If you work as an independent consultant often you will find yourself working alone even though you may have close friends or family members. In fact, depending on the type of consulting work that you do, finding time to be alone may be a must. However aloneness should not be confused with loneliness. For two terms which sounds so similar, there is a world of difference between the two. The difference is as stark as a comparison between running and sleeping.
Loneliness is a state of dependency. When you say that you are lonely, you essentially saying that you have a need for others to entertain you; to comfort you; to support you; or to meet some type of emotional need. On the other hand, aloneness suggests the opposite. It suggests a condition of self-reliance whereas you have made a conscious decision to be alone because your work as an independent consultant requires it or you need to be alone to accomplish some personal objectives. However, experiencing either aloneness or loneliness is a matter of choice. To be clear, aloneness is the mark of emotional maturity, whereas loneliness is the unmistakable hallmark of the immature.
Aloneness is the source of our greatest strength, but, loneliness is the sign of our greatest weakness. We you choose aloneness, you are saying that by choosing to be alone you want to personally decide on the amount time when you want to enjoy being in the company of others or when you just want to enjoy your own company.
Choose aloneness and discard loneliness if you work as an independent consultant. It is not difficult to find organizations and groups to join if you are single or to plan family activities for fun and enjoyment. Indeed, finding time for fun and enjoyment is a basic human need that we should fulfill. However, it is important that you control that time and not let it interfere with your need for survival and growth and a professional. At least, use the time alone to read at least an hour a day materials that helps you to build on your strengths or to acquire new knowledge or a skill.
And, if that feeling of loneliness starts to creep in, take yourself away from familiar surroundings. Go to a new restaurant. Go to a local fair, festival or concert. Plan that vacation that you have been thinking about. Or, call an acquaintance that you haven’t talked to in a long time. As an independent consultant, you have to train yourself outside of your chosen work to invent activity of your own, to build, to make, to discover, to explore, and to improvise in the world around you. You do not need someone to take you by the hand and lead you.