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  • Lauren Douglass

Are You Lonely in Leadership?

Being lonely in leadership isn't because you are without friends; it's because there is no one coming to your rescue and you know it. The responsibility lies on your shoulders. There's no plan B because you are the plan B. You have to make quick decisions but balance an impulsive nature with temperance.

No one prepares you for the marathon of leadership.


Does this sound familiar? I call these compression days…


Start the day. Standing in the kitchen. 2nd cup of coffee in hand. Eyes closed. Feeling the weight of the day compressing your head and shoulders. The crippling fear of disappointing others motivates you to open your eyes and step forward.

You feel the decision fatigue kicking in.

Pump yourself up for the first meeting and search for the smile you hope no one notices is exhausted.

Meeting 1: Executive struggling with team.

Meeting 2: Vendor sharing good news.

Meeting 3: Employee resigning.

Meeting 4: Problem-solving and planning. You begin to wonder if feeling like an emotional rollercoaster is a necessary leadership strategy.


Lunchtime now. Grab something quick or prepared if you’re lucky enough to go a gym, which on most days you don't have time for anyway. You glance up at the artwork on the wall of a deserted island somewhere in the pacific. Is it time to run there yet? Would anyone notice? You're careful now what you say yes to, not because you don't want to do it, but because you understand the longevity of time.


Home now. You stop with your hand on the door and remind yourself to put on that smile again, because these are the people you love most in the world and they deserve the best of you. Hugs. Checkin on the day. What should we eat for dinner? Can I sneak in a few emails without burning the food? Screw it. Let's get takeout again. I won't tell my trainer, which I only have because my spouse thinks I am too stressed.


Bedtime. I might sleep for a few hours and then tackle that list when the house is quiet. My spouse needs my time too. How much time to keep a person from asking for more time? We need to book that trip. It feels like a task not a vacation. I know what insecurity feels like and there’s no way I am going back, but I’m burnt out. I need to sleep. Oh, wait. I forgot about that school play I promised to attend and my mom needs me to pick up that thing for her.


"Why can't I get ahead?"


As a startup, the energy of wanting to prove yourself is there, but after years of the wrong hires who’ve betrayed you, high bills and mistakes, these compression days take their toll.


If you recognize yourself in this story, let me know.


Success is more than pretending everything is ok. It's the exact opposite when told to the right person.


There are very specific shifts to make but I’ll warn you; they aren’t easy.


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