Good Grief

Hello, I'm Stephen Smith and today we're going to talk about grief. I've been thinking a lot about grief lately. The word often conjures up a widow mourning for her partner. But, you know, grief has a much broader definition. Grief is part of processing the loss of something important. You know, that could be your career, your health, a hometown you left behind, or really any number of things.

A psychologist who worked with me as a business coach, introduced this concept to me a couple of years ago. My wife and I had sold the marketing agency that we started, and we ran for 24 years, and I was working through some career shifts. During one of our coaching sessions, she said to me, "You haven't given yourself space to grieve." "Grieve? I said. I was really surprised at her statement. I said, "Well what do I have to grieve?" I mean, after all, this was exactly what I wanted to grow a business and find a strategic acquirer who could take our business to the next level. Someone who would care for employees and our clients. A company and a partner that would preserve the legacy of what we had built.

Well, my coach went on to explain that something very close to my heart was now gone. And it was no longer part of my life, and that I needed to acknowledge the impact of that. This business that had been the core of our family for a quarter century, you know, it was it was part of our lives and all of the wins and the losses and the highs and lows, those were very personal. Well, she was right. And I realized that despite my satisfaction with the deal, that part of me ached at a hole that was left inside of me. Something that we had built from scratch was no longer ours and I had to process that loss.

I thought of that recently when I reached a turning point in my journey with the rare disease myasthenia gravis. There have been times I believe the disease was totally under control and that my life could go back to what it was. Multiple work projects and home projects, traveling, networking, growing my business, enjoying recreational activities and such. I've been in a particularly challenging season with the disease, especially this year, and, you know, I've had to force myself to admit the truth. That my life's never going to be the same again. I've got to pace myself. I've got to adjust to a schedule that's less packed. I've got to take on fewer projects and generally just slow down. That realization, I guess, has been years in the making. But, you know, immediately after this became clear to me and I acknowledged it out loud... yeah, that's when the grief set in.

Some of the things now lost to me were important parts of my identity. This podcast and its companion newsletter are part of that redefining process. Along the way, I'll be talking with others who are on similar journeys and sharing more of my personal experiences. Thanks for coming along. I invite you to visit and subscribe to the newsletter. And please share these resources with others you know who are looking to discover and pursue their own version of a rare life.
Good Grief
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