Entrepreneurs tend to be pretty independent and self-sufficient people. After all, many of us start out completely on our own as we build our businesses. When I was a young entrepreneur, I thought of myself as a lone wolf. I liked the idea of being independent and thought I had to do everything on my own, not only to avoid burdening others but also to prove myself and my abilities.
I learned the hard way that being a lone wolf isn’t the wisest strategy. In the wild, wolves live in packs for one main reason—to help each other out. They protect each other and work as a team to hunt for food. Without a pack—without a team around you to support you and help you grow—you’re much more vulnerable.
I think entrepreneurs have a particularly difficult time relying on others because we often want to remain in control of every aspect of our businesses. Even business leaders with excellent teams can still have a lone-wolf mentality, feeling as though they can’t ask for help or that they need to fend for themselves.
The truth is that relying on your team, your friends, and your family doesn’t make you weak—it makes you stronger. We’re stronger when we work together. And perhaps the most important thing of all is that without a pack, we become lonely.
Loneliness Is Dangerous
Did you know that loneliness is actually a major risk factor for your health? It’s linked to a number of chronic diseases and increases the stress hormone cortisol. In fact, your brain can’t distinguish between prolonged loneliness and physical pain. Another astonishing fact is that while air pollution has a mortality rate of 5%, the mortality rate of loneliness is 25%.
Loneliness is a serious issue, and it affects your physical and mental health as well as your ability to work. When you have plenty of strong and supportive relationships, you’ll feel better and increase your productivity. It’s worth making time to nurture those relationships in both your work life and your home life.
Community Provides Support and Learning
The wise business leader isn’t a lone wolf but a member of a pack—maybe even multiple packs. You need others to help you change your life for the better, and they need you to help change their lives as well.
Mentorship is a powerful example of the benefits of connecting with others. It’s a wonderful tool for entrepreneurs to grow in both business and personal development. And just like any relationship, it’s a two-way street. We get the most from others when we’re willing to help them in return. And just as you can learn from people with more experience by becoming a mentee, you can learn equally as much by mentoring others with less experience.
The function of a pack is to support each other. A strong community—whether a family, a business team, or any other type of community—steps up to help each other out wherever a need arises, share knowledge and skills, and help each other grow. Generosity and kindness breed more generosity and kindness.
Connectivity Leads to Business Growth
As a lone wolf, you’ll never be able to reach the level of success that you can reach with the help of others. We’re at our best when we work together. Each person’s individual strengths bring something valuable to the table. Just like each wolf in a pack may have a role, members of a team have skillsets that allow a business to produce much better outcomes than when you try to handle everything yourself. When you rely on others to do what they’re best at and focus on doing what you’re best at, your business will grow faster and reach higher levels of success.
Being a lone wolf in life and in business is overrated. While self-sufficiency and individualism may seem like valuable traits, they won’t make you happier or more successful —they only increase your stress and rob you of opportunities. Once I learned how important it is to be connected to a pack, it was like I’d unlocked a superpower in my business and life, and everything became much easier and more enjoyable. Where do you need to ask for or offer help?