The Isolation Trap

We are naturally social beings, it is literally part of our DNA to come together in groups, it is the foundation of our society. Human connection is key to our wellbeing. A hug of fifteen seconds or more releases oxytocin in our brain, which makes us feel good. Being with each other is good for us.

And yet, when we are going through a transition or a trial of some sort, we often become isolated. This not only negatively affects our well-being, it impairs our cognitive abilities and makes us more prone to depression and anxiety. So why do we do this?

Working with people who are leaving the corporate environment, I know that this can simply be a case of circumstance. There is no office to go to, there aren’t any meetings you have to be at, there are no longer a group of people who are expecting you to show up. So you end up on your own, probably sitting in your spare-bedroom-come-home-office or at the dining table, trying to work things out by yourself.

Added to this are feelings of vulnerability and shame that are associated with going through this transition. When we are changing our role, changing our appearance or our position in the world, we often feel challenged. It’s a sort of existential crisis, we know we are not the person we were but we don’t yet know who we are to become. At times like this we can withdraw from social contact because it is too difficult to explain what is going on in our lives. Besides, most of the people we speak to won’t understand even if we could explain it because they’ve never been in our situation.

So, as well as physical isolation we add social isolation. We think we can figure things out on our own and we avoid meeting people until we’ve ‘cracked it’.

Tied up with this is the image of the heroic leader, the intrepid explorer, the lone maverick. Entrepreneurs are glorified as individuals who are the authors of their own success, using their unique and individual talents to forge new opportunities. These popular mythologies are reflected back to us our culture and media, so trying to do it on our own ‘looks’ right.

The problem is that these are myths and the reality is that very few, if any, do it by themselves. They succeed because the join with others, they help and are helped by other actors. Even in the hero’s journey, the basis of many stories, the hero is assisted along their journey by other, often mythical and wise, characters.

What’s more, whilst you are one your own you are ‘stewing in your own juices’. Your imagined failures and problems feed upon each other and grow, each negative thoughts adding the earlier ones and pushing you into a downward spiral. Once you get amongst others you realise that they have very similar problems and you can talk about the issues. It’s amazing how much smaller a problem is when you have spoken it out loud and exposed it to the cold light of day.

You also get the chance to help others with their problems, which makes you feel good and boosts your self-esteem. It’s also surprising how often you find your own answers as you solve someone else’s problem.

So, basically, isolation is counter-productive. We need to have that connection with others and to reach out for help. However, it’s important to find the right groups and people to be with. Whilst it undoubtedly better to get out and meet people, any people, to staying in your bedroom office, if you are only spending  time with people who have no experience of your situation, no empathy for you and no understanding of your challenges, then you can still feel on your own in a crowded room. (although, just to be clear, that’s still better that being completely on your own!).

There a lots of groups that you can go and try and experience. It is a case of experimenting and looking for the places where you meet people that you click with, where you feel comfortable and that feed your curiosity. It’s good to have a mix, so go to some events that feed your mind, others that you enjoy and yet others that give you the business connections that help you.

They don’t have to all be dry business meetings, either. Doing activities that you enjoy with people really builds deep relationships and you may find opportunities flow out of those because of all the people that they know. Go to art clubs, writing groups, drama societies, macrame clubs – whatever floats your boats. If it makes you happy, then people will see you at your best and will imagine you being that good in other areas of your life, like your business.

Don’t fall into the isolation trap. Get out and meet people. Only good can come of it.

Feel your way forwards, stop forcing it

As well as learning new skills and developing a new mindset when we leave our corporate role, we have unlearn a whole set of beliefs and behaviours. Things that were helpful, or at least functional, in the corporate world simply don’t work outside. In fact, some of them can actually be harmful to us and what we’re trying to achieve.

One of the hardest things I have had to learn is to use my intuition and to trust that answers to problems will emerge if I just stay with the issue long enough. In coaching, we call this ‘sitting with the problem’. It a very uncomfortable experience, sitting in that uncertainty and ‘not knowing’.

