This week, we talk about grief, but not the type that happens when someone dies. Growth grief is the cacophony of emotions experienced at the end of one chapter of your business. Whether you’re moving away from a partnership or embracing a new path in your entrepreneurial journey, our bodies and brains will process this change and grieve, no matter how often we claim we “don’t have time for it.” Even if the change is welcomed, space for grieving is necessary!
In this episode, I cover…
- [00:00] Why growth grief catches us off guard
- [05:05] What happens when we don’t give ourselves the time or space to grieve
- [08:47] What grief really is and how to identify the many emotions involved
- [14:43] How to process through the 5 stages of grief as a rhythm of entrepreneurship
- [23:15] When our grief “deserves” the airtime and how to contend with our thoughts about grief
It’s important to me that my clients feel their feelings and experience all emotions, so I bring that up frequently on One Year from Now. However, the emotions we feel when in growth grief are complicated and conflicting. We shouldn’t deny our feelings by claiming that our only reaction to growth should be happiness, when it’s often much more complicated than that.
“You will have thoughts of judgment on top of your grief that says you shouldn’t be grieving, you shouldn’t feel sad. ‘I’m making more money, how is it that I feel sad?’ But there is an ending to grieve.”
Grief catches us off guard, and growth grief always hits when we want to be feeling our best about something new and exciting happening in our business. Although it’s easy to harbor anger and resentment towards your body and brain’s reactions, not letting ourselves progress through our grief cycle stunts our growth and limits our potential.
“Write down what emotions you are feeling and let them be at odds with each other. Let them be in tension with each other. You can feel, at any point in time, both relief and anger.”
“I don’t have time for this!” Our brains, especially as entrepreneurs, tell us this all the time. Feelings are seen as distractions when we want to get our work done and continue growing. Unfortunately, grief cannot be bargained with. You cannot dam up the river of your feelings by bargaining with them, because that dam won’t be able to hold forever.
“This is a reason we don’t like grieving because we cannot control how long it takes. The only thing you can do is be available and hold space for yourself. I will tell you right now, every time you go, ‘I don’t have time for this,’ it will take longer.”
All things have to come to an end, but that doesn’t mean we want them to. Projects, partnerships, and other elements of your business change and grow as you continue on your path to success. Being sad and letting yourself express that sadness does not take away from your success, it actually helps you make room to welcome that success into your life.
“When I have the wherewithal to be actively depressed, meaning I’m making room for myself just to feel nothing, or deep sadness, and I’m not resisting it, that is an act of self love. It’s also an act of grieving and making room for these experiences.”
Growth grief isn’t just a series of stages, it’s a cycle. It will happen over and over again, because you’re human, you’re an entrepreneur, and you’re growing in every aspect of your life. Accepting that growth grief has happened and will happen again allows you to progress on your journey with compassion for yourself and confidence in your strength.
“You have to have compassion for the fact that grief is a thing you will experience, not just when someone you love dies. It will happen as different stages of your business die, as parts of your identity, as you mature, die.”
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