***I'm looking for lone wolves to interview for a research project, 'lone wolf' is a label I have given myself, for you it might be something different, but if some of the description below resonates with you, I'd be thrilled if you'd help me out with my research...
What I want you to know about me is that I am incredibly driven, ambitious, and always energetically striving for success. I like to take on seemingly impossible new challenges and through a combination of passion, determination and hard work, almost always rise to the top and make the most of every opportunity.
What you may have noticed about me is that I am hyper-independent. I pretty much do what I want, when I want, whether or not there is anyone to do it with. Heck I rarely even take the time to check if there is, ‘cos that might slow me down.
What I don’t want you to know about me is that this level of self-sufficiency has a cost. I’ve spent years building up walls and pushing people away. Driven and determined I have worked harder than everyone to get where I am today, never admitting I am struggling, never asking for help, just nose down, work harder, rest later, prove that I am as smart as everyone else, even if I know it isn’t true. Everything can be solved with more work, more practice, more reps. Don’t wait for others to catch up and join you. Don’t request other ideas and viewpoints because it might distract you. Just keep moving forward.
And when I reach the ceiling of going as far I can without help, I quit that room altogether, and find another job/ sport /hobby. Then start again proving myself, fighting my own battles, internalising my struggles, cheering myself on, (instantaneously) celebrating my successes, then onto the next challenge. If someone notices I am not as strong or as smart as I appear, cry into my pillow at night then get up early and back to it. Prove them wrong. Prove everyone wrong. But don’t fool myself.
Did you know that about me?
I have been living my whole life as a lone wolf. That may surprise and confuse you, as yes, wolves are sociable pack animals. And if you know me, even a little, you'll know me to be an incredibly outgoing, friendly and sociable creature. And you’d be right, I love nothing more than to organise the gang for a night out or weekend away, and all these zoom calls right now just energize, not drain me, as everyone else seems to report.
My wolverine tendencies have got me to where I am today. And I’m fiercely proud of them.
But there is a dark side to being a lone wolf over and above the exhaustion, burnout, and pressure. I imagine it’s why lone wolves are known to howl in the night. It’s the frustration. The frustration of knowing that I am capable of so much more. My self-sufficiency puts enormous limits on what I can achieve and the impact I can have on the world. Struggling on my own gets me so far, but each time I hit a ceiling. And the last time I hit it, it hurt. Really hurt. It was so painful that I knew something had to change. If I was going to have the impact on the world I was meant to, I had to do things differently. I had to reach out, show some vulnerability, ask for help, get support, let people in.
That thought terrified me. But the thought of festering in squandered potential hurt more.
Support has opened a world of possibilities. As I have opened up and reached out, the self-imposed pressure has reduced, and stress declined. The short, sharp heady highs from hard-earned successes are giving way to innate happiness and wellbeing. Possibilities never apparent to me have opened up, and I'm learning from a world of wonderful people I never would've dared approach before. I no longer see a ceiling. I know the world is my limit. I believe I can do anything I want. Do I know how? No. Is that OK? Yes, because, with the peers, mentors, coaches, and communities I am now a part of, I know we will figure it out together, in time. Eeuuuoofff, what a relief.
I’m researching a book ‘Ambitions of a Lone Wolf’ (working title) and I'm looking for a wide spectrum of ‘wolves’ to interview. If any of the above resonates, I’d love to hear how this has driven your success, any down sides, and what ambitions might lie beyond your self-imposed ceiling. Research will be anonymised, analysed and shared to help wolves worldwide unleash their potential on the world. If interested get in touch.
Mehalah Beckett is a consultant, coach and trusted advisor passionate about people, the planet and empowering others to inspire positive change. She coaches purpose-driven leaders to impossible goals, hosts Masterminds for hungry entrepreneurs and guides businesses through B-Corp. What can I help you achieve in 2021?