Understanding The 5 Stages of Grief

April 3, 2020

Hey Evolving Entrepreneurs,

This post is all about change and how we deal with it.

Society is grieving. It is grieving the loss of a world filled with meetings, social gatherings, sports, going for coffee, dinners, etc. I have felt this grief.

Last week, sitting on my patio with the sun on my face, I was so distracted I could hardly think. Current events had my mind in a mental tailspin.

I felt indignant – This whole lockdown is stupid. It’s probably caused by 5G cell towers – social isolation isn’t going to help the problem.

I started getting angry at the situation – why are people panicking? Stop telling me to ‘stay the f#!% inside’. 

Then I started bargaining – It’s OK if I see friends and family, right? Tennis is fine, right?

Then I felt the weight of sadness – There goes my trip to Brazil. I miss my family and friends. Loneliness hurts.

And eventually, I started to accept my reality – Lockdown is real, and it’s going to carry on for months. What can I do with this time?

I stumbled upon an article on the 5+1 stages of grief that I found to be immensely helpful. These stages aren’t linear and may not happen in this order, but they certainly provide a scaffolding for the situation at hand:

  1. Denial – this virus won’t affect us/it’s an overreaction. People are panicking over nothing.
  2. Anger – you’re making me stay home and taking away my activities?
  3. Bargaining – if I stay home for 2 weeks I can resume life as usual, right?
  4. Sadness – This is awful. I miss the way things used to be.
  5. Acceptance – This is happening; I have to figure out how to make the most of the situation.

Beyond acceptance, there is one final stage of grief that often occurs in retrospect:

6. Meaning – I never would have discovered __ if not for the quarantine.

When your friends, family, colleagues, or staff members are grieving, simply explaining the grief stages can provide a world of support in and of itself. It lets the person know that what they are going through is perfectly normal, and there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

After Terry Fox died of cancer, countless thousands of lives have been saved by the ongoing fundraising efforts in his name.

After slavery, equal rights movements have ushered in a new era of social justice and equality… and Barack Obama became the first black president in the United States’s history.

Looking back, we can always find a greater meaning within the suffering that preceeded it.

I invite you, the reader, to ask yourself a few questions:

  • What was out of alignment with the way I was living my life before?
  • What is this grief meant to teach me?

And please be gentle with yourself when you catch yourself denying, getting angry, bargaining, or feeling sad about the situation. Is it possible that the pressure you put on yourself is part of your old way of doing things?

Your advisor,


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