Smartful Coaching

Adversity Flip™

Turn Adversity Over to Find Something Good

Archive for the 'Self' Category

13 September

Shift Your Mindset & Shift the Outcome

“It’s only by accepting the risk of some painful trials that we get to experience the joy of new growth.”  

~ Mina Parker

Do you ever step back and look at adversity as something more than just a tough time?  If you don’t, you’re really crippling your chances for growth.

Every single time you’re faced with adversity, you have an opportunity to grow.

Shift your mindset and shift the outcome.

If you don’t shift your mindset, all you have is pain.  Shift your mindset and you can also achieve growth along with the pain. Sometimes the opportunity for growth is small, other times it is large.  Either way, there opportunity for growth is there.

Just like there are differing degrees of adversity, there are differing potentials for growth.

Do you still doubt that growth is there?  Well, let me share a few examples:

  • Lost your job?  A chance to develop new skills and meet new people.
  • Painful divorce or break-up?   Time for self-reflection on your life – where it has gone & where you want it to go. A chance to examine how you contributed to what happened.
  • A loved one that has died?  A chance to stop & truly appreciate what that person brought into your life. A chance to comfort others mourning the death & build stronger bonds with them.  A chance to look at other loved ones in your life & examine whether you’re nurturing those connections as fully as you want.
  • A physical injury?  A chance to slow down, examine your life & decide if you need to hit the “reset button” on any area of your life.

These are just a few examples. With each example, I’m sure there are other things that can be learned.

What do you think?  Let’s hear your thoughts in the comment section below.





06 September

Laugh at Adversity?

“If you are going to be able to look back on something and laugh about it, you might as well laugh about it now.”     ~ Marie Osmond

How many times have you looked back on adversity & laughed about it? It doesn’t happen all the time, but it does a fair amount. Wise words from Marie – if you’re gonna laugh about it later, you might as well laugh about it now.

This is one of my favorite quotes. It creates a very light-hearted look at life – don’t let the tough things get you down, see the absurdity in the situation whenever & however you can. It’s an attitude that helps you bounce back from adversity even faster than usual.

When you’re going through adversity it’s easy to magnify the events around you, to the point they appear monumental. Most times they aren’t.



29 August

Frozen by Adversity

“Life’s challenges are not supposed to paralyze you, they’re supposed to help you discover who you are.”          ~  Bernice Johnson Reagon

 Most of us do freeze up when faced with adversity. Adversity is an unwelcome guest and it’s easy to get preoccupied feeling sorry for ourselves and doing everything possible to shortcut adversity. A common approach is: What’s the easiest way to make this “stop”?

But Ms. Reagon is right – this isn’t meant to paralyze you. You really can learn and grow from difficult times. Use those times to figure out who you are.  How determined you are.  How passionate you are. Discover who and what is important to you. Find out what you will stand for…and what you won’t.

Adversity forces you to focus. Unfortunately, many of us focus on trying to stop the adversity. This is a closed, controlling mindset, not an open, loving mindset. No, I’m not saying you should love adversity.  Instead consider the following…

A closed mindset about adversity often translates into a closed mindset about the lesson that comes along with it.

Adversity gives you a chance to adapt and learn. Adapt by staying open & looking for the lesson. You’ll be happier and grow more as a result.


22 August

Adversity is Like Riding a Bike?

Actually, that is true as long as your bicycle has gears.

Lower gears. easy to pedal.  Higher gears require more effort.  Adversity is like that.  Sometimes adversity comes in a low-gear form – you don’t need much effort to get past it. Other times, you get hit with high-gear adversity – & it takes much more effort to get through it.

To get stronger with your bike, you need the higher gears so you can push your body more.  To get stronger from adversity, you need high-gear adversity.

Sure it’d be great for all our adversity to low-gear. Unfortunately, that’s not how life works. Since you’re going to have high-gear adversity no matter what, why not use it to your advantage?  Leverage the high-gear adversity as a way to become stronger.


