Lonely at the Top

Dear Fellow Entrepreneurs,

Our society has encouraged us to take the leap. And we have. The idea of launching a start-up has been romanticized. Rightfully so, in many cases. The freedom to design your own day and determine the fate of your own business is enlightening. Here’s the secret that we never tend to talk about though: the ups, the downs, the stress, the lack of sleep and the weight of the world on your shoulders can easily leave you lonely.

The freedom we have as business owners can leave us comfortless. Speaking from experience, there have been times when the entrepreneurial road is quite dark and desolate.

Yesterday we lost an incredible fellow entrepreneur and my Renegade friend, Jody Sherman. Last week, he invited a few of us fellow CEO/Founders to get together for something he called the ‘Lonely at the top meet-up’. In the email invite, he wrote:

“Each of us is so busy and has so much on our plates. Often times, I find myself with no one to talk to about the challenges I might be facing, the frustrations, the excitement, and the stress that comes from being a CEO/founder.”

We all thought it was odd when he didn’t show up for the meet up last night. I wish the meeting had been scheduled a few days prior. Or better yet, I wish I would have been more proactive and reached out directly, one-to-one.

This news about Jody has hit hard. The downtown Las Vegas community sends their thoughts to his wife, Kerri, and the rest of the family. Thomas Knoll summed up things well with the recent news of Aaron Swartz:

“The entrepreneurial road is extremely tough. It is far too simple to glorify swimming against the stream and seeing what others cannot see and persevering through years of hardship to come out the other end a winner. Yet we are required to keep our game face on, convincing everyone around us that the future is bright and we have a winner on our hands. The people around us we probably most need to lean on for support and encouragement of our own, are often the people who are relying on us to ‘keep the faith’ for them. And showing any fear or weakness to those people can feel like a non-option.”

My takeaway from this experience is that we must:

  • Reach out if we need help working through something. We all have supporters.
  • Reach out if we notice someone could use our help working through something. Be a supporter.
  • Encourage fellow entrepreneurs to gather together for “Support At The Top” (SATT) meet ups.

A powerful quote from Jody Sherman:

“I’d like to be remembered for being helpful to others.  I’m not sure exactly what that means but it feels good whenever I know that my advice or my time spent with someone was of benefit to him or her.  I don’t know that you have to impact huge numbers of people at once – although I am trying to do that with Ecomom.  Personally, if I can be of real use to even one person at a time, I feel like I’ve been lucky enough in my life that I’m obligated to pay that forward.”

 

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