How to Maintain Motivation Through Loss or Grief

Written by Kristin Berry

As women, there are a thousand obstacles we can plan for and often an equal number of surprises we could never anticipate, but those can usually be tackled with a Google search and some grit, determination, and hard work. Even a few surprises are manageable using proven methods and step-by-step logic. But some challenges can come out of nowhere and bring you to your knees.

My name is Kristin Berry, and I founded La Bonne Fille Fine Tea Company. I want to share with you the most significant challenge I’ve ever faced and how I’ve persevered and kept building my company in spite of it all.

In 2017, I began traveling throughout top tea-producing continents, visiting farms, and meeting growers; my interest became an all-consuming passion. I realized there was a niche in the market and an opportunity to bring forward a product that allowed me to combine my sources for the highest quality full-leaf teas and natural ingredients with my love for all things romantic and delicious. La Bonne Fille Fine Tea Co. was launched from the base of the Eiffel Tower in Paris in 2021 in parallel with a serialized romance novel where a new chapter was released monthly to our email subscribers.

The weeks that followed my launch date were less than romantic, though. I was hustling hard as I built momentum with my new business, a business, and brand built on luxurious teas, romance, and love, when the irony of ironies, the bottom, fell out of my marriage. The pandemic threw many obstacles my way, requiring me to pivot constantly. I was dealing with supply chain issues, rapidly changing consumer preferences, ever-evolving marketing targets, and… I loved it.

Much like Rome being built, a marriage doesn’t dissolve in a day; it’s a long process. The experience of this loss has been isolating. Isolating in the sense that you internally struggle with intense emotions and your network (family and friends) struggles to know how to best help or respond to this change they are experiencing too, on a smaller scale. This is another reason why I feel compelled to share my story. I’m still here, my business is thriving, and this is how I’ve made it happen.

1. Give yourself permission to slow down. The pace at which you were moving before the loss may no longer be manageable, and that’s okay; in fact, it’s to be expected. You are not a machine, and slowing down isn’t giving up. You will need to make changes to focus on self-care. Even if you’re moving slowly and the direction feels uncertain, trust that you’re still moving forward.

2. Embrace letting go. Grief is a roller coaster of emotions. Letting go of what’s familiar and comfortable is challenging. By radically embracing that things are changing and accepting the loss, space naturally comes into your life for what is new and what’s next. It’s scary, but all the feelings – good and bad – remind us that our bodies, our hearts and our minds are alive.

3. Set small attainable goals. In the beginning, when you’re processing the shock and trauma, you might start by setting a few small goals for the week. Achieving goals, no matter how small, that relate to you and your dreams is healing and will do more for your self-esteem than any #ladyboss hashtags. When you achieve these goals, reward yourself, and consider my next tip when you experience a setback (which you likely will).

4. Ask for help. Asking people for help can be challenging; we want to appear strong and capable. You are likely accustomed to doing a lot of the necessary daily work independently. But letting your friends, family and those who care about you, have the opportunity to step up and support you, makes them feel good and it eases the incredible burden you’re operating under. This is also a great time to practice delegating, and the space it creates can impact your growth as you move forward.

5. Seek specialized support. While your friends and family can be there for you in many ways, there are some ways they can’t (or shouldn’t) be. This is where therapy and support groups come in. An online or in-person support group can be a beneficial resource, and you learn a lot from talking to and hearing from others.

Throughout this experience, many people have told me, “You’ll get through it” or “Just push through it,” but my experience with grief is that it’s not something to get through; it’s something you grow around. Remember that song “Closing Time”? It’s silly, but one of the lyrics keeps coming back to me; “Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.”

That’s how I got here. This is the start of another evolution that uncovers a more profound manifestation of myself, one that will take me and my business farther than the old me could ever have dreamed.

Kristin Berry is the founder of La Bonne Fille Fine Tea Co. (LBF) where she sources the highest quality full-leaf teas and natural ingredients and envelops them in the delicate veil of plant based tea sachets. LBF promotes a circular economy by encouraging customers to save and refill their favourite tea cylinder. LBF’s unique, refillable tea cylinder packaging is made of simple rigid cardboard with paper coating free from gloss, foil, or wax, making it ready and easy to recycle. High-end packaging that looks and feels as luxurious as each flavour, while also retaining our commitment to sustainability.

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