Bad News comes in all forms…..like…..
“The masses we biopsied are cancer.”
I was driving back to my office after a business lunch.
The September day was bright and sunny. I was still eager in my brand new job and this call from the doctor shook me deep.
All I could do was nod quietly and ask what is next.
This was the worst phone call ever.
The morning of this call my 16 year old Step Daughter was in a fender bender which totally her new (less than 2 weeks old, but used) car.
Bad news was this day’s theme.
I had to shake off the stun and the sting before I called my partner.
Telling someone you have been diagnosed with cancer isn’t something I ever thought I’d be doing.
That’s for other people.
That’s for unhealthy people.
That’s for people older than my 46 years.
NOW I HAD TO FACE THE MOST DIFFICULT PART OF MY LIFE.
I’ve had bad news before, usually delivered in person.
“We are moving in another direction and here is your separation agreement.”
“You have to lay off the entire department within 60 days, including yourself.”
“We are closing this center and will be ending your employment at the end of the month.”
I’ve heard bad news and I’v had to deal with things.
Car accidents, firings, houses that weren’t able to be bought, sales that fell through.
Disappointments may prepare us for bad news, but really bad news like cancer, job loss, divorce, death of a loved one….these are MASSIVELY jarring!
There is a wonderful quote that I leaned on when I had financial trouble at one of my companies.
“It is not whether we will have challenging times, it is who we are in the midst of it that defines us.”
I love that— it is a call for us to step up.
It is a call for us to be the bold, courageous, heart-centered person.
It is a call to be our best.
If we cannot be our best OR if we haven’t learned how to be our best, we may be doomed to further gloom.
If we do not handle the worst parts of life with our soul shining well, what is it all about?
In my workshop I often remind my troubled clients (because I have had my share of troubles)….(That work all starts with a Free CAREER CLARITY CALL).
“it is happening FOR US!”
All the events, large and small are for us to enjoy, grow and increase our vibration in our SOUL.
All the news, good, bad or just another day is for us.
Lessons, messages and the call to be the highest version of ourselves.
It is in difficulty that we truly show our character.
I was raised to be self sufficient, but that is not the answer in times of trouble.
Times of trouble are times of need.
I needed everyone.
But not so quickly.
Here’s the play book I used and it all came to me in the moment, because I had a few years of practicing.
What to do when you get bad news:
- Recognize your feelings and let them be felt.
- You don’t have to ACT on your feelings right away. The mind and heart and soul needs to process what is happening. Feelings are fine and they won’t swallow you up. When we practice handling our feelings, we get more capable of handling them. FEEL, ASSESS and if needed, write down anything you need to capture so you can keep the important stuff handy.
- Identify your support system.
- It will be necessary to separate the ones to call or visit who can help you separate from the ones who will be needing something from you. I knew who to call first, I knew who “should” know, but after that it became fuzzy. I relied on my initial support system to help me sort it out.
- Take your time.
- When we get bad news it seems like time stands still and yet everything seems urgent. Time warp! I took my time sharing the “news” with others. I told my partner and didn’t tell the kids at first. I told my little sister, she is calm in a storm as well. I waited until Io could put it all together to tell others.
- Allow yourself to receive love and support.
- When I shared my news with others, sometimes I felt like they needed me to keep them strong with my news, HEY— this is my cancer, I’m the one who needs something. Well, all of us handle bad news differently. Keep your distance from those who can’t handle the news or who need something from you.
- Put a plan together.
- I needed to see new doctors, I needed to look closely at my schedule, I needed to eventually tell my team and my boss. Things had to be organized and figured out. I wasn’t prepared to share the news with everyone until I know more facts. Preserve your “tell” until you are ready.
- Keep yourself protected.
- Stay away form further stress. Get your sleep. Cuddle with loved ones, get your favorite blanket and pillow mobilzed.
BE EASY on yourself.
DO not criticize yourself!
LOVE as much as you can.
Handling bad news can be defining moments in life.
I am sure I did things under the stress of this particular bad news that I don’t recall or that weren’t the best decisions.
Make sure you stay easy on yourself!