They say that a problem shared is a problem halved but what do you do when there’s no one to share with?
My partner works for a very successful coffee chain and it’s not unusual to go to the pub and be in the company of other managers from said chain. Naturally conversation turns to work, problems they’ve encountered and generally having a moan. (A good moan is very therapeutic after all.) Recently I’ve been getting a bit jealous that I can’t do the same.
I touched on this briefly last week in reference to Jenny Hyde’s blog post about the loneliness of running your own business; You spend hours every day on your own, dealing with your own problems, giving yourself much needed pats on the back. When things go wrong you have to be the one to react, bring yourself back up and get it sorted. When things go right you have to settle for a high five from yourself. (Which I’m pretty sure is just a meagre single clap in the outside world.) The thing is you can tell other people about your day and ask for advice but they just don’t get it. That’s not to say they’re not interested but unless they’re in the same boat you can’t expect them to know exactly what you’re experiencing.
Which brings me to what I’ve been up to this week. On Wednesday I was lucky enough to be part of #teawithbreadandjam. The lovely Catherine and Jamie from Bread and Jam organised a gathering of Not On The High Street partners in their idyllic Alston-based studio.
It was an intimate gathering of partners most of whom I have chatted to online for a while but had never met in person. I really can’t put into words how important social media is to keeping me level headed and how much I value these online connections. Without Facebook and Twitter I would feel completely isolated as a small business owner- they’ve allowed me to connect to people I would have no other means of talking to. People that are in my boat and are only a few keyboard taps away if I need help or reassurance. Without social media I am an unintentional recluse but with them I am part of a community.
Nothing beats speaking in person though. #teawithbreadandjam was my version of the pub coffee chat and it was well worth the wait! We swapped stories, gained valuable insight, reassured each other and had a damn good moan. I came away feeling motivated and optimistic with a few new tricks up my sleeve.
It’s really put everything into perspective for me and now I realise how important it is to get out there and meet other real life humans (!). I don’t think I realised how much I needed that interaction to happen. I guess you cope with what you have and your body tricks you into thinking you can do without something as a defence mechanism if it thinks there’s no chance of it.
How do you stop yourself from feeling isolated? What’s your version of the “pub chat”?
Ps a huge thank you again to Bread and Jam for all the time and effort they put into organising their event. You are real super stars.
Bread and Jam - Homeware and gift basics with a sweet topping
Jenny Hyde - business mentor extraordinaire
#teawithbreadandjam see what the hype is about for yourself