Sunday, 12 November 2017

Applying S.A.R.A.H. to my grief

To develop a better understanding of how I have dealt with the grief I have been going through over the last 9 months since my wife died, I have used the S.A.R.A.H. grief cycle model.

  • Shock - it was a terrible shock to lose my darling Jan to sepsis brought on by the cancer that had only been detected 6 weeks earlier. She had become poorly over the weekend and at my insistence I managed to get her back into the Royal Surrey Hospital. I left her at 2:00 am and she was tired but OK and she said she would let me know which ward they moved her to. The next morning they summoned me back to the hospital to inform me that she wouldn’t live through the day, she was in a bad state and didn’t even recognise me. We gave the go ahead for palliative care and after injections she calmed down and then slowly passed away. I was at her bedside together with my daughter and son when she quietly left the world and we were devastated!
  • Anger - I went through a period of being angry that no one had warned me about sepsis, and why had this happened to the love of my life. I was angry with myself for not being able to save her, all completely irrational but at this stage I was driven by emotion.
  • Resistance - it was so difficult to get my head round the reality of my situation. It had been so sudden, so hard to comprehend and I kept sensing her presence all around me, half expecting her, in my muddled state, to suddenly appear.
  • Acceptance - finally after lots of loving support and help from my GP I was able to apply self compassion to myself and accept there was nothing I could have done to save her. She was just too sick to have survived sepsis and for her a sudden death was the best outcome rather enduring months of fruitless devastating chemo treatment.
  • Healing, Hope and Happiness - doing an 8 week mindfulness course was a real life saver, as it helped me to heal. Great friendships, loving family, exercise and photography and travel all gave we hope for a new life in which I was happy again. Here the Action for Happiness programme helped me to apply a structured approach to my healing, hope and happiness.
I am in a good place now, I still have sad moments and days, but my happy days far exceed the bad ones. They say time is a great healer and while I don’t disagree I feel that you need to get help and take a proactive approach to restore your happiness. 

I know speaking to others who have experienced loss of some sort and it could be the breakdown of your marriage. As simple as this model is, you cannot move forward until you have reached ACCEPTANCE! Once you have got past that stumbling point, with the right support you can transform your life, reinvent / reformulate and come out stronger. Psychologists identify what they call PTG, or Post Traumatic Growth and when it happens it brings about positive transformation in people lives.

NOTE: Vanessa King’s superb book 10 Keys to Happier Living is a must buy to help you with your recovery!

Monday, 6 November 2017

Tricky Confrontational Conversations

How do you deal with these tricky confrontational conversations? Especially as invariably the people we are talking about are important to your business or your life. These conversations are especially tough when you are the sort of person who struggles to deal with conflict.

However, there is a situation that you are concerned about and you know that you have to do something to resolve the issue. Most likely this is playing heavily on your mind and it could even be interfering with your sleep as you play multiple ways of dealing with the issue and they all end badly. 

So lets just look at a few ideas to help you. The first video (a punt for business but ....) provides a simple definition of conflict and the idea that people need to state right up front what they require from others.  

This next video is an interview with an entrepreneur and his advice is:-

  • Don't take things personally
  • Look at the issue through the 'lens' of for the greater good of the organisation
  • Don't let things linger, sort out your differences sooner rather than later
  • Don't presuppose what they other person is thinking, just ask and clarify things together

This video presents a process that you can use to resolve your conflict.

When you are in a conflict situation, in the heat of the moment it can sometimes be difficult to remember what to do. There are a number of acronyms that may help you to remember.  (Source; JamBerry)

The first is:

Confront the behaviour

Understand each other's position

Define the problem

Search for a solution

Confront the behaviour

Concentrate on the behaviour not the person. Ask then to modify their behaviour so that you can talk about the issue.
I feel uncomfortable when you say xxx. Please can we discuss this calmly so that we can get to the problem.
Understand each other's position

Take the time to understand the other's position. Is it a real issue, or is it based on misunderstanding? Have you got all of the information, or only part of the story? Respect their position and ask them to respect yours.
Please tell me slowly what you think the issue is. Please then listen to my reply.
Define the problem

Get into the detail, but try not to react by becoming defensive, sulking, aggressive or other negative behaviour. Repeat back to the other party, your understanding of their side of the story. Stay in adult.
I understand that you feel ..., and that you have an issue with ..., and that the reason behind this is ... Is this correct?
My position is ...
Search for a solution

This involves cooperation. Search for a win-win solution wherever possible. The best solution is one where each party feels that they have gained at least part of their point if not all.
I suggest that I will agree to ... if you are happy to give me ... This way we both gain something positive.

Get an agreement - even if it is an agreement to differ.Make sure any agreement is stated clearly and unambiguously. If necessary, write it down.
In these (...) circumstances, I agree to ... and you agree to ... If things substantially change then we will review this agreement.