15 August

What Does Adversity Have You Saying Now?

It’s here to stay.  Adversity visits everyone. We all control how we react to it, though.

Does adversity have you saying things like:

  • I can’t…
  • I hope to…
  • I”ll try…

It has that effect on all of us from time to time. But if it always makes you say those kind of things to yourself &/or others, then adversity has you paralyzed.

Instead, wouldn’t you rather move toward saying things like:

  • I’m ready to…
  • I’m giving my best effort toward…
  • I will…

Instead of passively let adversity get the better of you, make an active choice to see adversity differently.  Doing so will change what you say and also how much you accomplish.


08 August

Has Adversity Left You Feeling Powerless?

“…the journey from powerlessness to empowerment is essential to moving from ‘whatever’  to ‘whatever it takes’ “

   ~ 3 Seconds – The Power of Thinking Twice by Les Parrott

When adversity strikes  we often think “why me” or “I can’t believe this is happening” or “what the…”.   These all are a “whatever” mindset.  Very passive & negative.  Powerless – thinking this is just the way it is.  Even though you don’t usually  have control over when adversity strikes, you do have control over you attitude – how you react to the adversity.

Next time adversity rears its ugly head, why not become action-oriented & switch your mindset to “whatever it takes”.  This type of attitude & approach is making the best out of a bad situation. It may not be ideal, but still is much better than giving up, don’t you think?


01 August

A Setback Is a Setup for a Comeback

The following is a guest post by Keith Henry. Special thanks to him for today’s content and to Amber Natchek from The College City for connecting us. The College City is an initiative of the Pittsburgh Council for Higher Education.

“A setback is a setup for a comeback.” This is my favorite quote of all time and it has really helped me overcome s ome very difficult and challenging phases in my life. Another close favorite is a Latin phrase, “Aut viam inveniam aut faciam,” which translates to “I will either find a way or make one.” I have actually gotten tattoos on my body depicting both these very powerful sayings. I got them following the most difficult, gut-wrenching phase of my entire life.

I moved cross-country last year to move in with my girlfriend at the time. We were in love and it seemed like the next logical step in the progression and maturation of our relationship. I began to feel very isolated, alone and lost in a brand new city that was socially very different from my home city, a place I lived my entire life. In fact, it’s the only place I’ve ever known. My girlfriend had a fairly stable life and held a steady job. I began my job hunt just a few days after moving in with her. During one of the worst days of my life, my girlfriend actually laughed at me for not having a job and boasted about the money she was making. She later apologized and explained that she had one of her very worst days at work. I forgave her but I’ll probably never forget that moment of utter humiliation. I had left behind my entire life for her. I left behind a loving family and a city I loved.

I randomly stumbled into freelance writing after the incident really as an effort to make some quick cash. There are several excellent freelance platforms available online that link independent contractors with clients in need of web content. I learned that content is the new currency for eBusinesses and that blogging is a central tactic for increasing online visibility. I understood how to write web content for clients in a way that would help their eBusinesses rank higher in search engines, which translates to increased web traffic and this, of course, means more sales.

I got an interesting break while working on a freelance writing project at a coffee shop in my new city. A friendly looking man accidentally removed my laptop plug from the outlet and placed it back in. He apologized and we began discussing politics as he noticed I was reading an article about the upcoming Presidential election. I explained to him the freelance writing work I was doing and he referred me to an individual who runs a social media company in need of copywriters. I sent him samples of my work and he was very impressed.

My girlfriend really seemed to have problems with this career path I was on. She seemed to have trouble accepting the fact that I discovered an opportunity to earn a living doing something I was genuinely passionate about. We argued and fought a great deal over this and ultimately we broke up. What followed was one of the most challenging phases of my life. I had a very difficult time recovering from the breakup and even had a difficult time adjusting to life back home.

