What to do when bad news arrives?

The first thing that happens to me is I get an unpleasant sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach, as my inner workings knot themselves up in alarm and concern, as I try to fathom the consequences.

Yesterday, my largest client called me to let me know that their business had grown to the point that my freelance role needs to be replaced by a more full-time, in-house person and they thanked me for my brilliant service over the years.

BAM! Bad news for me. An instant 25% reduction to my income, which has already been significantly adjusted thanks to covid.

Emotionally I am conflicted. I am happy for my client who has worked hard for success, but my selfish stomach knots seem more concerned for my well-being.

It’s not just about the money (which does change many of my plans). This is the end of something. It is the end of a part of my life that involved relationships with people, a function I performed, a worth I held, and therein a connection to whom I see myself to be, and this touches upon the edges of my identity. It’s uncomfortable to feel the sands shift beneath that one.

The second thing which would have gone through my brain was an attempt to self-soothe and remind myself that shit happens. It’s a fact of life. Get over it, Duncan.

The third phase was to focus on all the positive aspects which are likely to ensue from this change. This is a hard task as they are nebulous, and my wallowing-in-self-pity-heart hasn’t quite caught up yet. But it will.

I am 36 days free of the alcohol trap, and I expect and prepare for the ‘bad voice’ which is likely to arrive anytime soon with the suggestion that having a beer might help.

Sober Duncan is quicker off the mark.


Finally, once it dawns on me that this shit has happened, that there isn’t much I can do, except roll with the punches and hope, I turn my attention to matters of Faith.

It was only yesterday, in prayer, and after stepping onto the scary Instagram Platform for the first time, that I felt prompted “to make sure I build my house on rock and not sand”. I understood this at the time to mean that I needed to remember from where come my stability, hope, security, and sense of identity.

I was expecting to face challenges of a different nature.

I find it curiously comforting to think that 24 hours later this lesson will find a whole new level of meaning and relevance to me. It’s like the ground was being laid to help me lessen the shock.

This leads me nicely into ..

TOP TIP:  Gratitude is a powerful stance from which to stand fast in stormy conditions.