We’ve all experienced loss at one point or another. As Deloitte’s Human Sustainability Leader, I’ve had the opportunity to talk to so many individuals who have so much to give, but are struggling to show up as their best selves because of a loss they’re going through. Loss can come in so many forms. The loss of a loved one, the loss of a job, the loss of a relationship, the loss of dreams — all warrant time to reflect and grieve. And when we don’t hold space for ourselves to lean into our grief, we can experience burnout, which drains us of our energy, passion, and drive.

I sat down with Rebecca Soffer, the cofounder of Modern Loss, which offers meaningful and encouraging content addressing the long arc of grief. She is also the author of the bestselling book The Modern Loss Handbook: An Interactive Guide to Moving Through Grief and Building Your Resilience and a globally-renowned speaker on the themes of loss, resilience, and empathy.

 “We all need a release valve,” Rebecca told me. “When we use it, we free up all of the energy it took to keep that stuff inside and can use it to figure out what we need to take care of ourselves, then go make it happen.” Rebecca shared the importance of opening up about what we’re going through. When we’re struggling with loss, finding solace in conversation and community can help us build resilience. Our conversation completely shifted my mindset around grief, and I’m eager to share the lessons I took away from it.

Here’s what Rebecca had to say about loss and resilience: 

Loss is an individual experience, but it doesn’t have to be an isolating one.

Talking about our grief can feel scary, but community is what people need in times of loss. And when you’re willing to start sharing parts of your story to certain people in ways that are raw and vulnerable, you’ll create new connections and sources of support and likely deepen the ones you already have. People are looking for an invitation to talk about their hard things. This is a bit tough love-y, but it’s up to us, the people dealing with those things, to start sharing about them.

Grief isn’t only about death. 

Grief is the natural reaction to loss, and loss can come in endless forms. If it feels like grief to you, it is. It can be losing a job or an unexpected career shift, the end of an intimate or platonic relationship, an illness or a sudden caretaking role that leaves you with little time for anything else. It can be the loss of a dream you had for the future. It can even show up as the result of losing our go-to coping mechanisms, which happened so frequently during the pandemic when we could no longer easily see people in person.  If it feels like you’re struggling with a really hard thing, then it’s worth respecting and examining.

Humor can play a role in your grieving process.

Life is messy and ridiculous, and so there’s an enormous amount of humor within its ludicrous aspects. Grief is a life experience on utter steroids. It has no roadmap, no timeline, no respect for our need to not be flattened by it at 2:00 p.m. in the middle of your workday. Sharing darkly humorous anecdotes with each other can be a mental exhale and an enormous emotional lifeline. A lot of us who’ve lost people have stories about funerals, or holidays, or a parent starting to date again, or weird stuff that we found in our people’s closets when cleaning them out. And when we allow ourselves to talk about and connect over them, it helps us to realize yet again that as different as the details of our particular stories might be, the themes are similar: It’s nice to know you aren’t the only person going through a completely crazy experience. 

There’s power in showing up for the people around us.

We’re living through times of deep grief. Between climate grief, the long tail of a global pandemic, political and societal divisiveness, and horrible violence and wars, it can be overwhelming. We’re also dealing with a lot of loneliness. It’s hard to feel like we can hold space for other people in our lives when we’re just trying to keep our own heads above water. But the good news is, it doesn’t take much to make someone else feel like you’re supporting them. Consider taking ten minutes to update your calendar with dates that some of your friends and family may struggle with, and remind yourself to send a simple check-in as that date approaches. You don’t have to solve the world’s grief, but you do hold the power to show up for one person.  All people want is to feel like others are aware that what they’re going through is hard — and there’s power in recognizing that.


  • Jen Fisher

    Human Sustainability Leader at Deloitte and Editor-at-Large, Human Sustainability at Thrive Global

    Jen Fisher is a leading voice on the intersection of work, well-being, and purpose. Her mission is to help leaders move from the legacy mindset that well-being is solely the responsibility of the individual to the forward-thinking idea of human sustainability, which supports the long-term, collective well-being of individuals, organizations, climate, and society.  

