Going it alone – seriously?

It was the end of the weekend. They dropped me at the bus station, it was about an hours drive back to the city where I was studying, to the dorms I lived in. I waited in the dark at the bus stop. There were just three of us. The young jittery looking guy, just a few years older than me and the middle aged man engrossed in his book. Finally the bus arrived and we set out. It started to rain.  aloneOcean

To this day I remember the feeling as we pulled out of the bus station and on to the highway. A mixture of sadness, fear, anxiety and exhaustion. The feeling that I was SO far from home I could barely recognize myself. But mostly, the feeling of being entirely and completely alone.

Sometimes I get a whiff of that feeling, a sense that’s so vague, yet so familiar. I wake up in the middle of the night disoriented, not remembering where I am, even though I may be at home in bed. Or I have a moment of confusion on a journey and the sensation returns. Or I hit a rough patch in my life, I don’t know where to turn and that feeling shows up again.

It was a feeling I learned to live with. Totally understandable, I had just left home, moved countries, didn’t know anyone. I dulled the sensation with new friends, parties, sometimes alcohol. Slowly but surely, I built a new life. And the feeling faded. Then I build my own family and it almost disappeared.

It started to come back a few years ago. At first, I couldn’t understand why. Then I realized, it was my business. The confusion, the fear, the anxiety, feeling totally alone.

At first I felt shame. It felt like proof that I wasn’t smart enough, or brave enough. It felt like I was betraying myself and just couldn’t trust myself. Then when I began to admit it, I was told that this is the way of entrepreneurship, I should just suck it up. Put on a brave face, pretend it’s not there.

Finally I figured it out. When I feel that sensation come over me, I thought about how I handled it all those years ago. And I’ve created what I need to fix it now.

I made a new family – a family of like-minded, like hearted friends in my business. People who get what I do. People who understand the fear and the anxiety, people who also feel at times alone. And we hang out. I mean we meet by skype, we talk, we share, we laugh and sometimes we cry.

I also stop expecting miracles, that my family or friends will understand and not try to fix it for me. I don’t look for support where I know I won’t find it.

I hire a coach or a mentor when I need it. And I join groups of people facing similar challenges. And I share, honestly, with vulnerability, I dare to tell the true story.

That feeling shows up less often now. And when it does, I take some time for myself. To surround myself with people that love me or people that believe in my vision (not always the same people by the way!) and I take care of me. I sleep more, eat good nourishing food and I take time in nature. That’s all I can do.

And it seems to work.

Do you feel this? What do you do when it gets hard?

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