The British stiff upper lip.
As Sir Winston Churchill said, “if you’re going through hell, keep going”!
But what is the price of this behaviour?
Believing in cause and effect, there must be a trade-off. I think there is. Although stoicism is a national and, potentially, gendered trait that I possess, it comes to play more in the role I occupy in society. I am a business owner. A business owner out of choice, not fortune. There are certain behaviours for aspiring business owners to reach to be ‘“successful business owners”.
– Leadership over management.
– Problem solver over maker.
-Motivator rather oppressor.
This is not second nature to many people and are skills to be nurtured and acquired. As a business owner, I forfeit the comfort of a salary in an expensive part of the world. There was no investment, back up cash or rich family. I had to make it work. All was going as well as can be expected until the first ‘batch’ of COVID hit. Remember when we used to call it CORONA virus? I didn’t see that coming. Sucker punch on top of sucker punch! We battened down the hatches and weathered the storm as best we could. Friends and family didn’t understand when I would say that I simply don’t have the cash or the time to do what they do. It’s a very lonely place. A place with no end in sight. My loved ones were not particularly supportive. They would say “Why don’t you just give up?” and “just get a job” – like that is possible in a decimated market. Stoicism kicks into a new level. It is its time-to-shine. “I’m fine”, I would say to mask my struggle. This is a tough ride.
But has it paid off? Depends the way you look at it. Firstly, Like many relationships during Covid, the cracks in my marriage appeared and unfortunately were not patchable. Sadly, my wife and I parted ways acrimoniously which led to its own set of stresses.
The business has not only survived but thrived. I used my time wisely and changed the whole machine. Lined the ducks up for when we resurface again.
So, at this surface level you can debate whether it is worth it or not. Is the price too high?
However, there is another cost not mentioned yet. The cost on me. It’s exhausting navigating unchartered waters on your own. Especially with no supplies or end in sight. It’s scary and self-doubt prevents optimal performance. The cost of losing a loved one and in the manner, it happened, is a big pill to swallow. There are layers of betrayal, none of which had been inflicted on them. Emotionally, I was hanging on by my fingertips! However, we must go on!
Then it comes.
People from around the world are worried about me. My body is telling me something. It is in debt to the universe: I owe-it to myself to acknowledge and release what has built up. I need to be true to myself and stop the act. Logical, given that it is easier to be yourself rather than act. All have an Act. We wear different hats in different situations. You can be having an argument with your partner, but if the Queen were to knock at your door, you would change. We have control of it. We need to be true to ourselves and those around us. We need to remind there is a child in all of us. An innocence and vulnerability that is the real you.
Stoicism had saved my business which is commendable, but at the expense of myself. Now, we are in the midst of ‘batch 2’ of COVID. I remain Stoic. It is “me”! However, I now have outlets to release these debts back to the universe. I have begun changing habits to better enable coping mechanisms. Early indicators and EQ are empowering my ability to embrace curve balls for potential opportunities instead of negatives.
In short, I know the price of stoicism and I will transact with the universe on my terms!
If this resonates with you and you are happy to talk, I welcome the contact at: