When you run a business, the buck might stop with you, but that doesn't mean you have to navigate leadership alone.
The 'lonely leader' phenomenon may occur when you're in a position where you need to make the big decisions on your own.
Being lonely in business is not uncommon – but if you are feeling that way, it suggests that you're isolating yourself and that's something you might need to address.
Like any business challenge, once you recognise this as an issue you can put together a plan to address it.
Looking after your mental health can be just as important as looking after your physical health.
In my experience, loneliness in business is common with business leaders, particularly in the start-up phase. It seems to occur less often in people who are prepared to be a bit more vulnerable in a business context, to ask questions and be more open-minded, and not feel that they need to have all the answers.
Finding your people
There are a number of strategies that might help you achieve this.
A good place to start might be to find new perspectives on your business. This might include looking at other businesses in your sector that are successful and meeting with them. You might also talk to your customers and ask them what they like about what you are doing, what they've done with your products or services, and where they think you could improve.
Following those first steps, you might look at connecting with industry groups, business groups and support groups – for example: Chambers of Commerce and Business Groups. There are also industry and professional associations, which may have people facing many of the same challenges you do.
One analogy that might help raise the importance of your own wellbeing above your business is the airline emergency procedure. During an emergency, airlines instruct passengers to put on their own oxygen mask before helping others.
Following this analogy, you would look after your own morale, creativity, physical and mental health first, so you can be a support for the other people in your business and in your life.