“At what cost?” this book arrived on my tablet as I curled into the window seat, still wearing pajamas, wrapped in my blanket, sipping coffee as rain splattered against the glass. Life during the COVID pandemic has been one long stream of continuing loss. My business partner and I both lost our mother’s during the past six months and grieving wasn’t allowed. We were not allowed to mourn our loss, because gatherings were forbidden.
So, how could I bring her through this, while I suffered through it myself?
I read through each chapter, tears flowing. Until I reached chapter 7. SNAP! I realized that I’d been struggling with the mourning process, and struggling with helping my partner, because I expected our experiences to be similar. But they weren’t. And I was failing badly, because I hadn’t realized the differences, or even adjusted to dealing with those differences in our grieving styles.
I must have read that one chapter a dozen times, before I flipped back to the page before the chapter, where I found this quote:
“The true price of leadership is the willingness to place the needs of others above your own. Great leaders truly care about those they are privileged to lead and understand that the true cost of the leadership privilege comes at the expense of self-interest.”
—Simon Sinek, author of Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t
My coffee cup was empty and the kids had started appearing for breakfast. I had work to do, but I had my answer. I needed to allow my business partner to grieve in her own way, and love her through that, because she was grieving differently from me. I was the leader. I was the front runner in our business. It was my job to pull ahead and lead for a while, even though I had suffered a loss too. Mine was different from hers, and I could step up and lead, because that’s what leaders do.
I’ll be ordering a hard copy of this book, because the profound message I found within the scrolling pages on my tablet empowered me to adjust my leadership path. These skills have enlightened my reality and given me a grip on the anguish that comes with grief, an ability to understand how others grieve. But even more, they’ve given me an understanding of what grief looks like and how to help people through those difficult moments. I felt stronger for having read the book, and more… I felt like I had learned enough skills to not only help myself find the assurance necessary to get back into the job and fulfill my goals, but to help my business partner over this rough spot in our relationship. I knew that together we would be able to meet our professional obligations and finish the jobs that were waiting for our attention.
I decided not to share the book with her right away, but I’ll order her a copy of the hard cover too. We both need this one, because we will be serving together through our grief for a long time.
by Kendall Townsend, posted by Garth Thomas