Grieving and Bereavement In Entrepreneurship
Entrepreneurship is a big feat for any one to under take. You have to learn how to re-set your mindset so often, and unlearn the old meanings of success and redefine it for yourself. In the midst of going through all of that, life is still happening. Your family business and your family business may start to clash. In my case, it was giving care to a loved one, my Aunty, who had colon cancer and then a week after, losing one of my uncles to blood cancer. Now that they are both gone, I wanted to give three things that used to get me through the time whilst juggling my self in the middle of it.
1. Acknowledge What is Happening
Sometimes, when a life changing moment happens and you are in the middle of life, we may think that we can get back to it. In my case it was throwing myself into my work to just "try to cover it up until later". However, this is not healthy, it would, and in most cases can, start to manifest itself in different areas. Feeling lost when you are in a meeting and just zoning out in conversation, headaches, irritability etc When you acknowledge your bereavement it encourages you to work smarter, stop to rest and apply communication with clients and colleagues and promote the commencement of healing.
As I have said before, clients and colleagues make up a portion of anyone's entrepreneurial journey. They see you frequently and if you are in the start up stage, where you are the "every person" your interactions with them are going to be on an all time high. In my case I had to work with a team of people who I am not very close to. That last week of my aunt's life was hard because she needed extra care, and emotional support whilst I was still running my company GineOn.com with my husband. in between homes, helping to give hospice care. So I carefully worded and sent an email to those persons about what was happening and those days I would or wouldn't be available as well as asking kindly for extensions AND MEET THEM! Good luck for me, they were very understanding and things worked out for the most part. Also communicate and ask for help at home if you are giving care. Take turns when you can. In my case, it was my mum and cousin so we tried where we could to make everyone take time where they needed.
This was the hardest part for me to execute. I am a workaholic and love to work on my projects and create, because it fills me happiness. However, the guilt of resting, knowing that you are giving care, but not there was hard. We must understand that we can not give from an empty cup. Also, I had to realise this was coming from an ego driven place. Let me tell you how. I am telling myself, that I am fine - when I'm not - that I can do it all - when I am not and pushing myself to fumes and hurting the person I love because I cannot care of them at my optimal capacity. I had to learn a big lesson and truly understand that if I really love my aunt as much as I say I do, I would care for myself, because if she needed something and I couldn't provide for her, then that was my fault. I had the power to stop, let someone else help, charge back up myself emotionally and physically and give her the care she deserved.
If you need time - take it.
If you need help - ask.
There is no shame in letting people know what is going on so they don't treat you like, it's business as usual. Of course you don't have to give the full gamete but enough you can give enough information for others to understand what is happening.
To those of you going through similar experiences, know that you are doing everything you can, know that your loved ones love you back and they understand what you are doing for them. Eat, Rest, CRY say no 🚫 to things that you know, are too much to bear at this time
Also, check out the links below for additional information which may extend and add to what I have spoken about above.