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Dealing with Loss – The Grief/Change Cycle

We all may be experiencing a form of loss at this point. Therefore, I thought it would be good to talk about loss via the Kubler-Ross Grief Cycle. As I looked into it, I found that they had developed a Change Curve which is so appropriate for what we are dealing with today. Right now, we are all dealing with changes, and based on our last blog article, we know that we deal with it differently due to our varying work styles. The Kubler-Ross Change Curve defines the phases you may be going through as you face the abrupt and intrusive changes provoked by the Coronavirus Pandemic.

As we grieve the temporary loss of an open and engaged lifestyle that involved travel, dining out, going to the gym, attending large events where there were a lot of people and actually being able to hug and shake hands, we will likely experience the various phases of this Change Cycle. It is important that we move through the cycle and reach the phases of Experiment, Decision and Integration, where we can find the positive coming out of this situation and begin planning our next steps with our family, friends and business ventures.

How you deal with Change (our previous blog topic), will influence how quickly you move through this cycle and advance up the curve toward more positive thoughts and activities.

If we are on the downward slope of this curve we are most likely operating in a place of fear where we feel a loss of control, diminishing morale and confidence, and we struggle to see the end. Our thoughts and feelings may align with the first 4 stages of the Change Curve.

1. Shock – “I can’t believe it.”

2. Denial – “This isn’t real.”

3. Frustration – “I’m just mad! How can I possibly stay home?”

4. Depression – “I’m worried about what is going to happen. I feel helpless.”

If you are here or if you have slipped back to these phases (note, that you can go backwards from time to time), then you need information, to get the facts, to talk it through with others and to communicate with others, all of which will help to move you to the upward side of the Change Curve. This is where we all need to be.

When we reach the upward side (positive) of the Change Curve, we are working from a place of purpose. Our thoughts and feelings shift to a more positive, action-oriented perspective.

5. Experiment – “I’m putting my toe in and starting to focus on what I can control.”

6. Decision – “Okay, I have skills that I can contribute toward helping me, my family and/or the world. I’m going to get started with my new focus.”

7. Integration – “I’m excited about my new world and am actively working to embrace the change and bring the world hope.”

Getting to the upward segment of this curve is so critical for all of us to achieve. Think about all of the positive that is happening in your life right now and the opportunities that could be in your future. Be grateful for all that you have and focus on this versus what you have lost or can’t control. A sense of gratitude is an important first step in this new journey. And then, begin to take small steps toward enjoying this time and finding new opportunities in your world where you can add value.

“Live life, not as a problem to be solved, but as a mystery to be enjoyed.”

During these difficult times, ExecuInsight LLC is here to help you. It is more important than ever to consider our executive and career coaching services. Take a look at our website: If you are interested, please send a note to

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