I talked to a friend whose home is out of state a few weeks ago. I have known this individual for thirty-five years through business, and I have met his wife and children over time. His wife was a teacher, and the children are now successful adults, personally and professionally.
During our conversation, my friend shared that his wife had just been diagnosed with Alzheimer's. Hearing him tell me this was crushing, and I can only imagine what his wife, my friend, and his children are going through.
I do not want to spend the rest of the note discussing the disease's impact on families, friends, and communities. In some way, we have all experienced the effects of these life-changing events; if we have not, sadly, the chances are we will feel its impact in the future.
What I do want to spend a bit of time on is the need to recognize that in every life, stuff happens. The rest of this note is all about how you deal with these events as you go forward.
Throughout my career, I have been able to help people whose road through life has encountered difficulties that sometimes have been heartbreaking—the death of a spouse or child, divorce, illness, drugs, and alienation.
As many of you know, the outcome determinant is how we decide to deal with these issues. When a problematic or life-changing situation enters our life, we will go through some version of the seven stages of grief. I am guessing you have heard of them – Shock/Denial, Pain/Guilt, Anger/Bargaining, Depression/Reflection/Loneliness, The Upward Turn, Reconstruction, and Acceptance/Hope.
Each of us has at some point gone through these seven stages, whether we were aware of it or not. I have found personally and in working with clients that if you allow your circumstances to control you, the result is, in many cases, a resentful, bitter person, no matter the outcome. Taking an active approach to the problem we are dealing with, even if it hurts us deeply, will give us the best opportunity to continue living with less resentment and anger even though our world is now different.
Please do not give up your control, be as strong as you can, decide you are in charge of your life, you are not an observer, put together what you and/or your team believe is the best outcome for the situation, produce your plan to make it happen, and work the plan.
Sometimes, even after doing all the right things we know the outcome may not be what you hoped for.
After reading this note, I hope you take with you that by acting, you did all you could to have the most favorable outcome possible for a life-altering event. Going forward, you may have to develop a new plan or change course along the way to do what is necessary for you to live. Do it, take control, no matter how difficult, and renew the journey.
If you would like to talk, let me know. I am here.
A quick follow-up - I just talked to my friend whose wife was diagnosed with Alzheimer's. He said his wife and daughter were away together having a mother-daughter weekend. They were taking control and living!
To the Good Life