In “The President’s Analyst”, a 1967 satirical movie, James Coburn is chosen to be the psychological analyst to the President of the United States. In the beginning, it’s a pretty sweet deal. He gets an upgrade on his home and is moved into an exclusive neighbourhood. He’s even given a swank office (“swank” – remember, this is set in the mid-’60s), he’s given a swank office that connects to the White House through a secret tunnel.
In the movie, the psychologist played by Coburn is pretty excited with the prospect of his new patient. It looks like it’s going to be a great gig with enviable perks. The President is a prestigious client for any professional to serve. He is also one demanding customer. The analyst is expected to be on-call at the whim of the President. Coburn does not get to enjoy any of the advantages of his position; his client is constantly calling at all hours requesting immediate access to his analyst. Coburn’s movie girlfriend exclaims, “I thought analysts kept regular hours.”
In the spirit of the 1960s, there is a lot of political satire and the tensions between “big government” and regular people. Coburn’s character can no longer handle the stress of the job and wants out, but they won’t let him go because he knows too many secrets. Coburn is paranoid; and, they are out to get him.
Isolation: The modern world has provided tools that allow us to work from anywhere at any time. Our clients can contact us at all hours and expect an immediate response. We can end up isolated – especially as freelance professionals – some clients can be quite demanding and expect instant, unbounded access. And where do we turn to express our feelings, share plans, dreams, brainstorm, or sometimes, simply rant.
Research is telling us of “a dramatic decrease…in the number of people with ties that bind them to others.” We know that we live happier, healthier lives when we have strong social connections, a strong network. We are slipping in the wrong direction on a fundamental human need.
Part of the disconnectedness we experience is cultural – we place value on those that “go it alone” or “the maverick” who does not to ask for help. We perpetuate isolation. The deal is this: whether you are a freelancer, business owner, manager, or individual contributor, we are isolated.
Perhaps this is resonating with you. There is good news about isolation: you’re not alone! There is something that can be done to break isolation. I am a part of a mastermind* group in an organization headed by Aaron Walker. He’s very clear that the benefit of a mastermind is to “break isolation”. This declaration hit me deeply. That’s exactly what we need and why I am a member of a mastermind.
In the movie, Coburn’s character feels trapped by the demands of his client, and he feels the isolation of not having confidential support of those who will let him share what’s inside his head. In the movie, he is alone.
It might be isolation is a part of your world; surrounded by people yet not free to express or share. I recommend you consider a mastermind. Meeting weekly with people that can be trusted to keep the information confidential; those who ask questions and encourage critical thinking; who hold each other accountable. There is responsibility in being a member of such a group – you must contribute.
I strongly suggest you look for a mastermind group that will meet your needs. If you cannot find one that meets your needs, then create one. If you are serious about making a change – and willing to give up something, because investing in yourself is a commitment – if you are ready to move toward your real potential, then get involved.
I mentioned that I am a member of a mastermind, it has made a world of difference in my life, so much so, that I am launching a mastermind group. If you want to learn more, then let’s chat. You can find time on my calendar at dscottsmith.com/contactscott. I will tell you this is not for everyone. If you desire to improve, you must be willing to give up something. There is a time commitment to meet each week (no substitutes allowed) and be ready to work on identifying goals, plans to meet those goals, and accept responsibility and accountability toward goal achievement.
You are going to have to give up something. James Coburn, as the President’s Analyst, should give up his toxic client. Some will have to sacrifice a binge or two on Netflix. Others will have to give up inefficiency or choose to delegate to others. We all have 24 hours and they are completely filled each day. Some of that filler is unnecessary and should be purged. Some of what fills our hours and days will just have to take a lower priority. Breaking isolation is important.
Are you willing to give up something to break isolation?
About D. Scott Smith, Motivational Listener: 85% of jobs are never posted and the best referrals come from word-of-mouth (from a business network). Most of us never took a class on how to build a network, or what to ACTUALLY DO when we go to a networking event. I teach a science-based method of building a business network.
There is a podcast of this post available where you listen. You can learn more by joining my closed Facebook Group, "Business Networking Tips". I will place links in the comments.
*A mastermind is a group of individuals who meet regularly with a moderator to provide structure, support, and accountability.