It’s Lonely at the Top

I’m getting a taste, these past few days, of what that over-used phrase really means: “It’s lonely at the top.” Let me explain.

You may have heard the Big News that I was interviewed on NBC News last week.

(Now of course Big News is all relative – there are people doing things in the world that are much, much Bigger News than a 4-minute spot on an NBC affiliate morning news program. But on the other hand there are other people who have never had News nearly so Big. And in my world – my career – it’s one of the most exciting things that’s happened so far. So with that preamble … )

And like any good marketer, what did I do with this Big News?

I told everybody about it! I posted the pictures on Facebook, I sent emails with a link to the interview to a few groups of friends, colleagues and relatives … in short I told everyone I could think of.

And while I got back plenty of well wishes and pats on the back and sincere congratulations from a bunch of people, I found myself feeling inexplicably sad as the day wore on.

This evening, it hit me why: there’s nobody in my life who’s truly proud of me.

And to put a really fine point on it … My mother is no longer around to share in this Big News, and because of that I guess my News is feeling a bit hollow.

My mother died of brain cancer 12 years ago this June. She was always my #1 biggest supporter, and since she died I’ve never found anybody else who could sing my praises quite the way she could. And I guess tonight I’m feeling kind of sorry for myself about that.

But as sorry for myself as I’m feeling, it’s also got me wondering, “How often does any of us find ourselves with someone in our life who is a true, enthusiastic, unconditional supporter of us?”

I think loneliness is much more common than most of us like to admit. Whether we’re married or not; whether we live in a house full of people or not; whether we’re surrounded by close friends or not … I think many, many people have big pockets of emptiness and loneliness in their life that they’re desperate to conceal. Especially from themselves.

And if it’s true that most of us live with some degree of loneliness most of the time – ie, if loneliness is a condition of the human condition – then is there no “cure” for it?

I’m afraid I don’t have any answers or conclusions for you on this topic, at least not today. I guess I just hope that by sharing my own sadness, it will help ease the sadness of those of you who might be feeling the same.

And for those of you who aren’t suffering from loneliness (at least not today) – perhaps this article will make you pause for a moment of gratitude for all the love and fulfillment you have in your life.

As always I’d love to know what you thought of this article. So leave me a comment!

What did you think?