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Hackernoon logoIt's Lonely At The Summit: Leaders Need Help Too by@commlead

It's Lonely At The Summit: Leaders Need Help Too

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@commleadMike Schubert

Communications + Strategy + Governance

You’re at the top of the world; you can’t be hurting… depressed… lonely. Can you? What have you to be down about? You make a lot of money, have power and influence, don’t have to worry about bills. You can have everything you have ever wanted.

And yet, more and more leaders are experiencing loneliness, depression, and anxiety

How could you be lonely?

You have a massive responsibility on your shoulders to serve your employees, shareholders, board, customers. It seems like people just want to talk with you to get something out of you. Your mistakes seem to be amplified by 100, and for media popular leaders, it seems like your mistakes are amplified by 1000.

It feels like you have to be perfect; it feels like you have to be a superhero, doesn’t it?

In my time working with executives and other leaders plus in my experiences in leadership roles, I have found 3 things that help me:

1. Find one or two friends to talk with

One or two real friends, preferably other executives that share your experiences, make all the difference; simply because they are there for you and want nothing from you but to be with you.

Schedule at least a monthly meeting with them where you talk about life and work. Have deep conversations about your feelings, your daily experiences, your frustrations, and hopes.

Build a deep bond with them. They one of your greatest assets to make sure you feel a sense of belonging, purpose, and togetherness.

2. Take care of yourself

You most likely have a fantastic vacation package at work. The thing is, many leaders don’t take time off for themselves.

You have to take care of yourself, but what does this mean? Take your vacation, do not look at anything related to work. Be present with yourself, your family, and your vacation activities. Schedule time in your day to unwind, exercise, eat a good meal. Get your rest.

If this sounds impossible with your current schedule, delegate meetings and tasks and if you still want to know about what happened, have them send you an email afterwards. You will feel way better in the long run and your subordinates will appreciate the responsibility.

3. Hire a counsellor

You don’t necessarily need a psychiatrist unless you need immediate help, need medication for mental illness, or other medical mental health needs. However, you may need someone objective to talk to. Find someone that has worked with leaders before.

Great counsellors are almost like another friend. They will listen with compassion and empathy, ask probing questions, give you an action plan, help you develop along the way.

They can look like a traditional counsellor, an executive coach, a communications professional, or others.

At the end of the day, a happier you leads to better performance. More importantly, it leads to a more fulfilling life. Take care of yourself, talk to someone, and hopefully, we can all deal with our loneliness effectively.

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