How to Grow from Loss, Grief, Setback, and Struggle
“How can you even talk about this without breaking down?”
I asked this humbly, sincerely, to a colleague who was sharing with me a story about losing her sister to suicide.
This was in 2002. My younger brother, Dan, had just taken his own life. It’d been a few months since his death, and I couldn’t speak his name without crumbling.
She shared with me time heals, an adage I know we’re all familiar with. Yet, when we’re buried deep in our own pain, it’s hard to believe that this can still be possible … still true.
Yet, it’s been nearly 20 years since my brother’s passing and this conversation, and I’m so proud that I can not only speak his name with a smile, but I find ways to honor his life without focusing on the tragedy of his death.
Even more so, I can share his passing was an important inflection point for me. Losing him seared within me a conviction to live my life and take the risks most meaningful to me. He inspired me to dig into writing Leading from the Front and create my consulting business.
I’m sharing this with you because I know we’ve all experienced tremendous challenge and nearly all of us have lost something:
- A loved one – family member or friend
- Highly anticipated plans that were destroyed due to Covid
- A career move that just didn’t pan out
- A significant relationship that couldn’t bear the strain any longer
And all this hurts. And while we might walk around acting like everything’s okay, deep down many of us are pretty raw.
My guidance to you on your leadership journey is to still trust and believe. Trust if you do the work – clock in every morning with yourself, have honest internal conversations, and don’t hide from the discomfort – that you’ll get through this. The other piece is to believe. Believe in your future and its richness. Believe that something incredibly amazing may come from this experience. And while you shouldn’t focus on the outcome, focus on the process – the day-to-day, and the leadership you can offer yourself and others within these minutes and moments.
I’m with you.