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5 Ways To Overcome Entrepreneur Isolation

5 Ways To Overcome Entrepreneur Isolation

You’ve left your corporate life behind to pursue your passion. This new life of an entrepreneur is exciting and fulfilling, but it can also get lonely quickly. You find yourself less aligned with old friends and colleagues. Your life has changed drastically while theirs stayed the same. There are less people to commiserate with and you feel a slow isolation coming on as months go by.

Feeling isolated can eventually impact your mental well-being and productivity. It might even make you feel depressed and negative.

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So, break out of it when you see the signs. We’re social creatures and we crave connection. A few small changes can help you connect, recharge, and get your mojo back in no time.

Acknowledge your accomplishments

You didn’t get here looking for the easy way out. You’re here because you had the strength and the resilience to break away from the norm and pursue your true passion. You still have that strength. Take a moment every so often (maybe even once a day) to go through your accomplishments from the day you decided to become an entrepreneur. Remember the small challenges you overcame and how you did it. You’ll start to realize the strength and confidence grow within you again. You’ll mentally reinforce your mission and feel aligned to it.

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Join a group to make new connections

Sometimes, loneliness has little to do with the number of friends in your social circle and more about the type of connection that you’re missing. So, make new connections. Join an entrepreneur group in your neighborhood. There are many organized groups or events for entrepreneurs, like Meetup.com, for example. You can join a group, attend an event, and meet others in your area. The great thing about this is that you’re likely to meet people that can relate to your new challenges and lifestyle. You might even make a few new friends to commiserate with and go out for coffee or drinks. As you form new connections, you’ll realize you’re not alone.

Trade in some online time for the real deal

Sure, we’re all connected to friends through social channels like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, etc. While it can be addicting, it can also be isolating because you’re missing out on tangible interactions, like hearing someone’s voice or watching them laugh. Why not cut back a bit on the online socializing and interact with people the old fashioned way? Take the time to meet in person. Setup a coffee or phone date with a friend. Go out for dinner or a movie. You’d be surprised how quickly you’ll feel less alone and more open.

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Learn a new skill for exercise

Exercise makes your body release endorphins (feel good hormones). However, if the thought of spending hours at the gym alone and watching time tick by makes you squirm, then replace it with fun activities that you can do in a group. Dancing is not just for the stars anymore. Actually, dance classes are available in many locales. Dancing teaches balance, relieves stress, improves flexibility, and can help make a new friend or two. You could also try something new and exciting that you’ve never done before, like archery, rock-climbing surfing or snowboarding. Many activities can be sampled with Groupon type deals so you can dip your toes in to see if you like it before committing. Learning a new skill stimulates your mind, while physical activity recharges your body. You’ll leave feeling refreshed and engaged.

Practice gratitude daily

Being thankful draws positive emotions and creates a positive mindset. Find three things every day that you’re thankful for. They could be events that occurred, your accomplishments, or even your cherished ones (your family, your friends or your pet). Acknowledging this and being grateful every day will train your mind to create a positive mindset. You’ll feel your mental well-being grow day by day. You’ll also realize and appreciate what’s truly important to you.

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Conclusion

Overcoming isolation is a step-by-step process. It does not happen overnight. So, take baby steps. If something does not work out, don’t dwell or shy away from trying something else. The goal is to find your sweet spot – where you feel connected, engaged, and supported.

Featured photo credit: JOHN MARK ARNOLD via magdeleine.co

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Last Updated on August 4, 2020

The Gentle Art of Saying No For a Less Stressful Life

The Gentle Art of Saying No For a Less Stressful Life

No!

It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here’s how to master the Gentle Art of Saying No:

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1. Value Your Time

Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”

2. Know Your Priorities

Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time?

For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.

3. Practice Saying No

Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.

4. Don’t Apologize

A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.

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5. Stop Being Nice

Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets.

Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.

6. Say No to Your Boss

Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no,” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning.

But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.

7. Pre-Empting

It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting,

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“Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”

8. Get Back to You

Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them:

“After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.”

At least you gave it some consideration.

9. Maybe Later

If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say,

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“This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].”

Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.

10. It’s Not You, It’s Me

This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often, the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time.

Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

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Featured photo credit: Kyle Glenn via unsplash.com

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