Off the Ledge? Don’t Suffer in Silence
Over the last few years, I occasionally get a call from business owners who need to be talked “off the ledge.” It’s happened a lot this last year, especially with the added stress of COVID.
While the trend of these calls worries me about what it means to our long-term mental health, I’m glad I can play a role in talking stuck owners off of an emotionally damaging ledge. Some calls are a result of frustration with their teams, employees, and even business partners. They are filled with emotion, anger, and sometimes just simple confusion.
They’ve kitchen-sinked these emotions to keep them from employees, spouses, or business partners. There are just some things that owners can’t tell other people, even their spouses. They suffer in silence.
One of my roles is to be that ear for them. But, it’s also to introduce them to people who they need to know. To not be alone. To know that they are not unique and can talk with someone else about the same issues and challenges they face.
Many are actually introverts. They aren’t lonely, but they can feel alone. A client related this while discussing how colleges (and even society) view entrepreneurism: “They make it out to be an all-day, everyday positive experience. It isn’t. And they are lying to students. Being a business owner is hard. Really hard. And some days, it just plain sucks.”
He continues, detailing how it can be isolating, grinding, stressful, infuriating, and stressful because others don’t understand.
The client needed to vent before exhibiting extremely bad and damaging behavior. I talked the client off the ledge; and put into place a plan to prevent it from getting so bad next time. I don’t want them there. Ever.
I don’t like being there, either. So, following my own advice, I have people to call when I start edging toward that ledge.
Do you? Do you have that person(s) to call? Day or night? Weekday or weekend? Noon during lunch? If not, PM me. If I’m not the right person, I’ll help you find someone who is.
Surround yourself with trusted confidante(s) who you can spill your guts to. Become that confidante to others where possible.
Three things you can do today: 1) Find that person – stop being afraid or embarrassed to ask someone to be that person; 2) Be that person to someone else – giving helps you feel better anyway! 3) Find/develop a “team”– a group, a tribe, a roundtable. Start building it now for you and others.