Our response to this is to wriggle out of it, reduce the ambiguities to black and white and end the uncertainty by leaping to a solution. These behaviours have been re-inforced in our corporate life, which operate under an illusion of certainty and control. We were constantly challenged to ‘have the facts’, to ‘bring solutions, not problems’ and an admission that you didn’t know the answer was a seen as a sign of weakness.

The solutions we readily grasp for, the familiar ones, are never the right ones. The ambiguities that we try to flatten out hold the very answers that we seek. In a large organisation we see many of these sub-optimal decisions but the organisation continues, albeit in an inefficient and wasteful manner. However, when we are making decisions for ourselves, this approach can be extremely harmful. We don’t have the resources and momentum of a large organisation and poor decisions can blow us far off track.

This over-reliance on rationality is not how we are in the world naturally. Our intuition is deep wisdom, it is the product of our unconscious mind that is far more powerful and rapid than our intellect. We use our ‘feel’ continually in our personal lives, in our hobbies and pursuits, in our daily activities but we have been taught to ignore it in our business and professional life. Re-connecting with our intuition and re-introducing it into our whole lives takes time and emotional labour but its a very necessary step to learning to flourish after the mothership.

Allied to this is the habit of forcing things. In our corporate life we could ‘make things happen’ though our effort, personality and will. We could pressure people to do the things we needed to do, we could influence events and push things through. This was only possible, however, within the hierarchy and rules of the organisation. Once we are outside of that structure, our attempts to bring pressure on people will simply push them away because they are free agents. We have no hold over people or resources and the only authority we have is that which we generate through trust and respect. Forcing simply doesn’t work.

However, so deeply ingrained is this behaviour that we continue to try. We make plans and forecasts for events we have no control over, we make demands of people that they have no obligation to fulfill. Instead of allowing events to take their course and focusing on the things that we can control, we impatiently try to ‘hurry things up’, to push things through. The consequence is that we often sabotage our efforts. Forcing is a rather unpleasant behaviour and it repels people, it reduces the resources that are available to us and it prevents the serendipity and mutuality that will bring us what we want.

The biggest signal that we are ignoring our intuition and trying to force things is when we are looking for short cuts. When we start signing up for courses that will show us the ten step process that guarantees our objective, when we look for some marketing trick to ‘massively grow’ our lists, or try to learn some sales tricks that will have us ‘closing, closing, closing’. When we are desperately grasping at someone else’s formula and trying jam our business and ourselves into it.

This never works. These always prove to be a waste our time and energy and push us further away from our desired objective.

In my experience, every dead-end is disguised as a short-cut. Avoid them and focus on doing the work instead.

The hard lessons that I have learnt are these: Learn to listen to and trust your intuition and use it feel your way forward rather than trying to think it. And stop trying to force things, just let them unfold.

‘Asker’ or ‘Guesser’?

I have some good news and some bad news.

I wrote in my last blog about the universal advice to get a ‘Dream Team’ around you and I talked about the challenges of actually finding the people to be in it. The good news is that the solution is to join a community and get to be known, liked and trusted.

The bad news is that you need to know if you are an asker or a guesser. And if you are the latter, then a difficult challenge just became a whole lot harder.

So what’s the difference between ‘Askers’ and ‘Guessers’, and why does it matter?

It depends on how you have been raised to ask for things.

If you have been brought up in an ‘Ask’ culture then you are taught it is fine to ask for what you want because the other person always has the option to say no. You are not offended if you request is turned down because that’s always one of the possible outcomes. If you were told as child “If you don’t ask, you don’t get”, then you’ve been raised as an Asker.

If you have been brought up in a ‘Guess’ culture, then you avoid asking for something at all costs unless you are pretty certain that the answer is going to be Yes. You are particularly skilled at putting out feelers and dropping hints. Sometimes you are able to get the other person to offer the thing you want, which is a brilliant result for you. If you were told as a child “It’s rude to ask”, well, you can figure out what you are.

