Coach-Soch: When Founders Feel Lonely


To question is to think. To think is to introspect. To introspect is to seek. To seek is to be aware. Being aware is when the journey begins.

“Solitude. The shadow of the founders?

“The more people I am around, the lonelier I feel”

A statement attributed to the functional character – Toby Temple – in A Stranger in the Mirror, a popular 1976 novel written by Sidney Sheldon.

The founders literally have no one to talk to, without being judged.

This, despite being surrounded by family, friends, colleagues and for many founders, the list also includes investors and value chain partners. And in good times, they are pursued by more investors, media and other parties.

Founders are literally at the center of their businesses. They are the center of all attention and the spotlight on everything the company does – good, bad and whatever. Every stakeholder, whether investors or co-founders, wants the founders’ time and attention.

The founders are friendly but not everyone’s friend. They don’t want to befriend co-workers in a very close way, because at some point they may have to move away from them – either to entrench themselves or to build another upper layer above them. above them.

Founders are busy several hours a day. They are surrounded by people and react to events and keep thinking of new ideas. Yet many feel alone. And are alone. Loneliness is depressing and even frightening.

Founders and being busy

Being a founder can be overwhelming. It can sometimes be scary despite its exaggerated glamour. It’s exhilarating sometimes. And depressing in places. It is sometimes mysterious and sometimes even intimidating.

“Are you sure you have what it takes?”

“Can your business scale to the next size and scale?”

“Your chances of success would be higher if you had someone more mature or experienced running the business.”

“Are you sure this idea is scalable? »

“Maybe you should stop.”

“Isn’t it time to bring in the next group of leaders?”

“Is it time for the next fundraiser?”

The usual sarcastic questions and/or remarks that many founders have faced in their entrepreneurial journey.

We forget that the founders are human beings and they also need someone to talk to, without being judged or criticized or criticized all the time.

The harsh reality is that they compete every day with hundreds of people and priorities. The context is constantly changing or evolving and their content must adapt to it.

For founders, talking to someone who has a very deep understanding of their role helps balance their perspectives. It helps them contextualize the overwhelming workload and daunting task as a founder.

Using loneliness as loneliness

“Language created the word ‘loneliness’ to express the pain of being alone. And he created the word ‘loneliness’ to express the glory of being alone. – Paul Tillich, German theologian

Loneliness is when a person’s needs are not met by the quality or quantity of social relationships.

Founders can be happily married. They can have amazing, fulfilling, and deep friendships with people they love and care about. Yet they can be alone in their founding role.

Loneliness is the state of being alone without being alone.

Loneliness is a positive choice, different from loneliness. Loneliness can be filled with introspection, unlearning and learning. It can help to observe and learn, without being taught. It brings self-awareness and can add to their joy and clarity of thought.

just speak

Whether you’re a founder or not, better health can go a long way in helping you deal with stress. You don’t need several months to start this lifestyle. Start small and take it one day at a time.

As with any other problem, talking to someone about it can be very helpful. Even if you have to talk to someone you trust who doesn’t know what you’re going through. Just talk!

Get a support system from family, mentors and coaches. Talk to them, even if you think they don’t understand or can’t help you.

– The author, Srinath Sridharan is a business advisor and independent market commentator. For other articles in the Coach Soch series, click here.


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