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  • Writer's pictureDana Kent

The Season of Grief

Sawtooth Mountains

Let's face it.....I was dumped. Not in the way you might initially think. I have the most amazing partner in my life, someone who would support me in any profession I choose. What I mean is that 7 months ago, my relationship with my company came to an end, and I was the one who was dumped. Like most long-term relationships, there were endless moments of bliss and moments of conflict. While a defining moment for me this post isn't about the actual break up of this 26-year "marriage". This relationship opened unimaginable doors, and largely shaped the person you see today. I firmly believe companies have the right to and have the duty to make organizational changes for the long-term health and growth of the team, direction, and mission. It would be irresponsible to think otherwise. This month's conversation is about the grief that followed and why it hurt so deeply.

The season of grief was unexpected and deep. It encompassed every stage of mourning that you might read about…denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. Each has come with their own journey and challenges and passing through the stages is most definitely not linear. But why did this hit so hard if I am a long tenured businesswoman who understands and values organizational change? This is the conversation that I want to have today.

We often believe that our work colleagues are our family, that our values should mirror the company's, and that our thoughts should align perfectly with theirs. We tend to think that we are, in essence, our job. The truth is, we are not a family, our values should be our own, and we should be whole and separate from our employer. This is not only for our sake but also for the sake of those who pay us for our work. While I may have believed my values were firmly rooted in my day-to-day work, and my work family was my only support system, in the end, I hadn't taken the time to align with myself as an independent being to ensure I showed up the way I needed to. There were likely moments of silent intuition nudging me to make a change, and there were also loud signals asking, "Is this really still you?" along the way. While I thrived in the hustle and the validation I found in what I called the "hook," I was clearly becoming misaligned with my own identity and what truly mattered to me. Without this alignment to who I was, the "dumping" sent a shockwave of grief that continues to periodically give me pause and caused me to ask, "Was I really that good?" Needless to say, the day I was let go hit me hard, but it also turned out to be a gift—a catalyst for realignment.

My coach, Carol Fabrizio (whom you'll hear me mention often in my posts), said one statement to me that changed my life and cracked my soul wide open: "You are not your job; you are not solely defined by the ski and ride industry. You are a whole person on your own." Full stop. My entire identity had been wrapped up in the uniform that felt like armor to me. My email address was my badge, and my title was my measure of self-worth. Who was I without my title, rank, uniform, and role?

On the day I was let go, I entered a phase of my life that made me pause and question, "Who am I really and who do I want to be?" I am still the woman who loves to ski big mountains and is passionate about the ski and ride industry, particularly accessibility for all. My breath is still taken away when I ski along a ridge line. I still deeply believe in cultural change that supports and fosters relationships. I still thrive on making things happen operationally and at a rapid pace. I also continue to rush towards challenges, like running my own coaching business. I am still not afraid of making the impossible possible. However, my alignment with my values, or what I call "being on axis," now centers more around my family, my relationships, my mental health, physical movement, peace within, and, perhaps most importantly, why I started Dana Kent Coachingthe human-to-human connection and unapologetic support for women in the outdoor industry. Giving them a voice and helping companies build structures to support those voices, this is the center of my "axis." You see, the values work and alignment with self has now become a new armor....and new way of telling myself..." are that are great at being YOU."

The letting go and grief will always be there, like a reminder of the work I've done over the last 7 months and the work I continue to do every single day. My coach is my grief partner and courage advocate, reminding me that I am whole even after the breakup. The end of my 26-year relationship was only the beginning of a beautiful new relationship, one that was buried under the hustle and the grind—a relationship with my true self.

The question I ask you today is…are you on axis? Are you aligned with you who want to be or are you living a life others expect you to be? I would love to hear your story and continue this important conversation.

With Brevity and Love,


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