7 Ways Career Successful People Handle Loss

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This article is a follow up to my previous – 7 Habits Of Career Successful People With Successful Marriages.

“Hi Doc,

I’m usually cool and never lonely whenever I’m not in a relationship. I try to keep myself busy and things are usually fine. But recently, I noticed that changed, I started feeling lonely and all that, so, I said “yes” to this guy.

Thing is, it’s not a serious relationship, which I don’t mind, but the stress is getting to me. Too many issues in the relationship. Do you think I’m better off feeling lonely or should I keep managing the relationship.

I’m finding it difficult to make up my mind on what to do.

So sorry to bother you with this but just thought you could help.


I recently received the above message from a Facebook friend. Prior to this, we’d never had any real interaction beyond my Facebook wall.

Now, going through her message, to any untrained mind, it all would look normal – like a regular case of fleeting emotions – but there is more.

My first line of action in helping her was to state the obvious:

“…It’s never a great idea to get into a relationship ‘coz you feel all alone. Infact, the best time to get into one is when you’re all happy and self sufficient. You get into one ‘coz you feel the need to spread some of that love, not because you seek love…”

Then, setting her mind on the path of self reflection:

“Here’s what you need to do this moment – think of what has changed between now and the time you felt all sufficient for yourself…”

And just like a blooming flower, she opened up, and the issues – they were way deeper than it appeared from the surface:

“Lost my Dad late last year, I think that affected me…I’m doing things in excess now, used to be a light drinker but now I taste alcohol almost everyday, not to stupor but I truly drink…I’m the only sibling still staying in the house. he was a good man, had his own flaws…plenty flaws. Cant really say we were close. My mum is the best person ever…so it hurt when we found out he was cheating…”

She later narrated to me how her late dad became a serial cheater and later got a lady pregnant – she had 2 kids for him before he died. He died at 60 and the first child was just around 4yrs.

Reading that far, one could easily deduct that the loneliness she felt, the need for company, the inability to resolve all her relationship issues, the pressure and the gradual onset of alcoholism were merely symptoms to the real issue – UNABATED GRIEF.

She could not get over the loss, it was difficult for her acknowledging the fact that he was gone and there was nothing she could do – it had affected her life negatively, she was gradually picking up alcoholism.

Now, this is a pattern we witness daily – a happy family of 4 loses a daughter and the event scars the mother forever, she turns really bitter, holding on to her kids and paying little attention to her hubby. A husband loses his son and wife – and he goes off tangent abandoning all else, becoming a totally different man, bringing home one strange woman after another. So, the question – what exactly is in the nature of grief that causes these drastic transition. Your answer? Same as before – Change In Needs.

In my previous article, I mentioned how every milestone of success drive human needs towards a change, in same manner now, observe, every loss encountered during the course of our lives drive our needs towards change. While you might have – for instance – been thinking of bagging a PHd, the loss of a job might make you start working towards relocation and business. Just when you feel you’ve made enough to start up business, the loss of a loved one might send you shelving that decision and having you settle for a rather uneventful life. Why? Human needs are dynamic, your loss caught you off guard and there was a shortage of “healthy needs” to be provided by you, the mind naturally created its own needs.

OKAY. The most crucial need at a time of loss?

Peace – making peace with the past.



1. Never try to run away from the feelings of sadness. Your feelings are totally your’s, if you aren’t able to properly mourn your loss, you may never be able to get over it. Express yourself.

2. Never try to numb the pains you feel with drugs and alcohol, you soon might find yourself only being able to get over the pains with substance use, and you just might have developed an unhealthy attachment before you realize this.


3. With the lady above, she couldn’t forgive her father for making her childhood a nightmare. She couldn’t forgive him for causing her mother pains and fracturing the family.

She also couldn’t forgive herself for missing him. He was a mean father, a cruel husband that showed no remorse for hurting the woman that loved him. Why was she missing him?

Truth? Whenever you forgive, you do it for yourself. Not for the other person.


4. Get yourself to a place of accepting your loss. It’s gone. Never coming back. And while what you lost might have held such strong memories for you, we carry memories within us, not in objects or people, you always would have your treasured memories with you.

5. Return to your routine. Don’t ever lose sight of the goals you set for yourself. Get back to the drawing board. Dust up your bucket list. What’s next on it? Continue along your old trajectory.

6. Create healthy needs for yourself, if you can’t, seek the help of trusted friends or a Therapist.

7. Achieve!

In all, I’ll say, a loss can either slow us down or stop us dead in our tracks – you make your choice, live or merely exist. “Healthy needs” is the choice term.

Perfect is boring, to be human is beautiful.

Dedicated to you, Tosin. I hope you heal soon.

With Love,

Dr. Cum

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