Your Dog is NOT Your Business Advisor!

For the Anywhere Worker, existential isolation is a daily struggle. What is it? It’s that tension we feel between our need to find (and express) that unique individual inside ourselves and our wish to be connected with (and have something in common with) the world around us. Often, professionals who seek to become Anywhere Workers (those who are not tied to a location, but rather work in home offices, cafes, satellite offices etc.) do so as a way to lesson the existential tension we felt while working in a traditional corporate office. At first, we overcompensate for feeling like ‘just a number’ and become so independent that we feel isolated. Now, we sit in our home offices actually missing those interruptions and office ‘pop-ins’ and end up having business conversations with our dogs! Don’t get me wrong, our dog (Nina) is very supportive and always agrees that my ideas are brilliant! She also helps me to reduce my stress with her magic (it seems to be released when she gets a belly rub!) But connection with her is not going to reduce my need for being connected to something bigger. What I need is more connection with people who are like me – Anywhere Workers looking to connect. Here are a few suggestions to sprinkle into your daily activities and help you find your equilibrium between isolation and connectedness:

Connecting IRL (in real life):

  • Have lunch with another Anywhere Worker once a week / month
  • Join a local chapter of an organization that supports your trade or profession
  • Find a local skill-building workshop or take a night class to support life long learning
  • Start your own coffee / lunch meet-up

Connecting Virtually:

  • Schedule a weekly / monthly call with a colleague or team member
  • Find a LinkedIn group that looks interesting
  • Join an online community or forum
  • Join a twitter conversation such as #ideaparty or #lrnchat

What to look for:

  • The activity is interactive (remember the idea is to get connected to others in the world)
  • The person or people you spend time with increase rather than deplete your energy
  • The group or organization’s values match yours
  • The group respects the individuals’ needs as well as the purpose of the group overall
  • You feel welcome, even as a new member
  • The size of the group is comfortable and allows for interaction from all members
  • You feel a sense of belonging – these are ‘your people’

Each of us has our own unique ‘sweet spot’ on the continuum between isolation and connectedness. We each find ways to connect – and yet stay authentic to our individual selves. Over time our needs change and what worked for us once may not always work. That is why it is good to have a number of different ways to connect to the world as well as to honor our individuality. These are just a few ideas. I would love to know what YOU do to stay connected. What tips would you give a new Anywhere Worker?