Here it is:
When you are self-employed, or have a small business, the matter of your own death is a bit more complex than if you are an employee.
Do you have a plan in place for who would look after your clients, or take them on? This may not be so important if you are a hairdresser, or a joiner, but if you are in the healing professions, it really does need to be taken care of.
As an ex-counsellor and psychotherapist, I had a supervisor who knew she would be contacted by my clients if I died. This was professional behavior – in this field, the sudden departure of an important person in one’s life can have far-reaching effects.
The same might be true for a professional dealing with the healing of someone’s body. To be left high and dry if your practitioner dies is not pleasant. Knowing that your practitioner had a plan in place should this happen, including a recommended person to contact, will help your client in any transition that might need to happen.
Other points to consider when thinking of your succession plan (as it is known) are:
- Be clear about your intentions with the business for after you die
- Do you want the business to continue after you die? If so, how, and with whom at the helm?
- Who do you want to have access to any business bank accounts?
- Who gets to pay any employees, and how should they be paid?
- How will professional bodies be informed?
- What about leases on premises?
- What about insuring against yourself dying, if you are the sole proprietor or key to the business?
The more you prepare in advance, the easier it will be for those left behind if you do die.
In Gifted By Grief, I wrote about The List – questions that I asked Philip a few months before he died. Difficult questions, such as ‘what do you want to be buried in?’ and ‘when should I sell the car?’ and ‘what kind of coffin do you want?’ Not to mention making sure I had his passwords and user names.
This, and the purely business-related questions above, are vital to limit the distress for your loved ones. They will be upset enough about you popping your clogs, without having to make decisions that could have been taken beforehand.
The List is something that many people agree is a good idea to do – but not that many actually DO anything about it. Or they do it, but only a bit of it. If you’re interested in joining a group focused on helping you complete these kind of questions, email me and express your interest.
There’s no doubt it’s easier in the company of others doing the same thing. So email me now and I’ll get back to you asap.
It’s the one thing that affects every single living person or thing on this planet. Yes, you’re right – it’s death.
End of life. Passed on. Departed. Crossed over. Gone to heaven. Taken by the angels. With God.
We have numerous euphemism for this word that so many are so uncomfortable with.
But here it is, it’s my obsession.
Is that because my book Gifted By Grief: A True Story of Cancer, Loss and Rebirth is about to be published (Sept 8th, by the way)? Yes, but not just that.
I really believe that if we all can talk more easily about this thing that affects us all, then we can become less fearful of it. We need to welcome this elephant into the room, well and truly.
Because it is what I am obsessed by right now, you get to hear about it too. It’s a huge topic, and I will be talking about various aspects of this and how it affects our lives for the next few weeks in the run up to my book launch.
But in this post, let’s just begin by looking at some of the different ways that death happens in business. Of course it can be the biggie, when your business goes bust, or you are forced into bankruptcy. But there are numerous other kinds of deaths that happen every day in business, because death is perceived in our culture as an ending (even though it’s also a beginning).
- When a client ends their contract with you, that’s a death.
- When you complete a task, that’s the end of it.
- When someone says no to you, that’s the end of a possibility in that form.
- When you rebrand, or update your website, you have to say goodbye to the old one. That’s a death too.
Next time a client ends with you, take a moment to be with that loss. If a project you are on comes to a close, recognise it, give thanks and be with that for a while. If you’re changing what you are offering to people, there’s room there for an acknowledgement of what went before.
When we are willing to be with what is in the moment, whether that be death, endings or whatever, it’s a lot easier to move forward in the future.
In the wake of the tenth anniversary of the London bombings I’m writing this to anyone still affected by grief after a long time.
Ten years and two days ago, a horrific thing happened, which hardly bears thinking about, even now. It affected many people, not just those caught up in the incident themselves.
When tragedy strikes in the unexpected manner in which it did in the 7/7 London bombings, it is, of course, appalling. The shock, horror and all other emotions are overwhelming. Some may have come through this and become stronger as a result. Others may still be struggling, even years on.
My heart goes out to you if this is the case; I cannot imagine what it must have been like if you were a direct victim of the bombings, or a family member of someone who died, or someone who witnessed the suffering of those affected.
I do, however, know what it feels like to have a husband die from cancer (no comparison I know, and not intended to be). What I’ve discovered, though, is that in the grieving there is a gift to be found.
If you find yourself reacting to this statement, then maybe you are still hiding from your gift. Let me tell you about what I discovered.
I found my gift as a result of my husband’s death, there is no doubt about it.
I was propelled into an obsession with discovering what it is that is in a body that makes it alive one moment, and dead the next. Everything else was irrelevant.
As I watched my husband move from breathing to no breathing, I began to need, with a burning passion, to find out what it was that had been in the ‘filled skin-and-bones bag’ that had now become an empty bag before my eyes.
The life had been literally sucked out of him, leaving behind just a lifeless body, like a deflated balloon.
Discovering that we are not a body was a profound moment of realisation.
When you know beyond doubt that you are not a body, and neither is anyone else, then when the body dies it does not matter quite so much.
A heretic statement, maybe, and it certainly doesn’t take away the pain and sorrow of the loss. But it gets to be experienced in a different way.
Because when your thinking has turned upside down, and you realize that the body, with all its thoughts, feelings and sensations, is just a temporary home for who you really are, instead of your identity being solely housed in your body, then you awaken to moments of being.
Those are eternal; not subject to the laws of time, and allow connection with those that have died.
You may have found the gift in your grief already, whatever it is for you.
It may be nothing to do with not being a body. But if you haven’t found your gift, then I invite you to consider getting curious about what a body really is.
To explore this and discover for yourself that perhaps you and your loved one really are just a breath away.