These days I am a proud and happy soloist, but soloism had its struggles in the early days – particularly with guilt and loneliness. This is my journey.
Corporate cages and comforts
When I first started as a soloist I hadn’t paid attention to how I’d feel about the ‘solo’ part of the word. Sure, I needed help from people and I would always work with them, but not physically alongside them.
This was a MASSIVE change from the corporate steel cage I’d been housed in, with all the benefits of a tribe just at arm’s length. Even if I didn’t like some of my colleagues, I always had company.
As a soloist, I was isolated in the house allllll day because I’d feel guilt-ridden if I wasn’t in front of my computer. I felt as if I needed to sit in a cubicle in order to feel like I was achieving any real work. And there were difficulties with compartmentalising my vocation from my home life too.
Guilt and loneliness became a beloved enemy
If I attempted to sneak away for exercise or a meet up with a fellow business owner, guilt tapped me on the shoulder and said, “Excuse me, aren’t you supposed to be working?”
The conditioning of an 8:00am to 8:00pm job was not going to leave me fast.
I experienced newfound loneliness
Those times when I felt acutely lonely, I wished I was back in my corporate gig. I didn’t necessarily love the people there, but they were people – company. And along with the company came the safety and comfort of a role with clear parameters (as much I loathed them).
Everything changed when I changed my thinking
Since those early days I cottoned on to a few things. It was never about being caged by a building, it was always about being caged by my mindset.
It didn’t matter where I was or what I did, I was always going to feel guilt and loneliness. And I discovered my lack of structure and loneliness was a result of removing the corporate veils.
It wasn’t the environment. It was me. Being a soloist just made it unbearably obvious. But I am ever so grateful because shining the spotlight on it ensured I had to deal with it. It ensured I had to deal with it ALL.
And deal with it I did.
I’m no longer safe in the arms of my corporate day job. But I am safe in the arms of myself. Becoming a soloist, which is something I’d never experienced before, made me acutely aware of what I needed to look at within myself.
Nowadays I’m very clear about: the amount of work I need to do in order to feel less guilty, how my days need to be structured, and who I am when I’m alone (and not lonely).
That leap has certainly been worth it.
If you experience guilt or loneliness, how do you deal with it?