They say that it’s cold and lonely at the top, and I can say that it’s not too far from the truth. While I am not at the top, and not sure I want to be, I’ve discovered that as I was striving to achieve my goals in maintaining a profitable and sustainable business, many things I thought was foundation to my core, had changed. These elements ranged from habits, to social environments and overall perception. I can honestly say there was a sort of paradigm shift in my life.
You read here and there that you don’t have to change who you are, but that’s misguiding; essentially you do. And when you do, your mind shifts. Along with those shifts, the very people whom you previously associated yourself with, will change too. Now, this is an opinion-based article, and I am not saying that I don’t value my childhood friendships. But remember, the friendships you make later on in life holds a stable testament to who you have become. Read that again.
In my personal journey, I noticed that I transitioned from proudly living as a social butterfly to being by myself most times. No, I am not a hermit. The only people I converse and spend my time with are family, business- related folks, and those who contribute mutual ideas. These folks are value-adds to my life both professionally and personally.
It’s a tad embarrassing to say, but there was a time when I was in full FOMO (fear-of-missing-out) mode. I had to be at every social function, dancing at every party, and posing in every picture. I’m openly admitting that I’ve thrown lightweight tantrums if my significant other wanted to “spend quality” time versus throwing Hennessy shots down our throats until we were belligerent
Since embarking on this journey of running my own business, I’ve missed out on birthdays and some family functions. I’ve missed a couple of winter and spring recitals and sadly, this list will grow. These are the sacrifices I have made because my goals are just too audacious.
Aspiring event planners and new business owners have asked me the million-dollar question, “Is it worth it Cali?” And I really can’t tell you your why’s, only you can determine those factors. But I can share with you the steps in determining if this path is for you. And if it is, how do you navigate through this demanding life and not end up dying in some dreadful hospital bed, cold and lonely? What’s the point of gaining all the material riches, if the experiences and connections with those you love are lost? Here are a few things to ask yourself:
TIP #1 Determine if you have had enough experiences?
I’ve realized that I spent at least 15 years partying and being part of big groups, never missing a birthday and being the first one there and last one standing. I’ve danced every dance and acted a fool more than my fingers and toes can count. I’ve racked up so many amazing memories growing up and partying my days away. Would I really be missing out from here on out? Once you determine this, you won’t have an ounce of FOMO and you can fully focus on achieving your goals without guilt.
TIP #2 Do you have a strong support system?
All of those who have taken my training course will attest to this question. It is the first question I ask every person, “How strong is your support system?” This is fundamental. Why, you ask? Because if your partner, family or friends do not understand your goal or purpose, it can be mentally and financially detrimental. Kiss your dreams goodbye– especially if you share financial responsibilities with those closest to you. You must lay out the risks, the burdens and the obstacles that lie ahead. Embarking on the journey of running your business, whether single or as a parent is already stressful, and not having a supportive partner will make things much worse. It may even dissolve your dreams. Now on the opposite end to that, having a strong support system, you can rely on them to help remind you to believe in yourself when at times, you have trouble believing in yourself.
TIP #3 Schedule calendar blocks ( weekend blocks) the beginning of the year.
I make a point to schedule in calendar blocks and work with my assistant to ensure I get some time off. During these times, I spend it with those I love. Holidays are important to me, and I try my best not to work through them. Most of my weekends are taken for my event gigs, and so I try to schedule monthly weekday lunches with individuals that are near and dear to me. Business dinners and meetings DO NOT COUNT. I am referring to the “catch-up sessions” with your friends or someone you still want in your life. This helps ensure that you don’t lose your connections with those you care about. It doesn’t have to be monthly, but it HAS to happen.
TIP #4 Find your outlet.
Music and writing are forms of therapy for me. It’s what people call an “outlet”. Art is my outlet. My best friend is my outlet. Whatever it is, find it because you WILL NEED IT TO SURVIVE. This has nothing to do with venting or unloading negative vibrations, but all to do with balancing. You will find that most times you’re a sponge soaking up all the burdens and negative energy from doubt, fear or from hitting obstacles. There is a high chance, negative people are leaking toxins into your world. Having an outlet helps balance your mental state. A healthy mental state means you will make healthy decisions. Healthy decisions= Happy people!
Some people may think that I’m doing it all wrong. Some have the financial backing to take a different path, which is great. But I am different. My hardships run deeper than what most usually see on the surface and so I have to make hardline decisions on how I run my life and my business.
I’ve determined my why’s and I know that I’m not just investing in a business, I’m striving to create a legacy. What I want to do requires sacrifice and which means I’m lonely most times.
And so, on the totem pole of priority, the social gatherings was the first to go. There’s only 24 hours in a day of which I spend 6 hours sleeping (I know, I know, I need 8 right?) Whatever was left, was split between the things I noted earlier on this post.
So far, the method I’ve taken has worked. In the 4 years since I implemented this lifestyle change, I’ve taken my business to levels I never thought I could. While I missed many functions and fell into a “small” depression thinking I lost friends, those who truly cared about me, stuck around. Those who rooted for me, continued to reached out. Time is a funny thing, isn’t it? It cannot be promised, but it can be shared. You must choose wisely as to whom to share this gift with.
So yes, the road to entrepreneurship can be lonely. But really, only you are responsible in making sure it doesn’t have to be. I hope you found this helpful!
Stay tuned for my next posting about what to look for in lifelong business partnerships and friendships. Cheers ya’ll!