No matter the size of the loss, we cope by stepping back, getting perspective and then stepping back into our new circumstances. This is made possible by distancing. Distancing empowers a team’s ability to manage change and involves all five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, sadness and acceptance.
The ability to acknowledge and mourn a loss kickstarts the adaptation process. We acquire new coping skills when situations cause us to adapt. A child learning to ride a bike discovers balance just as the bike begins to tip over. If the kid’s dad or mom never let go of the seat, the kid would never know to compensate to the left when the bike falls to the right. This is the beauty of struggle – it forces the need for problem-solving.
Adapting consumes energy. It’s normal to feel physically and emotionally exhausted when managing a transition. The natural depletion that accompanies change is purposeful. It forces the team to pause and heal.
Everyone heals at a different pace. Stepping away provides a reset. Like the replenishment that comes from a night’s sleep or a tree’s dormancy in the winter, distancing offers a chance to let go, refuel, regroup, refocus and bring fresh eyes and renewed energy to an unexpected challenge.