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The guide to anticipatory grief if you’re about to lose your business

Anticipating the death of your business can be just as paralyzing as a death of a loved one. Here’s how to cope with anticipatory grief.

person looking out window representing job search desperation

According to Fundera, 20% of small businesses fail in their first year and 50% fail after five years. Considering the state of the economy after the pandemic, those figures could be much higher. Businesses fail. Even the biggest and best businesses aren’t immune. Who doesn’t remember Blockbuster, Radio Shack, MySpace, and Vine? Losing a business is difficult enough, but the anticipation of loss can almost be as paralyzing as the loss itself. This feeling of impending doom is called anticipatory grief.

Understanding anticipatory grief

Anticipatory grief is a feeling of grief that occurs before the impending loss. Normally, grief is associated with death, but psychologically, grief occurs when something is lost, a relationship, a job, a home, and yes, even a business. These feelings can complicate the process, especially when you’re trying to make the best decisions about moving forward.

Grief itself is complicated. Dealing with the complex feelings before the actual death of a business isn’t easy. If you’re dealing with anticipatory grief, you may feel sad, confused, anxious, uncertain at times, hopeful that the loss won’t occur, and even prepared for the event. And yet, when the loss does occur, you may even go through all the stages of grief again. It’s like experiencing the loss twice.

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Dealing with anticipatory grief

Whether you’re losing a business or a loved one, grief wreaks havoc on your life.

Anticipatory grief can be even harder because it’s easier to push down your emotions because the loss hasn’t actually occurred. It’s easy to tell yourself you shouldn’t be upset because the loss hasn’t happened, but suppressing your emotions is unhealthy.

Time magazine says it creates an internal pressure cooker, not good for either your mental or physical health.

If grief is affecting your daily life, you may need professional help. If you’re in the early stages of anticipatory grief, getting help before it impacts your daily functioning can help you process your emotions before they weigh you down.

Get resources to help you deal with grief from SAMHSA or by calling 1-800-662-HELP (4357).  

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Emily Drewry is the Web Producer at The American Genius. She holds two Business degrees in Digital Marketing & Advertising as well as Sales Management. She resides in the sunny Orlando, FL and embodies the heart of hospitality. When not working on web projects, she's probably at a theme park or thrifting her next trendy piece, iced coffee in hand.

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