Learn to say good-bye … so your business can thrive

by | Dec 25, 2013 | Entrepreneurship, Power Thoughts

Irrfan Khan  in Life of Pi“I suppose in the end, the whole of life becomes an act of letting go, but what always hurts the most is not taking a moment to say good-bye.”
~ Irrfan Khan as Pi from Life of Pi, screen play written by David Magee based on the novel by Yann Martel

What this quote means to business:
Today is Christmas … a day I strongly associate with family. And, as you read this I’m spending the day with the only family member I have left, my Mom.

Growing up, the holidays were all about going to Abuelos’ house. Gramma would fill her house in San Francisco with the smells of her wonderful cooking … and I’ll always remember the aroma of love that filled the place.

The Christmas process was this: Christmas Eve, open gifts from family and friends. Christmas morning, discover what Santa brought. Christmas afternoon, dinner at Abuela’s house.

Grandma died in 1984 and the holidays have never been the same. I wasn’t able to say a proper good-bye because she died the day I left on my journey to be an exchange student in England. By the time I got there, I was practically deaf from crying so much on all the plane rides. It took me years before I could finally say good-bye on my own. But I did, and I received some relief and closure.

Without Gramma to make the meals, we improvised and kept up the tradition with time spent with Abuelo. Then Grampa died in 1993. He died during finals weeks when I was in graduate school. I was, again, unable to attend his services.

Every year, like clockwork, I would receive three things from my father: A chocolate advent calendar by Dec 1; a gingerbread man by Christmas Eve; and a tangerine either in the foot of my stocking or in the mail once I moved out on my own. These were traditions … and they stopped when he died in 2011. He died quickly, so I didn’t get to see him. Because of my marriage, I hadn’t seen him for close to 10 years. I attended his Celebration of Life, though.

Then, earlier this year, my little sister was suddenly taken away.

And I’ll admit, the holidays have their challenges. It seems like all the people in my life who were an integral part of the traditions for Christmas are gone.

A week ago, I saw a chocolate advent calendar in the store and almost burst into tears. Even though I don’t like tangerines, I get wistful about them around the holidays. And I so much miss the Gingerbread Man coming to town on Christmas Eve.

Now back to the quote: As Pi said above, the hardest part is not saying good-bye.

Why am I sharing this? What does this have to do with business?

When you are an entrepreneur, who you are is an integral part of your business. Those holes in your heart … those people who are gone who you never said good-bye to … affect your business in subtle ways. Sometimes as money blocks, sometimes as something else.

So, during this holiday season, take the time to be … truly be … with the people you love. Enjoy the time you have with them because you never know when they might go away. Let them know how much you love them.

And, when the time comes that they do leave, say good-bye in any way that you can to create closure. For me, each passing has become, in some ways, easier. Not because I’m immune to death, but because I’ve gradually learned how to say good-bye in a way that is meaningful to my soul and creates the closure I need, when I need it.

I hope that you are able to develop your own ways of dealing with loss, so you won’t adversely affect your business for years to come.

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