The Loneliness of the Road Less Traveled

This is a great idea!

The relief. The liberation. The excitement. The motivation. All of these things accompany leaving something behind that you may have enjoyed to an extent, could do very well, and more than just paid the bills. Why is that? We all want to be and strive to be self-sufficient. With a plan intact, the idea of going after what you want, how you want, and where you want is not only viable but almost like you are presenting yourself with a personal (and professional) challenge. You have now forced your own hand and are going all in on your passion. The idea in itself creates an adrenalin rush of sorts, but as we all know these sensations are temporary. At the outset of such an endeavor what you must really ask yourself is not “Can I do this?,” but instead, “How can I prepare my mind to withstand the loneliness that accompanies going all in?”

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Multiple Personalities

It has been 84 days since my family and I left Austin, moved in with my in-laws in a small town in Virginia, and relied on my military retirement to supplement my needs and habits in the interim. We looked at quality of life, finances, proximity to family, and much much more. From a logical perspective my wife and my Pros and Cons list all pointed to this being the right decision. We got here, settled in a bit, and spent some good quality family and friends time together. Once that was over, I began a sprint towards making content about my journey, while also offering local businesses my services (or me practicing my desired craft) for free. The results were great! People listened, I felt empowered, and I helped these businesses establish Instagram accounts, I screened their other social media, and I made minor content for them. I was on a roll. I then began vlogging, built my website, and started networking like crazy. I would call this version of me: Driven Rich.

Likes. Followers. Views. Comments. I mean seriously, how can you possibly avoid looking at these social media insights as a measure of your success or trajectory? This may not apply to everyone, but I think this is just another way of using others to determine if you’re likable. This is really dangerous territory because after all you left everything behind to do what you want; not to get an ego boost. The road less traveled offers exactly the converse if you haven’t figured that out already. Often times in the past I’ve wrongly appropriated a ton of energy into contemplating what others think of me in order to validate my contributions and value. The thing is that I delivered results and my performance consistently excellent. When I noticed that that didn’t mean so much and that many evaluations focused more on what you aren’t doing I fell into a mental abyss of doubt, anger, and sadness.

What is about me that they don’t like? Performance and likability are mutually exclusive for consummate professionals, but all too often people like me struggle to distinguish the two when on the receiving end. In the absence of having others regularly critique you, not only do you lose out on the opportunity to have discussions related toward your performance (which can sometimes induce growth), but the onus is now on you to conduct such assessments. For those of us who truly believe in ourselves I don’t think it’s that far-fetched to surmise that we are going to be much harder on ourselves than anyone could ever be. It is an odd relationship. We know what we are capable of already and we know our potential. Yet, when we fall short or feel as if we are not making clear tangible strides towards success, it can cause a relapse in confidence and a trip into Doubtville. I would call this version of me: Overly Self Critical Rich.

No one and I mean NO ONE is going to see you through your journey except you. That may seem quite obvious and simple to conceptualize. But,when you are on a very well traveled path in an established organization, big or small, the boundaries are visible. The stability, unless you are a bottom performer or hate what you do, reduces stress. There’s much more traffic on that path so you are usually not alone. You also know that path leads to somewhere.

Green Park, London

Green Park, London

When you pick your passion you are alone. The road less traveled might not even resemble a road. It may be bushy, thorny, rocky, soggy, and just plain shitty. You don’t know the boundaries, there is no stability, and you have no idea what you will find at the end. It’s harder and that’s why many can’t and won’t do it. Yet here I am. All of my accolades and achievements in life have been accomplished often times in unorthodox and turbulent ways. So this is no different.

I have not written in three weeks. I need more practical application of video editing. I haven’t been watching the tutorials I’ve saved. I haven’t called my family. I gained 14 pounds since I left Austin.

Fuck it. I’m writing right now. I edited for two hours yesterday and will do some more later today. I watched some tutorials yesterday and began a workflow checklist because checklists work. I ran 5 miles yesterday and am hitting the gym today. No dwelling. No self-victimization. Get out of my way. I would call this version of me: Resilient Rich.

Overcoming the LONELINESS

You know what I’ve realized? Every single time I’ve told someone who I am, what I’m doing, and what I want to do - they are engaged. I told my waitress this morning and she shared some learning points from a family-living-with-family situation. It was great advice. I reached out to some veterans in the industry. I’ve reached out to some young filmmakers who were mature beyond their years and gave me unbelievable perspective. I hate talking to people next to me on airplanes, but I had an incredible conversation with a guy. It ended with him offering my wife and I access to a property he has in Abruzzo, Italy next time we are in Europe. I am a guest on the Next Level People podcast tomorrow.


See, at some of the places I’ve worked you could be surrounded by hundreds of people and STILL feel lonely. Something about you may just not fit in. This may seem irrational but it can also be very instinctual. I trust my instincts. In my current endeavor I can choose whom I interact with, follow, lean on, etc. I’m not stuck with what I’ve got. The impacts of not feeling completely comfortable in an occupation affect far less people and as a leader this is critical.

So while I’m so very alone, it has really kickstarted a path to legitimate self-discovery that will / is shaping my perceptions in a manner that the path most traveled can’t. The quietness and the unpredictability aren’t detriments, they are tools that allow for creativity, inspiration, and molding the me I really want to be. Loneliness is a byproduct of what you feel about yourself. Going after your passion alone may make you very afraid of confronting beliefs about yourself, your values, your relationships etc. However, you will become less afraid. You will become more comfortable with yourself. Ultimately, you will become less lonely and realize sometimes you are all that you need.

Until next time! If you haven’t subscribed to my social media channels please do!