The problem for Guessers is that they depend on tight net of shared expectations and that only works with other Guessers. They think that Askers are a bunch of insensitive idiots for not picking up on their subtle signalling and realising what is going on.

If you’re a Guesser, then enlisting people to your dreams and asking them to be on your team becomes hugely difficult. You put an enormous amount of time and energy into putting out delicate feelers that a large percentage of the people are oblivious too and get distressed and frustrated that you can’t seem to get your team together. Meanwhile, the Askers in your group have ploughed ahead and got their support team together in no time at all.

So Guessers have to take a deep breath, pull their pants right up tight, and become Askers. Much to their surprise, they will find most people don’t even bat an eyelid and they’ll soon find people doing exactly what they asked them to do. It turns out that it’s much more acceptable to be an Asker in a business environment than in a social one. (Who knew?).

It’s not all good news for Askers, however. They may think it’s OK to ask anyone for anything but the Guessers are horrified by their presumptuousness. They may feel obliged to say Yes but then will fail to provide the support or even become silent saboteurs due to their resentment.

It’s important, then, to understand where the other person is coming from, not to simply project your worldview on them but to see things from their perspective. There isn’t a right or wrong here, there’s just a difference and you need to understand and acknowledge that and behave accordingly to get the outcome that you want. Even if that means asking for it!

(This terminology comes from a 2007 web posting by Andrea Donderi)

Come and meet some potential collaborators and practice being an Asker at one of our London meetings, or get involved in our private Facebook group HERE 

Creating your ‘Dream Team’

There is a piece of advice that you will find all over the internet, from all the top business coaches and start-up gurus, every ‘how to’ blog about growing your business or even making personal change. (Hell, even I’ve put it in my ebook “Five ways to flourish when you escape the corporate grind”). So what is this ubiquitous instructions, this universally agree wisdom?

“Get a great team around you”

Well, you can’t argue with that, can you? We all know we can do more when we have people supporting us than we can on our own. We all know that we’d do much better if we could focus on what we’re good at and have other people to do all the stuff we’re crap at (and probably hate with a passion, too.)

Some people say this is pretty much ALL you need to do. Get a good enough bunch of people around you and you can do ANYTHING!

It’s seductive. So simple. And it’s reassuring, isn’t it? To think that we don’t have to take all strain by ourselves but can have other people to share the burden with.

The only problem is that hardly anyone tells you HOW you pull together your dream team. I mean, it’s not like people are hanging around on street corners with cardboard signs saying “Genius, at a   loose end, ready to commit myself to your dreams.”, is it? You can’t just drive around and pick up the people you need on your particular bus. So where do you find them?

And even when you find them, why are they going to help you? What’s in it for them? Why would they join your support team rather than someone else’s? If these are good people, then they are not going to be short of options.

Of course, these two questions are interrelated. And the answer is community.

There are some, a lucky few, who have a network they can draw upon that contains the skills they need and people who are disposed to helping them. For the rest of us, we need to find a community where potential members of our team are likely to gather. By interacting, sharing and doing things together, we discover who the people are that we need and at least identify who we’d like onboard.

But then the question still arises, why would they help us? Well, people will work with us when they know, like and trust us. The community has provided one part of the puzzle because they know us but now we have to work on the other two elements – we need to get them to like us and to trust us.

Again, the community provides the context in which we are able to build these relationships. They will see us contributing and engaging in the community and helping others. They’ll see us as whole people, not just in a narrow business or professional context. They will also experience us, get feedback from others and be able to evaluate our social capital. They will be able to make their own mind up as to whether we are trustworthy or not.

We need to show up and take individual actions to prove ourselves but it is the community that gives us the platform to do it, the opportunity to take action. We have to show we area willing to be open and honest, to be vulnerable and to want to contribute and help others. That means we have to willing to be on other people’s teams and support their dreams and ambitions.

The way that we often seek community is by joining a networking group or attending a course (either in person or online). These can work but they are not always a great fit for people who are still trying to determine what they are going to do with their life and the next part of their career. If you do not yet have an established business then you are not ready for networking that is focused around business development and lead sharing. If you are taking a course, the focus will only be on a narrow area and that’s only a small part of what you need.

