(If that just made you gasp and pull up your email to send me a litany of reasons why your parents would never…I have 3 things for you: Santa, Tooth Fairy and Hard work will get you everywhere. Boom.)
When you go through something traumatic or injurious or troublesome or even something just really frustrating…it feels like you are the only one out there going through it. You’re just a lonely, troubled island in a sea of others’ perfection. (Was that going a little too far? Maybe. But maybe not.) Then you find yourself saying things like:
“No one understands.”
“You have NO idea.”
“But I’m DIFFERENT.”
“Just shut up and gimme 2 cats, 1 cake, and Drop Dead Fred on Blu-Ray and leave me alone for 3 weeks.”
While that last one sounds flipping awesome to this INTJ…it kinda just creates a self-fulfilling prophesy, doesn’t it? You, left feeling alone, isolated, and it’s all up to you to figure it out. But here’s the rub: that’s not true.
After I broke my ankle, I felt alone. Literally, because I broke my ankle right before one of the worst winters ever and was pretty much stuck inside the house for a few months and crutching over 3 feet of snow doesn’t work so well. But I felt emotionally alone too. Until I found a Facebook group filled with other injured roller derby members from all over the world (adoringly calling each other Gimps, Gimpsters, Gimpites…) that helped me get through the worst part of my situation: feeling like no one understood what I was going through.
Solopreneurs like yourself (and much like my fellow injured skaters) may often be the only one in their family, support system, circle of friends, etc that are going at this business thing by themselves. It’s hard to NOT talk about work on your “off” time, which is usually the last thing your 9-5 friends wanna talk about. And when you do, you are met with nodding heads and a quick change of subject.
And it’s not that they don’t care. They just don’t get it.
But ya know what…others do. Many others, really. And those “others” can help you feel less alone and more able to get through the challenges you face running a business by yourself. They can offer their own stories (Clients from Hell, anyone?), helpful advice and research that they’ve stayed up until 2am finding online (yes, you’re not the only one doing that), and probably most importantly, an empathetic ear. Which is, in most cases, exactly what we need in that moment.
So, when you feel like your troubles are a unique snowflake that no one could ever understand: Get out of your house, or get online, send up a flare if you have to, and find others like you.
Not sure where to find them? You can start by commenting below and let’s tawk. 😉