In November of 2016, we introduced a new format that we are putting alongside our regular episodes called “Lessons for Hannah.” Hannah is my daughter and one of the main inspirations for the Misfit Entrepreneur. I wanted to have a place where she could go and learn from her daddy and his Misfit friends throughout her life….even after I am gone. If you haven’t listened to the first episode of "Lessons for Hannah," I urge you to as it gives some more background and tells the amazing story of how Hannah came to be in our lives.
"Lessons for Hannah" are short, very useful, and sometimes comical lessons, that I have learned which I want to share with you and give to Hannah to help in your lives. Because I want Hannah to have these for her life, I’m going to speak as though I am talking directly to her. These episodes are a lot of fun and if you think there is a lesson that we should include in these episodes, please don’t hesitate to send it over to us at email@example.com. We’d love to share it.
This week’s Lesson for Hannah
Hannah, Recently, we had a conversation where you shared with me that sometimes at school you find yourself alone. Sometimes friends will go play with other friends or do activities with them and you will not always be invited. And of course, many times you are the one invited and other friends are not.
I could tell it bothered you, as it does most kids, but you were doing your best not to let it show. First, let me say that this is common, not just among kids, but adults as well, so this will happen throughout your life. Sometimes you will be included, sometimes you won’t, and sometimes you will never know why.
This can cause people to question themselves. The little voice inside their head starts asking things like “Why don’t they like me?” or “Did I do something wrong?” or the worst one, “Is there something wrong with me?” People, kids and adults, will tie themselves in knots and agonize over these questions and have extensive internal dialog. They will let it eat at them and cause them to question way more about themselves than they should – when in reality, usually, there is nothing wrong and there is no issue. It’s just people being people.
But, here’s the real lesson and the thing I want you to understand. It’s ok to be alone. In fact, one of the best things we can learn to do is learn to love ourselves and learn how to enjoy being alone. I know it doesn’t seem right that being alone is a good thing, but it is. I’m not talking about all the time, but science and studies have show that periods of solitude are very healthy for us and help us to be stronger people.
For example, as I said above, one of the best things we can do is learn to love ourselves. What does that mean? Well, one of the reasons that people have trouble being alone is the fear of what they will find or have to face about themselves and who they are, when they are left with just themselves. Deep down, they may not like who they are or know there are things they need to deal with and being alone will force them to confront them. Good. Confront them. Hannah, one of the greatest things you will ever do is learn to love yourself for who you are. God does. In fact, he created you in his image. I have always been amazed at how this goes lost on people. When you can look at yourself and say I love me for who I am and I believe in myself and my abilities, it changes everything. You no longer have to get self-worth validated by outside sources. You no longer have to be part of a group or groups for your identity – because you know who you are, and you have a love for who you are. Talk about the greatest gift of personal power – it’s learning to be comfortable with just yourself. The strength is in you, the individual, not the collective.
On top of that, periods of solitude have many other benefits. Solitude has been proven to help us be more productive because there are no outside influences pulling at you and your time. It helps with your creativeness. The best ideas I have come up with are when I am alone, typically on a long run. In fact, it takes about 5 miles of running before my mind calms down and clears away all of the thoughts running through it, so it’s just me, the road, and the soft sound of each step. It is in these moments that I find myself most creative and develop my best ideas. In fact, the idea for this podcast came to me during one of those times.
Spending time alone also helps to give your perspective and better understanding. When you are with a group or a circle of friends, you are more susceptible to group think where everyone goes along with the same idea, premise, etc. But, when you are alone, you can truly think through things, better understand them, develop your own thoughts that you choose, and be true to yourself.
I can go on about other benefits, but I think you understand the lesson I am sharing. The ability to be comfortable being alone is powerful. It is an asset to living a great life.
Hannah, I know how tough it is and how it feels a young age to be “left out” or not included in certain things. But, I want you to see these times for what they are for you. They are a gift. A gift to get know yourself better. A gift to develop your talents. A gift to understand and empathize for others who are not strong enough to be alone. And most importantly, a gift to learn to love yourself.
My hope is that you embrace solitude and the gifts it brings, and make the most of it in your life. Your light will shine even brighter in the world for having done so.
I love you,
Best Quote: It’s OK to be alone and have periods of solitude. In fact, one of the best things we can learn to do is learn to love ourselves and learn how to enjoy being alone.