    She’s the co-author of the bestselling, award-winning book, Work Better Together: How to Cultivate Strong Relationships to Maximize Well-Being and Boost Bottom Lines, the Human Sustainability Editor-at-Large for Thrive Global, and the host of the WorkWell podcast series.

    As the first chief well-being officer of a professional services organization, Jen built and led the creation and execution of a pioneering holistic and inclusive well-being strategy that has received recognition from leading business media brands and associations.

    Jen is a frequent writer on issues impacting the workplace today, including the importance of mental health and social connection to workforce resilience, happiness, and productivity. Her work has been featured in CNBC, CNN, Fast Company, Fortune, Inc, Stanford Social Innovation Review, and Harvard Business Review, among others.

    She’s a sought-after speaker and has been featured at events including TEDx, World Happiness Summit, Out & Equal Workplace Summit, Acumen Global Gathering, WorkHuman, The Atlantic Pursuit of Happiness event, and more. She’s also lectured at top universities across the country, including Harvard, Wake Forest, Duke, and George Mason.

    Jen is passionate about sharing her breast cancer and burnout recovery journeys to help others. She’s also a healthy lifestyle enthusiast, self-care champion, exercise fanatic, sleep advocate, and book nerd! Jen lives in Miami with her husband, Albert, and dog, Fiona.

    You can find her on LinkedIn or on Twitter and Instagram @JenFish23. You can also receive her personal insights and reflections by subscribing to her newsletter, "Thoughts on Being Well" @jenfisher.substack.com.

  • Rebecca Soffer, co-founder of Modern Loss, has made significant contributions in the field of grief support and death care. Modern Loss is a platform that offers creative, meaningful, and encouraging content and community addressing the long arc of grief.
    Soffer is the author of the bestselling book The Modern Loss Handbook: An Interactive Guide to Moving Through Grief and Building Your Resilience, which was praised by Gayle King as one of her favorite books of 2022. She has also co-authored Modern Loss: Candid Conversation About Grief. Beginners Welcome, recognized by The Strategist as one of the best books on loss for a younger generation.
    Soffer’s personal journey with grief at an early age and the transparency of her own experiences provide insight and comfort for an often-uncomfortable topic. In addition to her writing and managing the Modern Loss website, Soffer curates the Modern Loss newsletter, a long-form critic’s pick in Substack publication featuring intimate interviews with notable figures sharing their experiences with loss. Notable include actor Cynthia Nixon, poet Saeed Jones, comedians Jena Friedman and Rachel Bloom, transgender rights activist Raquel Willis, and celebrity stylist Stacy London. Soffer also hosts the monthly Light After Loss series on Facebook for 1800Flowers.com.
    Soffer is recognized for her expertise in loss, resilience, empathy, and community building, making her a sought-after international speaker. Her warm and engaging style facilitates difficult conversations, and her keynotes, presentations, and workshops are highly regarded among colleges, conferences, corporations, and religious foundations.
    Beyond writing and speaking, Soffer has also produced and performed in live Modern Loss storytelling, comedy, and musical events around the United States, including The Modern Loss Variety Hour, which featured Grammy Award-winner Brian d’Arcy James, Saturday Night Live’s Katie Rich, and The Late Show with Stephen Colbert’s Steve Waltien, to name a few.
    Soffer’s work has garnered widespread media attention, appearing on CBS Mornings, CBS Sunday Morning, NPR, NY1, MSNBC, CNN, CTV, The Washington Post, and The Wall Street Journal. Her writing has been featured in The New York Times, TIME, Marie Claire, Glamour, and NBC Think. Rebecca is a Peabody Award-winning former producer for the Colbert Report and a Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism alumna. She divides her time between New York City, the Berkshires in Massachusetts, and Austin with her husband and two young sons.