You have the opportunity to provide meaningful moral support to someone in crisis as they navigate the uglier and more trying events that they face on the path. You could be the difference between the darkness and light and the key to working through the issue with grace and dignity. You are the gift that you yourself will need someday.
Life and business are not for the faint of heart. We spend our waking time on this earth attempting to win–stay healthy, do a good job at work, put some money away, raise some decent kids, enjoy time with a romantic partner, make a mark, leave a legacy and just add value every day. And yet, the opportunities for loss are staggering, endless and often severe. Short periods of triumph and tragedy punctuate the long sentence of hard work. Sometimes we have transcendent moments of sublime joy and other times we hit the wall hard and face the worst parts of the human condition.
One such loss is the loss of a job or client. It's might be less traumatic than the loss of a loved one, the outright failure of a business and the loss of an entire life's savings or the discovery of a life-threatening disease but it is one of the common stresses we endure as people.
In the clip below, from the movie Up In the Air, the character played with such dignity by George Clooney demonstrates the grace possible in helping a fellow member of the big human life boat deal with a shitty day.
There are two ways to deal with real loss or the possibility of real loss. Most of us naturally connect with the threat side of the loss: the exit of something very important. This is a very understandable reaction to a challenging situation with a large spectrum of emotions. These feelings are very real and often very intense. If I am supporting a person through a loss situation, job one is to be there and support the grieving process in a way that works for that person.
As they are processing their feelings and when they are ready, which is faster or slower depending on the nature and size of the loss and the temperament of the injured party, there will come a time to look for the unique opportunity in the loss. I do this with permission and great care.
The unique opportunity in every loss or potential loss is to connect with what's really important. It's really easy to lose sight of the dream in the hustle and bustle of life. All losses are a form of wake-up call. The purpose of the loss, as harsh as it might be to suggest, is to help us reconnect with that which we value most. That we can lose it is what makes it so valuable.