That’s why I started After the Mothership, to create a space for people who are transitioning from corporate and don’t know what they need or what direction they are going to go in. To create a community of people who are working through the same sorts of challenges, asking the same questions but who have different skills and experiences that they can share with each other.

In other words, a place where you can find your dream team and become part of someone else’s.

Experience some new ideas and new people by coming to one of our our monthly meetings in London. Book your place for our September event “After Corporate Life – What next?” HERE

Or get involved in our private Facebook group HERE 

Finding out what you don’t know

Donald Rumsfeld, the US Defence Secretary during the second Gulf War, once gave a famously oblique response to a question, in which he talked about “Known knowns, known unknowns and unknown unknowns”.

It was a diversion tactic, a deliberate obfuscation to avoid answering the question about a lack of evidence. It’s actually an application of ‘Johari’s Window’,a cognitive psychology tool used to help people better understand their relationship with themselves and others. The statement brought much publicity to the concepts and introduced them into the popular lexicon.

When you leave corporate life, there are an awful lot of ‘known unknowns’. Setting up your business, doing your accounts, your website, social media, and a million other things. There may also be specific areas of skill or expertise that you need to acquire, such as public speaking, coaching, web development, cooking, carpentry – seriously! It depends on what you decide to do next.

You can address some of these by taking training courses but choosing the right ones can be a challenge. How do you decide where to focus your efforts, which ones to master and which to outsource to specialists? It’s not straightforward but it is possible, with some thought, to decide a course and navigate your way through these ‘known unknowns’.

However, there’s a hell of a lot more unknown unknowns. Things you have absolutely no awareness of, things you have not even heard of, much less understand their relevance to you.

So how do you discover your unknown unknowns? How do you find out these things that will be crucial to your success?

The answer is surprisingly simple.

Firstly, you need to expose yourself to new ideas and people. Get out and mix in some new groups, try some new pursuits, read books and publications that you haven’t before.

Secondly, find some people who have been on a similar path, who have made the transition from corporate or are doing something similar to what you want to do. Ask them for their advice, share your thought and ideas and ask for their feedback (people love to be asked for their opinions). Learning from them will greatly shorten your own learning curve and save from you repeating common mistakes.

I’m trying to make this easier with After the Mothership. Through this blog and the newsletter, through the events, through the Facebook group, I am trying to expose you to new ideas and people; and to connect you to people who are going through this transition, fellow travellers on the path you are following.

There are many other ways you can go about this, both online and in real life. Be open, follow your curiosity, and enjoy your exploration. You never know what you will find!

Which is why they are called ‘unknown unknowns’.

Experience some new ideas and new people by coming to one of our our monthly meetings in London. Book your place for our September event “After Corporate Life – What next?” HERE

Or get involved in our private Facebook group HERE 

When I grow up, I’m going to be…

I often joke that I haven’t decided what I am going to do when I grow up. It’s a way of using my self-deprecating humour to deflect awkward questions about what I am doing. Like everyone else, I am just making it up as I go along but I don’t want to admit that I am winging it.

Like all the best jokes, it has more than a little basis in truth. I really haven’t decided on the one thing I am going to do, the single career, the identifiable profession that can be contain in a neat little box so that everyone can see it and know what it is. The thing is, I don’t think I ever will. I am just not like that.

It’s not that I am scared of commitment, or that I don’t take life seriously, or that I am indecisive (although other may disagree!). It’s just that I like to have variety in my life. I am interested in many different things. My curiosity takes me in many different directions. Just doing one thing, being one thing – well, that sounds like hell to me.

I know you are probably thinking “Uh-oh, a jack of all trades and master of none”, because that’s the normal way we put people down who do multiple things. Such is the cult of specialisation in our society today that anyone who doesn’t go down a single path is seen as deviant, some sort of misanthrope to be pilloried and denigrated. But let’s look at the full quote,

Jack of all trades, master of none,

though oftentimes better than master of one.

