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Leading Can Be Lonely

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By Becky Robinson  |  May 01, 2015

I’ve joked that the only people in my life (outside my family) that I spend significant time with fall into two categories:

  1. People I give money to.
  2. People who are giving money to me.

Although it’s a bit of an exaggeration, it’s not too far off. Leading a growing company takes an extreme amount of time and energy. I want to give as much time to my family as I can — and not just leftovers.

It helps that I love the people I work with: two of the people who work in my office every day started as friends before they became colleagues. We often hang out after-hours and enjoy being together. I truly enjoy most everyone I work with and relish opportunities to connect on topics outside of our work together.

I met a local friend who has encouraged me to network with others; he even made a few great introductions to people I should know. I scheduled a lunch with one of them and later cancelled, not because I wasn’t interested in a few hours out of the office and a new connection, but because I needed to attend to urgent client issues that day.

So, here I am: with most of the people in my life also being ones with whom I have a financial arrangement.

The difficulty of most relationships being with clients or colleagues is that sometimes I lack a sounding board during difficult times. I can’t share team frustrations with my clients, nor should I share concerns about one team member with another — even if they are my friends also. As the leader, I need to project optimism and confidence. While I value authenticity and vulnerability and share some challenges with my team, I can’t share everything.

Even a coach, again: someone I pay.

Leading can be lonely.

How do you make time for relationships outside of your work? Do you agree that leading is lonely?

About Becky Robinson

I am an entrepreneur who is energized by creating opportunities for others. When I’m not working, I enjoy spending time with my family, cooking, running, and reading  »  Learn More

What People Are Saying

Most of my friends in the Bay Area are from BK, so I get a little bit of what you mean. It’s good to have people outside of work to talk to! I think that’s why sitcoms about friend groups are so popular. Lots of people don’t have that in their lives, so they want to watch it on TV.

Are you a fan of Mad Men, Charlotte? It’s not really a friend group show, but it does show the strength of relationships in the workplace. Dysfunctional, but still rich.

I wonder if I just need to accept that my social needs are being met through my work… :-)

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