“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.
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 that 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.
It’s now been nearly 20 years since my brother’s passing, and I’m proud to say that I can not only speak his name with a smile, but also find ways to honor his life without focusing on the tragedy of his death.
Even more so, I can share that 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 start Lead Star with Courtney.
I’m sharing this with you because I know that the past 18+ months haven’t been easy for any of us. We’ve all experienced tremendous challenge and nearly all of us have lost something:
- A loved one – family member or friend – to Covid
- Highly anticipated plans that were destroyed due to lockdown or restrictions
- The sense of security or control in our lives
- A business we’ve built so carefully and deliberately
- A significant relationship that couldn’t bear the strain any longer
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.