Feb 13, 2018


by Sarah Mullins

Unfortunately it’s inevitable.  Each of us will lose something very important in our lifetimes. This loss can range from family members, to close friends, even to our businesses themselves. This past year I lost my father.

It was sudden, devastating, and came during a year of my life full of immense changes both personally and professionally.  Now that a new year is beginning and I have the clarity to reflect on what truly happened, I’d like to share the story of how in my life, grief, and business were forced to cohabitate. 

Deep loss never comes with a quick recovery. In my case, my father passed in April of 2017.  I was on the phone with the police as they entered his home after not showing up to work the previous few days. I was sitting next to my fiancĂ© as he was waking in the hospital from anesthesia after his spinal surgery.  I completely broke down in the middle of the recovery room, feeling completely helpless.

I am an only child and he has not been married or in a relationship for quite some time, so a lot of my life I felt like it was really just my dad and I in a little bubble. I knew this meant it was up to me.  After flying to Ohio, where he lived, orchestrating a funeral, paying the bills, cleaning out his home, and hiring legal teams to help set up estates with no will etc., I felt like there were months of my life where I was always in a fog.

Shortly after the funeral I was still flying to conferences, still running my company and by the end of the year we grew by 9 employees. I can honestly say I didn’t work to my greatest potential for most of the year, but I did the work. Through the pain, the tears, the stress, and the fog I did what needed to be done and I forgave myself for the rest that I didn’t accomplish.

Almost a year later, I still have pain.  I still have fog.  But I’ve had moments of light and moments that turned into days, and next into months.  With every conscious decision to do the work, I gained a new boost of creativity to push me forward to do the work I am best at and to do it to the best of my ability. My lesson through this all is that I have no regrets of doing the work, and I have no regrets for the work I didn’t get done because I built a strong team around me to hold me up when I needed it most.

Working through allowed me a sense of normality during a lot of the chaos. It allowed me to keep my company so I wasn’t facing yet another loss.  It also helped me create a bridge between the loss of my father and the building of the company he always loved and admired.

If you’re going through a loss of any kind, or if a friend or co-worker is, don’t be afraid to build those support systems, to be those support systems, and most importantly, to do what you can when you can. The rest may have to take its time, but when it’s time, you’ll get it done.

I’d also like to thank my support teams for carrying me through: my fiancĂ©, my friends and family, my Feya Family, and last but certainly not least,  my BNI family.