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Grieving Your Business

authorIcon By Keith H

Even though the world has hit the pause button, life still happens.

I discovered this recently when the phone call came informing me that a dear friend, of over 20 years, passed away suddenly. One month before his 46th birthday.  No, it wasn’t due to COVID-19, and if it was, it’s unknown whether or not it would have made the news any more palatable.

When the news came, there was the instinctive response of “no!” Denial.  

Then of course denial decided to do some push-ups and become anger. 

Unfortunately, this was then followed by the exhaustive emotion of guilt 

Guilt, predictably enough, sunk into a lonely pit of depression

Culminating in the 4th quarter emotional comeback of acceptance.

Sound familiar?

Is this how many of you, especially business owners, felt when the news of COVID-19 spread like a California Wildfire in July?

The purpose of this blog is to try and understand the emotional toll we are paying during the pandemic. 

 

Studies show that those who are able to differentiate between their emotions are not only much more productive, they are also less depressed. And I’m pretty sure it’s not hyperbole to say many of us would do anything right now to feel a little less depressed.

 

What we’re going to do is go through each of the stages of grief, in no specific order or preference, and put a face and name to it. However, unlike mourning a death or end of a relationship, we are going to keep this contained within the professional world.

It’s our hope, by the time you’re done reading, you’re able to understand what and why you're feeling and how it’s okay that you’re feeling that way.  Because, and we can’t stress this enough, you’re not alone with these emotions. 

And sometimes that knowledge alone is as comforting as a bowl of mom’s hot tomato soup on a dreary day.

 

DENIAL

“It’s only the flu...”

“It only hurts the sick and the elderly...”

“Once it gets warm, we’ll be just fine…”

Even though frequenting a thesaurus has become a pastime to kill the time during this pandemic—it’s pretty obvious those statements would fall under the category of denial. Some may say ignorance, and who are we to disagree, but for the sake of the theme of this blog, let’s call it denial. 

We don’t want to accept mortality, especially when it comes to something we birthed. And many of us know this in our bones--the business we created has a pulse. It has a life of its own and we are the ones responsible for feeding it, nurturing it and keeping it alive. 

And to be informed that something out of our control may take this and kill it--we don’t want to accept it. 

And that’s okay. 

But it’s enough to piss you off, right?

 

ANGER

You could almost set your watch to it, the anger that is. Losing our temper is losing control. And nothing is more infuriating than losing control over losing control. The loss of freedom. The autonomy we covet so much we’re willing to push everyone and everything off to the side so we can focus on the freedom being an entrepreneur provides.

The sacrifice. And now, now it’s being threatened. 

Actually, if you aren’t angry about this, then you may not have worked hard enough.  Heck, we know people with yoga studios who are genuinely furious about this. 

And it’s okay.  

So, what do we do? We work. Because that’s what we know how to do...Yet, you ask yourself, “is this what I should be doing right now?” 

Yeah, there is a word for that second-guessing.

 

Guilt

Here’s a conundrum--You need to shelter in place, but what happens when the livelihood of that shelter is contingent upon the livelihood of your business?  Plus, if that wasn’t enough, you’re responsible for feeding not only your family but the families of your staff.

What do you do? You try to sell your goods and services, right? That’s how you generate revenue. 

But how dare you ask someone to buy something from you when they just lost their job and have no clue when they’ll be able to go back to work?

This is a harsh, harsh reality for many of you. And it makes you feel really damn guilty. And for some, that is the worst feeling anyone can have.  Hell, there’s a good reason why it’s a deadly sin, right? 

And it’s okay. 

Unfortunately, many of us desperately despise conflict and guilt is the feeling of conflict on steroids.  

So, what do we do? Nothing? And by nothing, we mean lying in bed all day watching reruns of a guy with blond mullet abusing tigers. 

Some would call this…

 

Depression

There was this time playing football when being hit really hard and not knowing where you were was labeled as “having your bell rung.”

Today, we accurately define it as a concussion.

There was a time when someone felt hopeless and it was called being “down in the dumps.”

Today, we accurately define it as depression. 

And it sucks. It feels like a numb pain.  And it feels like it will never go away. 

And that’s okay.  

You’re exhausted. Every fiber of your physical, mental, spiritual, and emotional being has just run an ultra marathon through the Mojave. And you don’t know when it’s going to end. 

We’re here to tell you, that we feel you. Why?

 

Acceptance

Recently we posted a blog about when is the best time to create more content. We said now. We provided an example of a man who owned a luxury pool company during the housing crisis and how he decided to engage his audience, his customers, directly. Today, he’s one of the most successful pool companies in the world. 

Why do we mention that? Because he understood that the world was going through this massive crisis and would never be the same. So, what did he do? Did he lay in bed watching endless hours of mindless television while crushing a bag of Takis? 

No. He accepted what was happening. Made a decision. And acted on it. 

And that’s okay. 

He did what he needed to do. But realize this, he did something.

And something, more often than not, will yield more results than doing nothing. 

Just don’t decide what to do during a Joe Exotic rendition of “These Eyes.” 

 

Conclusion

Typically, when you create something as a business it’s imperative that it have a call to action or a value proposition for the consumer.

That is not the case with this piece. 

 

Our purpose is to let you know to not deny the denial.

Our purpose is to let you know that you’re not Bruce Banner and your anger won’t turn you into some Incredible Hulk.

Our purpose is to let you know that you don’t have to feel guilty about doing what is a part of everyone's DNA’s--fight for survival. 

Our purpose is to let you know that you neither have to feel bad about being sad nor sad about feeling bad. 

Our purpose is to let you know that there is peace in acceptance. And there is also a duty contained within it. 

 

And our purpose is to let you know that you’re not alone.

That together is how we get through this. Our purpose is to share with you what we are going through, what we’re experiencing, what we’re thinking, feeling, and processing…

It is our purpose to let you know we are all #AloneTogether.

 

In loving memory of Casey Grant. 

 

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