The Death of Small Business…

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When it’s time to let go . . .


     As I’ve been reminded again twice this week, facing death is never easy, and I think I can make that statement with some conviction because I’ve probably experienced all kinds and proximities of death in one way or another. Some (like family members, heroes and pets) can be devastating; some take a lesser toll, but none escape the memory banks.

     Now this may seem like an inappropriate transition into business, but — if you really think about it — it’s  not. Our businesses are living, breathing entities that are devoid of emotion but that maintain all the outward expressions of existence. Our businesses actually experience all the highs and lows that we’ve come to associate as the exclusive domain of human life.

     If you’ve ever had to close down or bankrupt a business, or experience major business losses due to fire, flood, earthquake, burglary, or embezzlement, you surely can relate to this . . .

     Elizabeth Kübler-Ross, the world’s foremost expert on “death and dying,” identified the five emotional stages we all experience:

1)Denial and Isolation  2)Anger  3)Bargaining  4)Depression  5)Acceptance 


     She said all of us must experience each of these five stages to one degree or another in the order they are shown with EVERY loss experience. Some of course get stuck and never make it to #5. As business owners, managers, and entrepreneurs, we experience bits and pieces of these five stages with daily losses.

     Kübler-Ross noted losses are not limited to human death, and can  include the loss of a limb or faculty, or ability … loss of a valuable possession (home, car, a business), loss of companionship (including divorce and separation), loss of freedom (including jail), loss of a job, loss of a client, loss of a prospect or opportunity, loss of self-esteem, loss of authority, etc.

     To a lesser degree, we even experience these stages when we lose a dollar, a photograph, a letter, an address, a contest, and so on. So what’s the point? 

Healthy successful people do everything humanly possible to channel all their energies and mental focus on reaching the Stage of ACCEPTANCE as quickly as possible, and on maintaining themselves at that level as permanently as possible.”

     Everything else is non-productive. Everything else leaves us feeling deflated, defeated, and negative. Some stay in these places their entire lives. Some are institutionalized. Some don’t survive.

     Stages 1-4 are pure torment. We must go through them, but the goal needs to be to move through them as rapidly as our minds and bodies allow us to. Getting through the maze may take friends and rescuers. We have all performed that function for someone else, but perhaps have forgotten?  

     Keep always in the front of your mind that no matter how hopeless it may feel to be stuck somewhere in denial and isolation, or in anger, or in a bargaining position, or a state of depression, it IS a matter of choice!

     The minute we choose to accept loss, and continue to choose that, the quicker we can get on with a happy and productive existence and make the most of the short time we each have here on Earth … make the most of the relationships and purposes we’ve been blessed with.

     We need not choose to lock ourselves into suffering and misery. Life and business life are way too short to have wasted time and energy with anything besides being happy and healthy and in active pursuit of our dreams.


Thanks for visiting. Go for your goals! God Bless You!

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