Note: The 5 Stages of Grief were originally written to describe the process patients go through upon finding out about an illness. Each stage is different for each individual and the views expressed below are entirely from my own research and experience. If reading about this is triggering for you in any way, please reach out to services like Lifeline for support.
I know that this is not news, but I’m going to say it anyway.
Getting knocked back SUCKS.
One of the costs of being a Big Active Dreamer is the feeling of things not happening the way that you had dreamed it would be. And a recent experience of defeat really hit me hard.
So, context: I had a big meeting coming up with a potential client of mine. I was ALL KINDS of excited for the meeting withbig ideas of how the meeting would go. I let myself feel exactly what the Best Case Scenario would feel like once it was a reality. Then I went to the meeting. To say that it didn’t go the way I had dreamed it would is an understatement.
But why share this with all of you?
Because I teach mindset. I coach my clients to be able to reframe, to shift their perspective, to not allow “setbacks” to actually set them back. This is stuff that I know. I live and breathe it.
And yet it still took me two whole days to get over myself and get moving. I started cringing as I wrote this because #howembarrassing , and then I realised that no, it’s not embarrassing at all.
After walking out of that meeting, I sat in my car and took a deep breath. I laughed a little to myself and immediately went into Win Mode. I, with no prompting, started to think through all the reasons why the meeting went exactly the way that it needed to, that there were so many positives from the meeting and how these were going to inform my next steps. I’ve trained myself to see the Wins, and see anything else ONLY as opportunities for growth (no losses here!)
I drove home and promptly started watching Grey’s Anatomy, deciding that I needed a rest after the last few days of prepping for this big meeting. And this is where I slipped into the First Stage of Grief: Denial. (If you haven’t already heard of the Five Stages of Grief, you can read a bit about it here).
Stage 1: Denial
Why would I be grieving over the outcome of a meeting? If you had asked me then I would have laughed at you. Ask me now? I have a bit more insight.
I let myself get attached to the meeting itself and a specific process and a specific outcome. What actually happened didn’t exactly line up with what I had imagined, and so I felt like I had failed.
Stage 2: Anger
My immersion in the next Stage of Grief came swiftly and without warning. I was frustrated with myself for not making it happen. As if I had complete control over the situation and it was a lacking on my part that resulted in the meeting happening the way it did.
I was irritated at family members for not being more supportive and understanding. For drawing focus to the negatives of the situation when I was fighting so hard to focus on the opposite.
I was anxious about any next steps. Where do I go from here? How do I bounce back from this? Let’s just say I wasn’t the funnest person to be around.
Stage 3: Bargaining
Then hit Stage 3. I started telling myself that it was all a sign. That I was pushing too hard for a dream that wasn’t worth it or wasn’t meant to be. I made excuses to take me out of the game and relinquish my responsibility to get up and get it done. I would hint at these ideas to my partner, searching for an external confirmation of the limits I was setting for myself. Iw as met with a frustrating brick wall with a mirror. He gave me nothing but the opportunity to take a good look at myself and nothing else. And only then, as we were sitting at a cafe and I sighed and said, “I Just need to get over myself,” did he actually say, “Yep, exactly,” with a laugh. 🙃
Stage 4: Depression
Knowing that to do next without really knowing what to do next, I slipped into Stage 4. I do feel like “depression” is too strong a word to describe what I was feeling. What I did feel was completely overwhelmed and a little helpless. I knew that I needed to get moving. This knowledge did little to actually spur me into action though.
This is where my mindset training kicked in. The leap from Stage 4 to Stage 5 can be the most brutal, the most time-consuming and the most overwhelming. But I got to the Promised Land of…
Stage 5: Acceptance.
Now it’s time to move on.
Key word being move.
Now all of this happened in the span of a weekend. Quite quickly I’ll admit (though this doesn’t even compete with Homer Simpson).