Life, Loss and Love with Nick Shaw

Life, Loss and Love with Nick Shaw
“You have to be okay with being both happy and sad at the same time, and I don't think many people are used to doing that.” - Nick Shaw

Having a child die is the unimaginable fear of any parent. How do you go on after losing a child? What can you learn and bring forward? My friend Nick Shaw wrote a book about the lessons he’s learned about slowing down, reflecting, and being yourself, after his son, William died. This is a heavier conversation than many we have here, but worth it.

Nick had dabbled in journaling and meditation before his son died, and in the aftermath, as he was trying to make meaning of something so senseless, he used both tools. He found the need, as an introvert, to go deeply inside during this experience.

Before William died, Nick was on the productivity treadmill, moving from point A to point B. When William died, time stopped. Nick took a leave of absence and his busy, hectic, highly structured days became amorphous. He didn’t really know what to do with all the time, but slowly he learned how important the pause is, the time to reflect.

We talk about: 

  • How loss and grief changed his experience of time and earning to live in the moment instead of always being focused on end results 
  • The lost art of reflection
  • Getting stuck in our own narrative of who we are and what we should be doing
  • Being yourself and creating an environment where others can be themselves
  • Learning to have a new relationship with somebody you’ve lost and to be happy and sad at the same time
  • A family ritual around remembering loved ones who have died


Calling all women balancing wellness, work, family and self… Learn a 15-minute daily practice and go to bed each night proud of what you got done.


    At the end of every episode, we share three doable changes, so you can take what you’ve heard and put it into action. Change comes from action. 

    Sometimes action gets a bad rap. You can be kind to yourself. You can practice being AND doing, but for change to happen you have to take steps. The way we take care of ourselves is making the steps doable and focusing on one thing at a time. We take time to integrate the change and then move on to the next one. Pick a Doable Change that resonates with you the most to start from. 

    3 Doable Changes

    PAUSE. You can practice pausing throughout your day. Take a moment and go outside, get some air, or do a quick mindfulness or meditation exercise. Put your phone down. Stop and notice the moment and what’s right in front of you.

    BE YOURSELF. Notice if there are places where you are doing what is expected of you, not what you really want to do. Notice if there are places you are not acting as you want to. The first doable change is to notice where you aren’t truly being yourself. The next step is to make one change to be more of who you are. It could be declaring something that you like or don’t like, wearing something new, listening to music that surprises people, trying a new hobby … be yourself.

    CREATE A RITUAL TO REMEMBER. Nick describes how his family has adapted the Día de los Muertos tradition to remember his son. He also mentions they have tacos, WIlliam’s favorite food, on the 19th of every month. Rituals give us a place to remember and something that helps us do that. Rituals can draw on other customs or whatever feels right to you and your family. Rituals actually start with doing something once, and then again. You aren’t locked in. You can always adapt. Try one thing: lighting a candle, collecting meaning objects on an altar, choosing a significant food. Notice how it feels.

    From Overwhelm to Ease


    Nick Shaw is an accomplished executive coach, author, and speaker known for his profound insights into personal transformation, self-discovery, and authentic leadership.

    Through much reflection and soul-searching, Nick has realized a need to help others find ways of living more intentional and meaningful lives. As an executive coach, Nick works with leaders to help them fully embrace the privilege of being a leader to help them create environments where their team members can thrive.

    Nick is the Co-founder of Mirrorbox Leadership Lab, an Executive Coaching and Leadership Development consulting firm. Utilizing an individual’s real life experiences, Mirrorbox’s goal is to help senior level leaders and executive teams bring about meaningful change in service of their personal and organizational growth. With the 2023 release of his debut book, My Teacher, My Son: Lessons on Life, Loss, and Love, Nick invited readers to embark on an introspective journey of their own.

    Through a compelling narrative about his experience losing his son, William, at just nine years old, Nick’s book stretches the boundaries of the memoir form to teach and inspire its readers and to help them through their own complex emotions and experiences. In the pages of My Teacher, My Son, Nick offers a thought-provoking and supportive guide that urges individuals to examine their lives with honesty and self-compassion. Through poignant anecdotes, Nick encourages readers to reevaluate their choices and embrace a more fulfilling and purposeful existence.

    As of the publication of My Teacher, My Son, Nick lives in Carlisle, Massachusetts, with his wife, Susan, and his sons Kai (11) and Bodhi (3). His eldest son, William, is buried in Green Cemetery in Carlisle, a place where the family often spends time together and finds peace. Nick and his family enjoy spending time outdoors, hiking, biking, cross-country skiing, kayaking, and stand- up paddle boarding.


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