They had been married for 12 years, Nick had a daughter. I know the impact on their lives and mine cannot be compared - and yet... Such a big part of my life simply disappeared. No time to say goodbye. No time to plan and adjust. There one day and gone the next.

The death of a loved one can be devastating; whether friend or family, whether a life partner or a business partner.

There was no place to hide and heal; the business had to carry on. We'd done the obvious beforehand; joint access to bank accounts, emails and various systems plus keyman insurance. They ensure the business doesn't stop and yet how do you carry on?

Slow down

Slowing down gives you a little time out to recover from the shock. Use that time to get with people who you can talk with, family or friends that you can open up too. Even though the business revolves around you, where you are the main fee earner, when there is no one else to take up the reins - you can.

I did push several client assignments back. I did ask some associates to replace me and ask my Accountant plus other key suppliers to do a bit more. It helped create space for healing.

Reduce the variables and control the controllables

When the waste material hits the ventilator fan the complexities of life and business can make things worse. I found it helpful to reduce the number of networking events I went to, reduce the amount of time I spent on social media and reduce the different type of assignments and clients I took on. If you can simplify life and business a little it means you have less complexity to deal with. It helps.

Show your vulnerability

I found it impossible to hide my grief. I was not as positive as people expected me to be. I admit to showing tears when talking of Nick for over two years afterwards. No one told me to "pull myself together" - I said it to myself, stupidly. Showing my vulnerability allowed others to offer help which enabled me to get over my fear of asking for help. It also enabled them to open up about more personal issues than they had done before - for their good rather than mine.

Avoid a deadline to being normal again

Nick and I were working on the book Persuade when he died. I was desperate to finish the book, to honour Nick and yet could not even look at the book for two years. I felt ready after four years. My life is not better without Nick, it is better because of him - I know that now.

In summary
Whatever personal difficulty you are going through, a combination of slowing down, talking with those you respect, simplifying things for a while will help you recover. And as the immortal words of German philosopher, Friedrich Nietzsch, say - that which does not kill us, makes us stronger.

Bob Hayward  is a business consultant and co-authored the book Persuade with the late Nick Baldock - an international speaker and sales improvement consultant