After my wife passed, my grief was compounded by not only the loss of my business partner but also the loss of some major client accounts — and a huge chunk of my income along with it.
An understandable reason for this is that some of these clients prefer to deal with my late wife or fear that I may not live up to her level. After all, it was her baby that she built from the ground up in the last 20 years, and with which she built some very close client relationships.
I get it. I totally understand it. Business is business. Sure, losing clients literally a week after losing your business partner, and being alone trying to learn and take over everything, is not easy.
But while I may appear to be in my darkest moments, I'm actually relieved, strong, and determined. Why? Because I remember something Sylvie would often say when it came to dealing with her cancer and her refusal to “fight” the disease:
“Don't fight the darkness, just turn on the light.”
I keep that quote firmly in mind when confronting obstacles, and remind myself this is also a perfect opportunity. After the initial shock, I started to realize that it allows for a few things:
- Starting fresh and getting new, longer-term clients.
- Working with clients who will appreciate my work ethic.
- Having more time to market my services to find such clients.
- Being forced to move into a smaller, more economical home.*
- Allowing me to travel more to speak at seminars.
- Making me more proficient at managing staff and a whole new business model.
- Redirecting my focus on marketing rather than running my businesses.
*By the way, my house is now up for sale in Orleans, Ontario. If you're interested in a beautiful, hardwood-laden, three year-old, three-bedroom single home, contact Frank Tessier at the Tessier Property Group.
It was a friend of mine who recently noted: “Michel, you lost your mom two years ago, your dad two months ago, and your wife last month. You have literally become an orphan and a widower in one month!”
(Now, let's not forget that I also became a grandfather and a father-in-law in that time, too! I guess I became a lot of things in such a short period of time.)
Anyway, I never thought of myself like that until then. It made me realize the implications, which was the fact that my life has dramatically changed — and will continue to change — in such a short period of time. But I refuse to accept darkness. I find a way to turn on the light.
Thinking like this is not some “secret” or Pollyanna attitude. Attitude is indeed important, but you're not trying to wish or visualize the positive in your life. You still have to work at finding the lightswitch and flipping it, so to speak.
In that sense, and besides relocating, I have new goals going forward:
- Blogging a lot more and writing new articles,
- Redesigning all of my websites and updating them,
- Competing in more powerlifting meets,
- Recompositioning my body (tightening up a few areas like my stomach),
- Repurposing some of my older or not-as-relevant businesses,
- Spending some quality time with my grandson,
- Getting back into playing drums in a band, and
- Conducting a fundraiser during Breast Cancer Awareness Month called “Barbells For Boobs” in honor of the Sylvie Fortin Memorial Fund.
Before I go on, let me assure you that I'm still grieving. I have my moments. But moving on, finding ways to be more productive, and redesigning my life are all things that Sylvie would have wanted.
She is still my beacon. My reminder that, no matter how dark life gets…
… There is a lightswitch somewhere.