You see, having multiple skills and interests is really strength, not a weakness. It’s a strength that’s increasingly sought after as employers look for people who are able to fulfil multiple roles and adapt to meet the rapidly changing requirements of business today.

In fact, specialisation can become a bad thing, a trap for us as we hit the middle of our careers. It’s been defined as ’Over-competence’, the situation where an individual has become so good at their specialisation that they can’t escape it. They are so valuable because of the large revenues they can generate for their employer or themselves that the opportunity cost of doing something else is too high. However, the work no longer challenges them or stretches them and they lack opportunity for personal or professional growth.

So being a ‘Jack of all trades’ is no bad thing. It is a positive virtue that allows for personal growth and development. It is the way to become the ‘best you’ you can be.

What’s more, I am not alone. There are loads of us out there, people who never quite fit into one role, never quite manage to stay in the box that we are given. There are lots of names for us too (no, not those sorts of names. Positive descriptors!).

‘Scanners’ is a term that has been around for some time, originally coined by Barbara Sher, the original advocate of creating your own job (and also promoted by John Williams, author of “Screw Work, Let’s Play”). People who are just too curious to stick to one thing, who have multiple passions and ideas and inspirations.

Or if you prefer, you can call yourself a multi-potentialite, a neo-generalist or someone with a renaissance soul.

Marianne Cantwell, author of Free Range Humans, and someone who I have worked with to develop my own ‘free range’ career, has given an excellent TEDx talk where she talks about ‘Liminality’, this state of not ever being one thing or another but being somewhere in-between. When you are in a group but still seem to have a foot outside. When there always seems to be a bit of you that doesn’t quite fit.

And here’s the thing. Whatever of these descriptions you feel best suits you, you feel a bit ashamed because you aren’t quite what society expects you to be. You are supposed to fit in a box (because that makes it easier for everyone else) but you just don’t, just can’t, just won’t. You are doing ‘grown up’ properly. You aren’t ‘adulting’ in the right way.

This is where it gets really serious and why this is important. That shame that you feel is completely mis-placed but, more importantly, extremely dangerous. It’s corrosive, debilitating and doing you harm every day. Furthermore, it is a barrier to you making the best of your talents, making the best of yourself and bringing your best stuff to the world.

Far from feeling shame, you should be proud of your breadth and spread, your scanning abilities, your boundless curiosity, your multiple passions and interests, your ability to find the spaces in between that everyone else misses. We are the innovators, the creators, the change-makers. We find the connections that others can’t see, we brew up the concoctions that no-one else can cook up, we see a future that no-one else can imagine.

The world needs us to stay young, stay curious, keep playing and keep exploring. We aren’t meant to settle down and stay in a box, we are meant to find new places to play and to live and to grow.

So never grow up. Don’t decide what you are going to do. Decide who you are going to be.

Join us at After the Mothership where we’re all figuring out what to do when we grow up.

Get involved in our private Facebook group HERE 

or come along to our monthly “After the Mothership LIVE!” meeting in London. Book your place for our September event HERE.

Is it change or transformation?

Have you ever made some lifestyle changes to improve your health? Exercising regularly, eating more healthily, giving up alcohol, going on a blitz before a ‘significant’ birthday?

We’ve all ‘been good’ for a while, perhaps done it several times, but we often lapse back to our old ways.

Changes are temporary, it seems.

Changes are also external.

You can be a ‘gym bunny’ for a while, to lose weight or run a marathon, but it doesn’t make you a thin person or an athlete. If you are still a fast food lover or a couch potato at heart, that’s the behaviour that you go back to once you have achieved your goal.

Change is the domain of the yo-yo dieter. The New Year resolver. The January Gym member.

‘Ah,” you say, “but you can have lasting change. It doesn’t have to be like that, people can stick with their new habits.”

And that’s true, they can, but only if they become a different person inside. Only if the way they live their life, the values that they honour, the way they see themselves, changes. That is transformation.

