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Success is sometimes lonely

Many moons ago I noticed that I had to constantly decline invitations to Happy Hour or Friday Night Dancing. It wasn’t so much that I noticed it as it was all of my friends, colleagues and family complaining about it. That’s when I realized that my road to success as an entrepreneur would mean I would be alone a lot of the time.

I wanted to be the best at what I did, and that meant spending a lot of time in front of a pc or reading books, especially when I was learning. I had to really focus, so I needed to be in my zone. When I taught myself to program or SEO or anything having to do with the online marketing world, there was a lot of learning, reading, trial and error, and rinse and repeat. There wasn’t as much content online as there is now, but it was, and still is, a lot of fun and work. Although I missed out on a lot of non-learning and non-working fun, I never really “missed” it.

As the years went by, those same friends and colleagues continued on their own paths as I left companies and built my own. Their paths were their own and not any better or worse than mine, but I did start to notice that the folks that busted through the corporate ladder and built something of their own were the ones that worked really hard and were sometimes lonely like me.

It finally dawned on me that those were the people, my people, that I needed to hang out with. So I started to go to more networking and mastermind types of events, and I joined online groups of like-minded individuals who were on the same path. It took away some of the loneliness and motivated me a lot.

Yes, many of my old friends still get together every Friday or Saturday night to hang out, have some beers and de-stress from the work week. Many times they spend the night drinking and complaining about their lives and “the man”. They wake up late on Saturday with a hangover and stumble through the weekend feeling cruddy. The friends who have persevered are the ones who weren’t around as much because they were furthering their education in the evenings or working on a new skill or going to networking functions, etc.

What I have learned from the loneliness is that it’s perfectly fine to be lonely. You can’t be the person who hangs out with your buddies all the time and the person who is laser focused on success at the same time. At least, this is the case for me. Couple that with being a mom, and my bandwidth of free time is limited to my kids.

Basically, I’m OK with being lonely at times if loneliness means I am working towards my goals. I’d love to hear feedback from other entrepreneurs and how they handle the loneliness of success.

37 Responses

  1. Danay: I think you are right. When you decide to live your dreams, you and only you can walk your path. Sometimes there are others who travel a similar path and these dreamers, entrepreneurs can share the road a bit with you. They “get” you and they understand you. But in the end, it is your dream and your journey!

    For me, I see this as stepping up and taking charge of my life. I love my family and my friends–but they don’t want to do what I am doing. I cherish their friendship and I am grateful for their support, but the road is mine to walk.

  2. Thanks for sharing. I used to get lonely all the time until I join a coworking space. Now, I can be around like-minded individuals without feeling lonely. I also join facebook group’s of like-minded individuals as well. I also try to spend time with my family uninterrupted on the weekend as well.

  3. Danay, I couldn’t agree with you more. It seems so lonely sometimes but then I meet wonderful women like yourself and I don’t feel so lonely anymore. But all the focus will payoff at the end. It takes a lot of will power to say NO! but being able to say YES! to my babies is totally worth it.

  4. I love this post! As entrepreneurs we realize that most people aren’t willing to do what it takes to live their dreams. They have no concept it that and it’s okay. You are committed to it and you know which road will take you there! It can be a lonely journey, but worth every bit of it!

  5. Great read! I loved it because it made me stop and think about it. I find it’s a balancing act between personal/business growth and time with friends and family. My personality needs both. I’ve found that my inner moderator tells me when it’s time to focus on one or the other.

  6. Love it! This concept always crosses my mind but I think it’s more important to work on something you’re passionate about, meet like-minded individuals than sacrifice your Friday and Saturday nights drinking and what not, only to then spend your entire weekend recovering.

  7. Well said. It can be lonely sometimes, and other times just frustrating when others don’t understand. I love my online blogging communities and some friendships I’m beginning to make already. My mom doesn’t understand though, she says I’m locked away twelve hours a day lol. However, she is supportive for the most part, so that’s good. Our whole lives have shifted and transformed, which means surrounding ourselves with people who have similar goals and ambitions.

    1. As a mom I can tell you that I would be concerned if my child was locked away doing something like playing video games all day. But when you are hustling and working towards a goal, you are being productive and useful. May I suggest pointing her towards this post? It may change her outlook a little. Keep grinding Bonnie!

  8. I couldn’tagree more. Atfirst, the lonelinesswas bothering me, until Irealized that I was in a different path than most folk, and the only people who seem to fit in any path I take are my 3 sisters – they are my best friends. I’ve met a lot of wonderful people online too.

  9. It’s so easy to be lonely when you are pursuing your dreams. I think it is helpful to have one to three close friends who have the same passions that you do. Encourage each other to get motivated and do what is important to you.

  10. Totally understand what you’ve gone through because I’ve gone through the same. Being so busy trying to learn and get better at what I do. I am also fine feeling lonely at times because it has helped me build an awesome business 🙂

  11. This is true in some aspects. The good thing about working towards your dreams is you get to meet ppl along the way who have the same mindset as you. These people will support you, be with you in the journey, and celebrate your success.

  12. I don’t find it to be quite as lonely as you seem to – probably because I am very introverted so I need my quiet working time in order to be fullfilled. I joke often that while other people might “rather be fishing,” I truly would “rather be writing.”

  13. Success can easily be lonely – but it doesn’t have to be. It just takes stretching out of your comfort zone and being more aware of how you can reach out to others and work together. Develop collaborations. Simple Gatherings etc…

  14. I agree that success can sometimes be lonely. I had success early on while all of my friends were still figuring things out. I ended up not staying in touch with any of them just because we grew apart.

  15. I think that’s what a lot of people encounter when they’re focused on reaching their goals or when they’re focused on success. We sometimes forget to have fun as well and to relax a little so as not to feel like we’re all alone on our way to reaching our dreams.

  16. It really is lonely being your own boss and starting out. Add I moved to a new town and hour to two hours away from everyone I know. I am a stay at home mom and blogger so a chance to meet people is slim to nonexistant. I hang out with my mom a lot as I take her to all her doctors appointments. If it wasn’t for that I would just sit home with my one year old.

  17. Wow, this hit me hard! What a great post! I really needed to hear these words. I have been feeling the lonely a lot lately. Either I do what I love and feel lonely or I spend time with friends and feel no purpose. It’s so hard to find balance, but important to find boundaries instead.

  18. i think we really have those days that you woke up and u feel grumpy or lonely or bored the whole day. I listen to really loud happy music, i go to gym or swim or go to shopping mall and walk around. sometimes, i put makeup on and dress nicely, bring my laptop to a coffee shop and just work there, i think being lonely sometimes, but successful is ok.

  19. This is a great post and it really is true that if you want to be successful you have to be focused. You can’t light the candle at both ends if you are trying to fulfil your goals but you do need down time sometimes to let lite the other end. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  20. This reminds of the movie Inside Out where Sadness tried to run away for Miley to get better. Unbeknownst to everyone, Sadness is the key and turns out that it is okay to feel sad sometimes to make us realize the things we should be thankful for.

  21. Thank you for sharing your story. It can sometimes be lonely at times when noone else is where you are. You just have to put being sad to good use! This gives you a chance to work harder!

  22. I just want to say that I love your blog since I found it by chance. I always find interesting content here where I learn something new and inspiring. Thank you very much for that! Greetings from Canada

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