Dealing with Grief by Violet Dhu

An Update from Corporate Communication Experts

When I think about the past few weeks, and the impact that COVID-19 has had on the world, our friends and our family, I have this image of a speeding, out of control, roller coaster ride.

Peter and I, like many sole traders and small business owners right now, are living with uncertainty. As a family business, we have needed to reassess how we can serve our customers best.  We are fortunate that we are able to offer all our workshops online and we can deliver our coaching sessions virtually, via zoom, skype or phone.

Peter and I want to reassure you that we are available and happy to discuss any of your training needs as you plan for the future.

The Emotional Rollercoaster and building resilience

As I said in the update, it feels like we are on an out of control roller coaster ride. An emotional roller coaster ride. So, I thought I would share a few insights and strategies that you might find helpful if you also feel like you are on this roller coaster ride.

My most significant shift was when I read a Harvard Business Review article by David Kessler about Grief. This article helped me realise that I was grieving. I also realised that not only was I grieving, but other people around me were also grieving and that we were all at different stages of grief.  Kubler Ross, in her famous grief cycle, describes five different stages of grief – see the Kubler Ross model below.

Regardless of where you see yourself in the grief cycle, there are strategies that we can all undertake to move towards acceptance and ultimately take meaning from this roller coaster ride.

Here are three strategies that I will be using to help me cope with the emotional rollercoaster and grief in my business and life.

  • Accept that we are on an emotional rollercoaster ride. 
  • Accept that other people are on that emotional roller coaster and they are also grieving. 
  • Accept that people will express their grief in different ways. Last week I was in denial I would wake up and think it’s a bad dream and it will go away.
  • Accept that we need to adjust our behaviour to help keep each other safe.
  •  Accept that how we do business needs to change and adapt to the changing environment.


  • Have an Action Plan and focus on moving forward 
  • I need to focus on what I can control
  • I need to practise good self-care 
  • I need to surround myself with positive people who support and encourage me (this may need to be virtually)
  • I need to be adaptable and adjust to the changing needs of my customers


  • Be prepared to ask for help from a coach or a mentor
  • Be open to new ideas and being creative and innovative
  • Be open to learn and use new technology 
  • Be prepared to listen to our customers and adapt to meet their expectations. Let’s face it, what our clients needed a month ago, and what they need now, has changed and that will continue to change over time.

I have also created an infographic that captures this message visually and I have also done a video on dealing with grief that you may find helpful.

We are all on this roller coaster ride, and it’s important to stay calm and accept that people will handle this crisis differently.  Grief is a common emotion that many will experience during these times. And different people will be at differing stages of grief and they will all handle it differently.  As Russ Harris said it is a good time to ask yourself, “how do I want to show up for myself and for other people”. Finally, please don’t forget to reach out and ask for help if you need it.

Comments 2

    1. Hi Bill,
      Thank you for your comments on my post about Grief. I found that the Elizabeths Kubler Ross model helped me to understand my own emotional state. Once I had this realisation I was able to support others. This understanding gave me a greater capacity to reach out to my team and to my customers.

      Bill, keep safe and best wishes, Violet

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