Do you ever feel lonely?
Do you ever feel like no one understands you?
Do you ever long for connection?
Do you know what?
I would venture a guess that almost every women leader I asked those questions to, would answer just the same way as you just did. YES!
Here is what you can do about it -->
I have felt this way sooooo often!
I have multiple journal entries that indicate all through my years as a leader, and even now, I can say yes often to these questions. I've felt lonely, not understood and ached for a hug so often I couldn't even begin to count the times. It feels very isolating and even scary at times.
You'd be surprised to know how many other women feel this way too!
If you look around your office, across the boardroom table today or through your list of names in your inbox, you'd be surprised how many of the women you come across would answer the same way. Even women that you think have it all together, seem so connected and confident.
But we keep it a secret
Here's the thing. Most of them would not admit they are lonely. Not in the vulnerable way you and I are talking about right now. Most would brush it off, hide it or downplay it.
Secrets lead to shame
We know that when you keep something hidden, it leads to suffering and shame. We feel wrong about how we feel. We feel guilty. We are reminded we are supposed to be grateful. So we assume that we should shake it off and move on and certainly not tell anyone or admit how bad it is.
Instead, awaken your self-compassion
If what I said is true earlier, that you are not the only woman leader feeling isolated and alone, then it might also be true that it is a very real part of being a woman leader that we will experience the feeling of loneliness. It would also be true then, that we aren't weird, wrong, bad or selfish for desiring connection.
This recognition that we aren't alone is one of the 3 components of self-compassion. Expert Kristen Nef describes as "Common Humanity vs Isolation." She describes it as:
Next steps for you
With this new understanding, we can let go of the shame of reaching out.
If you want to know how much self-compassion you have, take Kristen Nef's self-compassion test here.
One other little reminder...
it's hard to be compassionate to others ...
a strength of great leaders...if you don't exercise self-compassion!
Let's see if I am right
Email me and let me know if you've ever felt lonely, isolated or crave connection. Tell me a story about it if you'd like! I'd love to know what it felt like for you and what you did about it, whether that was reaching out, or hiding it.
I'm going to keep track of how many responses I get and report back in the Confident Women Leaders Community. By the way, that's a great place to share stories, challenges and ask for something you need.
Please do this:
If I could recommend one thing for you to do today, it would be this:
Go someplace where no one can see you, wrap your arms around yourself and give yourself the most loving and compassionate hug you can.
You are worth it!
One more thing:
Here is something to think about: When you role-model self-compassion for the younger women in your life, they will learn to practice it much quicker in their leadership journey!
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Women leaders often hit a point where they find themselves in over their heads and wondering if they have what it takes to lead.