Being an entrepreneur is lonely
By Kimberly Corbitt, CEO of Xpress, a pharmaceutical information and resource solution for doctors. Xpress is a TMCx accelerator alum company.
I will admit that this is not the first time I have written about this topic, but it’s one that, (since it’s sort of uncomfortable and not very shiny and sparkly), people don’t really talk about, but I think it’s really important.
Sometimes it feels like you are the only one who cares about what you’re doing, mostly because nobody cares as much as you do, except maybe your mom.
Being a founder and CEO can lead to weird egotistical ‘poor me’ thinking. That’s a stupid space to spend any time, but I don’t think it’s an unusual place. Throughout the time I have been working on Xpress, I have found myself there a few times, and it’s no good. It’s rabbit hole of isolation and resentment.
Because it’s counterproductive to sit and wallow, if I start to feel this way, I search for ways to pull myself out of the aforementioned rut. One of the most successful ways to knock yourself out of that space is to say thank you, a lot.
The process of figuring out who you need to thank, and what you need to thank them for, forces you refocus on what you have, instead of what you lack. I know it seems a little contrived, but it really grows stronger and more useful the more you do it.
Most recently, when I got out of my “poor me,” solitary CEO space, I did so by sitting down at my dining room table at writing cards with an actual pen and paper! I thanked an administrative assistant at MD Anderson who I always look forward to seeing and enjoy talking with. I thanked a VP of Pharmacy who loves my business, I thanked some people who gave me and Xpress another shot when they thought it wasn’t right for their institution, I thanked my children’s principal who led their school to top rankings. Then I addressed and stamped the envelopes and drove straight the post office to mail them.
I left the post office and thought more about all the people I appreciate. The scores of individuals who believe in my business, who have faith in me, who have my back — including my mother.
Then, to stay out of that sad little space; carry on seeing opportunities to thank people for being on your team.
“…I search for ways to pull myself out of the aforementioned rut. One of the most successful ways to knock yourself out of that space is to say thank you, a lot.”
Another way to feel less alone is to check in with your team. In this startup phase, a lot of us are not in an office setting with a daily staff, but sending a text or email is usually enough to get a response (emojis are brilliant) from those who I know support me all day long in spirit. It’s just easy to forget that they have my back when I rarely see them.
Lastly, it’s important to move around. Endorphins are real, and they can make many blue feelings go away pretty quickly. It’s also refreshing to clear your mind and focus on something physical without a million distractions pulling you in other directions.
Occasionally, my business “a-ha” moments occur during these times, while sometimes, I don’t think about work at all. I am partial to jogging and yoga, and those these can each be done by themselves, it feels good to be in class with others aiming toward a mutual goal, or give a thumbs up to fellow runners on the trails.
I am not alone, none of us are.