Balancing solitude and support

We all need support; it’s one of our human needs. When we are supported we feel connected even when we are alone. Sometimes it’s hard to reach out or to see where we are able to get support and this is something I have been witnessing over the last few weeks as part of the RED January challenge. There is a Facebook group of over 1800 people and the camaraderie is brilliant – whenever people feel disappointed with their attempt, are feeling low or need a push to go out and they have reached out to the group – there is always someone to give them the support they need.

The thing is that with this challenge (and I will be writing a blog on what I have learned for next week) is that most of us are running/walking on our own, we relish the opportunity to experience some solitude. To get out in the cold air, in darkness, in daytime, for half a mile or half a marathon. We all run at our own pace, literally and figuratively. However, we all know that we have those 1800 people (and many more) supporting us; we are connected.


As an extrovert I love having the social aspect of life but there are also times when I need and want to be alone. The difference as I see it between solitude and isolation is how connected we feel. Solitude is being alone but not being lonely. It is a gift we give ourselves to reflect, to be creative and to find some quiet. I love this quote by Katrina Kenison:

“Solitude is the soul’s holiday, an opportunity to stop doing for others and to surprise and delight ourselves instead. In solitude, we discover what makes us feel alive.”

I find running gives me both solitude and support – both virtual and when I run in a group or with a partner. It has also served as a metaphor for running a business. Being self-employed I spend time in solitude and this allows me to consider my clients, their needs and wants and create my vision. I can do this all at my own pace, I set the route and choose the goals.

Time to reconnect

There are times however when we can feel lonely. Then it is time to reconnect with others and find our support network, our tribe. Since being self-employed I have done this through attending meet-ups, creating a local event for the very many self-employed people I know as well as building my online tribe. In addition, it was why I set up my mastermind groups – to provide that support for women who run their own businesses or who are in/aspiring to leadership as it can feel like we have no one to bounce ideas off or celebrate our successes.

It’s all about balance

As with most things in life, it is a balance; listening to yourself and taking action when you need support, when you need a challenge, when you need solitude and when you need to celebrate. So I would encourage you to consider whether you enjoy solitude and where you get your support if you feel lonely (or isolated).

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