What if the Time Suck is Grief?
Life is messy and filled with loss. Whether it’s the death of a loved one, the ending of a relationship, or a lost opportunity – all can cause tremendous grief. As recruiters and entrepreneurs, we’re expected to push forward. Should we shove down the grief and keep going? Nope. This is not the best course of action. Grief hits everyone. We all lose people we love, relationships end, and opportunities are lost. These are unavoidable circumstances. If you’re experiencing grief and it’s impacting your life (which it always does), there are a few steps you can take to provide yourself with the care necessary to endure.
First, communicate your grief. I know it feels awkward, and even weak. But it’s not. It’s appropriate and welcomed from others around you. You might even share the circumstances in context of the impact this event might have on them. It could go something like this, “I’m currently struggling with (the loss of a parent, an impending divorce, medical ambiguity, intense family drama, etc.), and wanted to make you aware in case there are moments when I’m short or unexpectedly need to step away.” Yes, it feels awkward, but I want you to step into the shoes of the other person. If someone said that to you, would you think them weak or would you respect them for sharing the information, and more importantly, would you give them an appropriate amount of grace? I’m sure you’d give them grace, and people will do the same for you, if you let them.
Next, take the time to mourn. It sometimes feels easier to shove the pain down and trudge forward. This is a short-term and ineffective solution. I don’t often quote a TV show, but I saw something on Shrinking (Apple TV) about aggressive grieving and it resonated with me. When you find yourself ready to bubble over (for me, it’s unexpected tears I struggle to hold back), take 15 minutes. Go to a room by yourself and aggressively mourn. This means cry as hard as you can. Sob. Release. Curl up in a ball. Get the pent- up emotion out of your physical body. When the timer goes off (yes, use a timer), pull yourself together and step back into your life. It’s highly cathartic and honors our human need for mourning. Everything is easier to cope with if your bucket isn’t full. Aggressive grieving tips the bucket.
Lastly, ask for help. Know what you need and overcome the fear of asking someone to do something for you. There’s an odd dichotomy in play when someone is grieving. The people close to you want to help you. But when you’re grieving, it all feels so heavy, and we don’t want to burden the people we love with the pain we’re feeling. It’s counterintuitive but stay with me. By asking for help, you’ll give them an opportunity to feel useful, when they feel powerless and that there’s nothing they can do to help. You’re actually doing them a great service by specifically asking for assistance. It never feels that way in the moment, but trust me, this is how it works. The upside to grief is the increased bonds we develop with those still in our lives, but only if we open up to them.
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Tricia Tamkin, headhunter, advisor, coach, and gladiator. Tricia has spoken at over 50 recruiting events, been quoted in multiple national publications, and her name is often dropped in groups as the solution to any recruiters’ challenges. She brings over 30 years of deep recruiting experience and offers counsel in a way which is perspective changing and entertaining.