For accessibility and ease, you can listen to this post narrated by Mike:
Being a visionary is a lonely business.
To never quite fit into the containers around you. To be “too much” or “not enough” for so many spaces in your life. To not feel fully fulfilled by certain relationships—and to tell yourself that you’re just “too demanding,” “high-maintenance,” or “ungrateful.”
It can be isolating. Lonely.
To always feel like you have one foot inside the group but one foot outside. Always straddling worlds. Never fully fitting in perfectly anywhere.
Never really sure people see you fully for who you are.
To create brilliance. To put your heart and soul into work that really, really matters to you. And then to hear—crickets. Silence. Limited feedback.
I don’t know that there’s anything quite so soul-crushing as putting it all on the line for your passion and to receive nothing back in return. And yet we visionaries do it so often.
We see possibilities for the world we could live in. And they feel so alive and real and visceral that we can’t help but fall in love with them. And then we’re cursed for life. Because, against all logic, we go off to create these visions to help the world.
We’re sure we’re meant to do this. We’re sure this is the most powerful way to spend our time. We’re sure this is calling forward all of our genius.
I won’t lie—it can be disheartening. And, if we weren’t so deeply in love, we just might give up.
I remember years ago when I first started my business. I was so excited and vibrant, and so many people validated me for all of my skills. I was sure I’d be a major success.
So I created a talk series. I had done a number of talks when I worked in PR, and they were all well-attended. So I wasn’t too worried.
But, nevertheless, I put everything into getting people to show up.
I wrote articles for local publications. I e-mailed it to local friends and acquaintances. I joined Meetup to advertise it. I even invested in some Google ads.
And I went to the co-working space where it would be hosted hours early to tell all of the members about it.
I had 40 or 50 people RSVP’d. I was so excited. I spent days perfecting my PowerPoint and practicing my presentation.
It was so well-advertised, in fact, that two other coaches heard about it and e-mailed to ask if they could audit it to learn from me.
I put everything into it. And I was sure this was it. My days of being a lonely visionary were over. I’d finally be seen and validated.
Except only two people showed up—the two who asked to audit it. Not one other person came. None of the 40 or 50 people who RSVP’d.
I gave the best presentation I could and answered all of their questions about ‘building a successful business,’ at the end. But I felt like more than a fraud than ever.
I cried on the way home.
And it just reiterated some of those old visionary stories. That I’ll never fit in. That I’ll never be really seen for who I am. That people don’t want from me what I want to give. That I should just stick with what I’m validated for.
See—the thing about being a visionary is we don’t fit into the standard boxes of life. We can’t fit in. Because we’re here to create new ones. New visions, new possibilities, new ways of being in the world.
If we fit in, if we were content, we’d never go off and pursue our crazy adventure. The one where we discover our genius and build something the world has never seen.
And a vision—a true vision—isn’t easy or palatable. It’s provocative and shifting and powerful. It’d be a hell of a lot easier to just create something basic that people can easily absorb.
Or, as Garrett often says, “read the ‘5 surprising ways’ lists and just nod their heads and “mhm.””
We can do that. But then we’re never actually creating something new. We’re never actually accessing our genius. We’re never actually moving the world forward and making the difference we want to be making.
We’re just sticking around in the same old paradigm because it’s easier. And validating.
Or we could go for it. I mean really fucking go for it. Fall. Get muddy. Cry. Put ourselves out there. Find others visionaries. Find people who can see us. People who can get us. People who are just sensitive and intuitive enough to really understand what we’re trying to do.
We can lean into the fact that being a visionary is lonely for the simple fact that we’re the only one with access to our vision. And that doesn’t make us wrong or fucked up or broken. That makes us geniuses. That means we’re the only one with the unique genius to see this particular vision.
And maybe not everyone is ready to get it today. Maybe we need to show up to empty rooms a number of times. Maybe we need to get support. Take jobs on the side. Seek out the people who can actually get it.
It’s not easy to be a visionary. It takes courage. But, fortunately, that’s where we thrive best. Because courage only ever comes from the heart—from love.
And if there’s one thing we visionaries do all too often, it’s fall in love.
We fall in love with people, ideas, possibilities, visions. We fall in love with the world around us. Because we’re just sensitive enough to see the beauty in all of it. And just foolish enough to believe in the power of possibilities.
When we follow our hearts, we have the courage to pursue our visions. When we discover others visionaries, we have the support to keep getting up every time we get knocked down.
And, when we discover our genius—the one that’s been there the whole time—well, then we’re fucking unstoppable.
Being a visionary may be lonely. But it’s sure as hell not because we’re not good enough. It’s because we’ve got some big work to do in this world. We’ve got a lot of people to wake up and help.
And we’ve got the courage to choose the lonely path. And illuminate it for the rest of the world.
Questions for Reflection:
*Answer in a journal, in the comments right here, or take it over to the Sacred Branding® Facebook group where we can support one another:
Does it ever feel lonely?
— Do you ever feel lonely being a visionary? Do you ever feel like you put your heart and soul into work or projects or relationships but not necessarily get the validation you were seeking? Do you ever feel like you’re not fully seen for who you truly are?
— Have you shamed yourself by thinking maybe you’re the problem? That you’re “too demanding” or “ungrateful” or just expecting too much? That you’re “too much” or “not enough” and can’t fit into a lot of spaces? Have you ever had experiences that were a huge, huge letdown and that made you question everything?
— What if you are actually a visionary, and part of being a visionary is the inherent loneliness of having access to a vision that others don’t yet have? What if it takes tremendous courage—and the support of other visionaries who believe in you—to help the world wake up to your vision? What if your giant, sensitive heart is actually the key to your success?