distractions, stay focused and be at your most productive. Not everyone is a social butterfly, and there is a lot of research on the importance of Deep Work.
You shouldn't neglect Social Needs
Humans are social animals, we live in families and have tight-knit social circles. Stress and entrepreneurship walk hand in hand, white-knuckled and aching for a break. It's not healthy to neglect your needs for too long.
Science Direct found that job stressors lead to burnout through a feeling of occupational loneliness and the Gallup Wellbeing Index revealed that entrepreneurs were more worried and stressed than those working regular jobs.
A study from the University of North Carolina revealed that loneliness can "vastly elevate" your risk of heart disease, stroke and cancer, making it as dangerous to your health as a lack of physical inactivity in youth or diabetes in old age.
Loneliness also leads to depression, stress, anxiety and a range of other mental illnesses. Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain are entrepreneurial faces of the 30% rise in suicide since 1999 in America.
It comes down to this: are you happy? Are the sacrifices you're making worth it in the long run? Do you need to find more balance? Find out your why.
Why Do you Disconnect?
Sometimes, a fear of failure in the eyes of the public, as well as your loved ones can be daunting. If you feel that sharing your struggles could let the people in your life down, you might be more inclined to hold back, and keep part of yourself away from them.
It could be that you're just mentally and physically exhausted. If you're working 16 hour days, going out for dinner or to a movie with your friends might not seem as appealing as crashing in your comfy bed for a few hours.
When you don't live day-to-day, but you live launch-to-launch you can forget to make time for the people around you. If you have a hard time disconnecting from your work, try reading this handy guide or including social and personal time in your calendar. The key is to find a healthy work/life balance.
Do Something About It
Schedule outings with family and friends. Go out to see a movie. Leave the house for your groceries and errands. Work from a coffee shop to just be around other people. Take time to talk to your loved ones about what you're working on and what they're doing.
it's important to remember that you need to separate yourself and create separation from your work. Your job isn't your whole life, no matter how much you love it.