It’s permanent because It’s internal. You don’t revert to your previous behaviour because you are no longer that person.

We go through many changes in our lives but only the ones that are permanent are accompanied by a transformation.

As anyone who has children will tell you, the birth of your first child is a massive change. Your life will never be the same again but it is also transformational. YOU will never be the same again. This often comes as a surprise to new parents. We use change and transformation interchangeably and so we  do not appreciate the difference. The change you feel within yourself as a parent is so unexpectedly strong that it really underlines how different they are.

You find yourself overwhelmed with emotions, knocked sideways by a completely new perspective of the world and your place in it. You are caught unawares by desires to protect and nurture that are suddenly awakened within you. This is transformation. You are now a different person and your behaviour changes permanently.

Transformation, then, can be born from change. Change is the external stimulus but you have to internalise it and make permanent changes to your mindset and your life choices.

So, going on a health blitz and saying no to the chips and beer is a good thing to do. However, to make it permanent, you have to go through a transformation. You have to become the type of person who doesn’t eat chips, who moderates the amount of beer they drink. You know this has happened when you don’t have to make a conscious choice, you just automatically chose the salad over the chips because you prefer it.

The people I work with have been through change, either by choice or circumstance. Often, however, they have not been through transformation. They have left the corporate world but they still see themselves as corporate executives, they have the same default behaviours, the same values, the same perception of themselves and what constitutes normality for them. This is often why they are struggling.

And I completely understand that. It took me a long time to make my own transformation from corporate executive to the person I am today.

However, without transformation, change is often painful. The dissonance we feel between our inner selves the surroundings we now find ourselves in causes us distress and anxiety and can even cause actual physical pain and ill-health.

We can choose to live in that pain, to retreat back to what is familiar by going back into corporate life, even if it makes us unhappy. Or we can undergo a personal transformation that accepts the new reality we find ourselves in and embraces the opportunities it brings.

For many, going back is not an option. We are too old, or do not meet the requirements that companies now have, or are disqualified on some other grounds. Or the cost of living in that world  was too great, it was harmful to us and we needed to escape it.

The choice then is to live in the pain and discomfort of our new circumstances, or to transform ourselves so that we are adapted to this new world and able to thrive in it. This transformation may be difficult, challenging and, in itself, painful. It will lead, however, to a new state where we will be at peace with our world and comfortable in our own skin. It will no longer take effort to cope with world but the world will energise us with opportunity because the changes to our behaviours will be imbedded, they will be permanent.

That’s got to be a goal worth getting.

After the Mothership has been created to provide the environment for you to work out your own transformation, in the company of fellow travellers and with the advice, information and support you need to successful transition to your new life style and career.

You can join us in our private Facebook group HERE

Or come and meet us in person at our monthly ‘After the Mothership LIVE!’ meeting – grab your tickets for September’s event HERE.

Neither fish nor foul

It’s very disconcerting when you leave your corporate career. You have lost your role and your identity and all the anchors of that life have faded away. You know what you were but you don’t yet know who are going to be. You were employed, a career executive, a professional of some description and now you are … well, what?

There’s lots of things that you could become. A contractor, a consultant, a business owner, an ‘entrepreneur’ (whatever that is), or some other things altogether. Or perhaps a mix of things, a portfolio careerist.

But right now you aren’t any other those. You are in-between, neither fish nor fowl.

This is what Marianne Cantwell calls a ‘liminal’ stage. (She introduces the idea of liminality in her excellent TEDx Talk). You are in flux and it’s a time of uncertainty, of not knowing. The problem is that society doesn’t really like this, it likes certainty. If you are not one thing, then you need to be another. If you are no longer a corporate executive, then you have to be someone else.

It’s not OK to say you are ‘in between’. “In between what?” will be the answer. “Are you resting. Like an actor?” they will say, putting you down as a failure.

So we are pressured to jump, to make a choice to be something else. This is not a good idea.

