Battles an Entrepreneur Will face #2: Loneliness

Hebrews 4:15

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses but we have one who has been tempted in every way just as we are yet he did not sin.

One of the most common battles all entrepreneurs face is the battle with loneliness; the truth and the lie that you are alone.

It is true in the sense that being special, by default, results in loneliness, the sense of being different from and not understood by the “common folk”. Entrepreneurs are visionaries; we see and pursue things that other people cannot yet see. We are disrupters of the market and status quo; we find ways to do common things differently. And as a result, we struggle daily with the thought that, “Nobody understands me.” It is true, nobody gets us. We are a special breed.  

One of the toughest but most important tasks of an entrepreneur – a pioneer – is to make people want what he wants them to want. Often, this is something they have never seen before, and it will take time for them to see why they want it. And until they do, people will not understand you. They will not get why you do what you do. Even friends and family will not be able to fully grasp why you choose this tough, tough life, facing trials day in and day out.

 “What really is the hardest thing about being an entrepreneur?”, I remember asking my professor at Cambridge who has started more than 12 businesses in his lifetime.

Oh, life”, he replied. “It’s not the spreadsheets, the business plans, or the client meetings. It’s the fact that, while you are pouring yourself into this brilliant new business that’s going to change the world,  you also need to buy your own printing paper when you run out, solve your own computer problems, cook, wash the dishes, take out the trash,  … the mundane stuff that eat away at your time and energy because, at first, you are all alone and there is no one to do them for you.

Being an entrepreneur, there will be countless times when you think, “Man, I hang with my friends who are employed, who have a job, and we have dinner and we socialize but nobody really understands me. I am so alone!” You dread the normal, harmless questions such as “So, what do you do?”, “What have you been up to lately?”, or even “Hey, what’s up?”

However, there is one more person in history who was starting a venture of historic, monumental proportions who nobody really understood. His name was Jesus. Did His disciples understand Him? No. Not until after He was gone. Time and time again, He had to wake them up. In the garden of Gethsemane for example, He had to wake them up. Or right after the supernatural spectacle of His transfiguration, His disciples responded by asking if He would like them to pitch Him a tent. They just didn’t get it. That was the life Jesus lived. Jesus is the quintessential cosmic entrepreneur. He started something nobody ever knew. He needed to make people want what he wanted them to want.

So, it is true. You are alone. That is why you are called an entrepreneur. That is why your business is hopefully going to succeed; it has an edge because you are the first. And part of the game is that you are usually alone.

But it is also a lie, if you are a Christian and an entrepreneur. This is because as He says in Hebrews 4:15,

“we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses.”

He, Jesus, has been there too; He has been more alone than we can ever imagine. And yet He persevered, and He succeeded. That is why we have today the biggest, oldest “organization” ever built. Christianity.

So, when you are fighting with loneliness – and it WILL happen – remember who your true Friend is. Remember that one Person who truly understands what you are going through. Talk to Him, befriend Him, and let Him comfort you.

Originally published at our sister organization, www.africanbusiness.institute

Jun Shiomitsu

Founder & President at AVODA Group

Founder & President of AVODA Group. Prior to this, Jun was a banker for 13 years in Japan, the UK, and Switzerland, initially as the Assistant Vice President of the Treasury Department of Citibank Japan.

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