Does it Have to be Lonely at the Top?
After sitting me down for a serious heart to heart about a promotion, a former mentor who entered my life as quickly as he exited quoted the cliché phrase to me:
"It's lonely at the top."
At the time, I had just finished reading a book that declared clichés held powerful truths not to be ignored. They were - after all - clichés for a reason!
So, when I heard the cliché leave the mouth of my “lonely mentor” my mind did a few flips.
What was the meaning?
After all, he had just recommended I move up the chain of command!
While maintaining my expert poker face – a skill developed to survive the emotional extremes as a nurse in the Intensive Care Unit - I thought to myself:
Was it really lonely at the top?
Was he lonely?
Did he consider himself to be at the top?
Was he warning me against trying to get to the top?
Was he threatened by me?
How genuine was his advice?
Was I supposed to thank him for his words of wisdom?
I stared blankly across the room at my mentor who didn’t elaborate, but repeated himself to really drive home the point.
Success: Abandon hope all ye who enter here.
What is a person with ambitious aspirations, but no desire to be lonely and unhappy to do?
While I am an introvert, I am by no means antisocial and have no desire to have a career that will lead me to feel lonely.
Does it have to be true that it’s lonely at the top?
I would argue that if you’re at the top and you’re lonely. You’ve done it wrong!
No one gets to the top without help of friends, family and fans lifting them up!
Not all friends and family are meant to follow you on your journey to the top, but those who are lost along the way open up space for those meant to be beside you.
Happily, sacrifice the false friends and gossiping acquaintances who don’t realize they are keeping you from reaching your full potential. Do not think that because you give up some people along the way that you need to be alone.
Listen to your intuition about who to align yourself with, but do not seek success alone unless your goal is to be lonely. Seek and create new genuine connections with people and groups and mentors who pull you up and push you to succeed.
By questioning the wisdom of my “lonely mentor” he inadvertently taught me the opposite can also be true.
Other mentors have since filled the space he once held and I continue my career growth undeterred.
Pursue success unfazed by those who seek to stifle you with threats disguised as genuine advice.
Examine what success means to you.
Find your tribe, your mentors, your supporters, your gurus and your fans.
It doesn’t have to be lonely on your way to the top. If you are propelled forward by others, you will not be lonely once you reach your destination.
Don't set yourself up to become like my "lonely mentor" - subscribe to my newsletter and set up a one-on-one call to see how I can help you on your journey to the top!