You see, being in between, being in this liminal stage, is a great place to be. It’s the place of creativity, of possibility and of growth. Certainly, we feel the tension and the anxiety but that is also when we can feel most alive. The secret is actually to stay in that place, to relax into the uncertainty and to trust your subconscious to figure it all out for you, in due course.

It’s a very necessary part of transition too. I use William Bridges’ 3-stage model of transition:

  1. The Letting Go
  2. The Neutral Zone
  3. The New Beginning.

This uncertain, anxious but creative phase is The Neutral Zone, the stage where we have left the past behind but still haven’t figured out what our future holds. It’s the part when people often go off into the wilderness on their own for a bit.

If we jump this stage then we take all of our unresolved problems forward with us, which will sabotage whatever we try to do next and prevent making the transition successfully.

We have to be able to resist the societal pressures to put ourselves in another box, to slap a new label on ourselves, and to sit with the discomfort and uncertainty for the time we need to move through this stage properly. This is hard to do by ourselves, by sheer force of will power.

It’s important, then, to surround ourselves with people who understand the struggle that we are going through, who can support us without judgement and who know the value of staying in this space. Others who are neither fish nor fowl either, who get exactly where we are.

This much may be obvious but where to find them is less so. That is why I created After the Mothership, a place where it’s absolutely OK to be an in-betweener, to not know what you do, to be uncertain about what you are doing next but also in the ideal place to figure it out.

If you’d like to join us in our liminal space and share our in-between-ness, join the conversation in our private Facebook group HERE.

Or come and meet us in person at the September ‘After the Mothership LIVE!’ event and grab your tickets HERE.

(Picture: fish-fowl-by-hikingartist illustration (Frits Ahlefeldt – Founder by Frits Ahlefeldt – Founder (flickr))

When they’re not returning your calls

You were such good buddies when you worked together. You where on the same page when it came to work, never an argument and always a laugh. You thought it would be great to meet up for drinks but they haven’t got back to you…

You’ve sent them a few messages, left a few voicemails, given them a few options but they haven’t got back to you yet…

Sure, you know they’re busy. But you were friends, and friends keep in touch, right?

But they haven’t returned your calls…

She was always a bit of a champion of yours, she was your mentor for a while. You always helped to make her look good too, singing her praises right, left and centre. It would great if she could make a couple of intros for you, a real help. You’ve asked her to meet with you but she hasn’t returned your calls…

You’re sure she likes you and wants to you to be successful. You’ve always felt she was pulling for you, cheering you on. You just want to grab a coffee with her and ask her a few questions. But she’s not got around to calling you back…

She’s super-busy, you know that, but she’s always made time for you before. You thought you were special to her but she’s just not getting back to you…

It seems once you are out of the corporate bubble, you are out in ways you never expected. You are no longer on the Mothership and so you no longer matter in the lives of those who remain. You are simply not in their orbit any more, it’s a case of out of sight and out of mind.

It’s upsetting to find that these relationships are not what you thought they were, to find that the ties that you had were not due to your intrinsic worth but just due to the circumstances of working together. It’s like you were under a spell and that spell is now broken.

This feeling of disenchantment is common when you are in transition. You have literally been in an enchantment, under a spell, that made you see an illusion. What once appeared solid now seems insubstantial and is disappearing fast. What once seemed certain is now gone and there is nothing yet replacing it.

In time you will replace these erstwhile friends, you will find new certainties around which to anchor your life. It could be that you join another organisation, board another Mothership, and enter a new enchantment.

Or you could choose to forge your own path, to create your own circle of friends and relationships. People who are on the same journey as you and who are seeking authentic connections with like-minded and like-hearted individuals. Create genuine and lasting relationships that will support you for the rest of your life.

My aim is to help you find those connections to like-minds and like-hearts and to create those lasting relationships. That’s why I am running a series of events in London to create the opportunity for connection and for community. There’s also a Facebook group to keep the conversation going in between the events, and for those who are unable to get along in person.

Find out more about the September ‘After the Mothership LIVE!’ event and grab your tickets HERE.

Or join the conversation in our private Facebook group HERE.