About Being Lonely: Part 2

Last week, we began a conversation about three causes of loneliness during times of career transition and reinvention.

The first cause, as we talked about last week, is stepping out of the ecosystem of a workplace and how that can change your relationship with your colleagues.  

The second cause of loneliness is a topic that is often hard for us to talk about.

How it feels when no one is looking for you.

I was hiking with a friend over the winter and we were talking about how lonely it can feel to start something new. She was a year into building an organization that leverages the collective power of business to elevate women in the workforce.

At one point in our conversation she turned to me and said, “The hardest part in the beginning is that it feels like no one is looking for you.

What she meant was that before, when she ran a busy company, her inbox and phone were constantly pinging and ringing. But that quieted down after she sold her company. Her new reality was that it was going to take a while to build up her new venture to a point where her inbox and phone were buzzing again.

The silence can be hard. When we reinvent ourselves, we mess with our identity in big and small ways, including our attachment to being someone who is in demand.

Here are three reframes for dealing with “reinvention silence.”

#1 Silence, Beautiful Silence

Figuring out where you are going next requires space for creativity and clarity to flourish. Instead of beating yourself up because “no one is looking for me”, use the silence to reconnect with yourself and what you want.

Chances are your brain has already been pinged and ringed enough for a lifetime. Give yourself a break. Journal. Work in the garden. Go for walks. Play with your kids/grandkids furbabies.

Sitting in front of your computer hitting refresh on your inbox is not going to help you build a solid foundation for your next act and it’s not going to make it happen any faster.

#2 The Get to Know You Call

Did you know that you can reach out to people and tell them that you find them interesting and you would like to get to know them a little better? I KNOW! How crazy is THAT?

Seriously, one of the ways to fill the silence is by setting up quick get to know you calls. You’ll have appointments on your calendar AND you’ll connect with people who might help you find a job or clients.

It’s easier to ask people for get to know you calls if you have something in common, like belonging to the same networking group. But, you can also find interesting people on LinkedIn and say, “Hey, you look interesting. I’m reinventing my career and would love to learn more about your journey. Do you have time for a quick phone call?”

#3 Your Reinvention Project

When I left my career to start my own business, the silence was deafening. So, I started a story series called Ordinary, Extraordinary Changemakers. I interviewed interesting changemakers and published their stories on social media. It was fun and raised my brand awareness. I even got my first guest blogger position out of it. Three years later, the stories still get hits on my website even though I haven’t promoted them in almost two years.

Start a podcast, interview people for a potential book or create a weekly Facebook Live series. You never know what it might turn into. If you get tired of it or when you get too busy to continue the project, you can phase it out.

Next week, we are going to talk about what to do when your loved ones don’t seem interested in your reinvention.

Amanda Baldwin