The Five Stages of Grief for Meeting Pros Navigating a Pandemic

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The Five Stages of Grief for Meeting Pros Navigating a Pandemic

By The Independent Planners Collective | Jul 6, 2020

The world has been shaken up by another pandemic. In addition to COVID-19, 

our comfortable blinders have been removed, making the harsh realities of systemic racism impossible to ignore. We recognize the loss of many lives. We recognize the loss of employment and the disruption of our daily routines. We recognize that inequality is real. The world is different and there is a strong call for change. 

Whether you are working by yourself or with a team, you are not exempt from these pandemics and all that they bring. We experience symptoms of anxiety and depression, and many of us have even walked through the five stages of grief. We may have experienced denial, anger, bargaining and depression—and many are struggling daily to reach acceptance.  

Do you recognize yourself going through any of these stages? 

1. Denial: Not believing the reality of the situation. How many of you thought on March 1 that COVID-19 would run its course and be beyond us in a few weeks? 

2. Anger: I have no control. Fear. This is affecting my livelihood. How do I support my family? What do I tell my client when they are requesting refunds?

3. Bargaining: When you bargain for what could have been or could be, but you have no control over the situation. If we stay in quarantine now, in a month everything will be business as usual. If I go out, I promise to wear a mask so that this does not get any worse.  

4. Depression: Feeling sad, helpless or anxious. Low motivation, difficulty sleeping. How do I motivate myself to attend yet another virtual meeting? How can I be an advocate for change?

5. Acceptance: Experiencing/adapting to a “new normal,” feeling in control. What can I do to uplift those who are underrepresented? I am ready, but how do I cope with circumstances that are out of my control? How do I become the cheerleader my clients are used to and need in this new normal?

It is important to note that you could recycle these stages several times over before you can fully embrace acceptance and remain there. But as you process emotions, know that you are not alone, you are resilient and you will find your new normal. 

We encourage our fellow planners to continue to seek support if you need it and reach out in the Independent and Small Business Owners forum group. Stay well!

“Here we are, hanging on for dear life on this not-fun-at-all roller coaster of uncertainty, wondering if we’ll land on our feet when all of this is over. Wondering if it ever will be over. We’re either struggling to be heard or learning to be an ally.” -Meredith Martini, M.S., independent planner, PlayWorks Group LLC, MPI Georgia Chapter VP of membership/past president

Our series “The Independent Perspective” returns next month with a new topic.

Photo by Külli Kittus on Unsplash



independent planners
The Independent Planners Collective

Heather Herrig, CMP, Every Last Detail; Tess Vismale, CMP, iSocialExecution, Inc.; and Qualena Odom-Royes, CSEP, CMP, CDMP, EventEssentials, LLC, discuss the unique challenges and perks of the independent planner community.