I can safely say that three things probably saved my life and allowed me to recover from the devastating breakup and the entire episode: Good friends, the gym and writing. My friends kept checking on me and pushed me to work out, which always boosts my mood and improves my mental clarity. I continued writing for all the clients I established relationships with; this really forced me to stay busy.

I can happily say that I’m fully recovered today. I’m writing web content for several clients and even Fortune 500 companies. I’m incredibly grateful for that chance encounter that took place at that coffee shop half way across the country.

The most important lesson I learned from this entire episode is that you really have to pinpoint the positive byproducts of even the most adverse situations in life. Trust me, they are there. Always remember that a setback is just the perfect setup for a comeback.

Keith Henry is a freelance writer, web content coordination for The College City. Keith has created his own freelance business, which has become very successful.

25 July

The Adversity of Starting Over

“We all go from most knowledgeable to most ignorant several times in our lives.” 

~ Barbara Sher

If you’ve ever lost a job or changed careers, I’m sure you can relate to this.

A relationship ends or our children say or do something unexpected –  that can leave us wondering if we overestimated how much we knew or overestimated how well we knew someone.

Many people stay in a dead-end job or dead-end relationship because the fear of starting over is more than they want to deal with.

But you can reprogram your thoughts and feelings.

Instead of fear, you can make starting over a new adventure. Something fun & exciting.

Think back to when you were a kid. Whether it was the first time riding a bike, catching a fish, or getting that basketball to go in the hoop. Remember how excited you felt?

I am a huge believer that life IS change. It is about continually being re-born & continually learning new things.

With that being the case, wouldn’t you rather be excited about those changes than fearful of them?


15 July

The Upside of Pain

The things which hurt, instruct.  ~ Ben Franklin

I injured my knees playing basketball 20 years ago.  The injury flares up from time to time & usually goes away as quickly as it comes on. Fortunately, it’s had little impact on my day-to-day life.

Earlier this month I was bowling with friends.  After 2 games my knee was bothering me & I thought about stopping.  My next thought was that I was being a “wimp” & could bowl another game.  So I did.

Bad idea.

My body was trying to tell me something.  I was ignoring it.

My knee got worse & I’ve had to ice it quite a bit.  Thankfully it’s nearly back to normal now.

Instead of mentally beating myself up over this, I chose to “flip adversity” & find the lessons in this. Here’s what I came up with:

  • Trust your instincts.  It occurred to me that maybe I should stop bowling.  I should have trusted that.
  • Take a break.  Being active is great, but sometimes resting is just what your body &/or mind needs.
  • Pay attention.  Your body is constantly sending you messages – when to rest, be more active, etc.  Listen.
  • Appreciate your body.  It has an amazing power to heal.  Be thankful to your body for the ways it has served you.

Physical pain isn’t fun, but it is a warning sign.  Pay attention & prevent it from turning into something worse.




08 July

Bad Behavior = Good Results?

“I thank the Lord for the people I have found.” 

~ from the song Mona Lisa’s and Mad Hatters by Elton John

When was the last time you took time to be thankful for the people that have come into your life?  I mean all of them – every single person?  Yes, even the ones that have treated you poorly.

I used to think I should only be thankful for the people that treated me well.

As life has moved forward, I’ve learned it is important to be thankful for everyone. Sure when someone snaps at you or says a harsh word, the natural reaction is to be upset & distance oneself from them.

But if you look at the bigger picture, that person is a teacher.

Yes, someone’s bad behavior can turn into good results for you…if you let it.

The first lesson – be more understanding toward others. You can use their behavior to become less reactionary, less judgemental & more forgiving – basically, to give them them a break, cut them some slack.  Afterall, let’s face it, none of us know the full story with someone else.  Something painful from their childhood may be surfacing,  they may have just had a big fight with a family member, be dealing with money problems or any number of other things.

The second lesson – they’re giving me a front row seat to see how “not” to behave.  I experience exactly how that treatment makes me feel & know I don’t want to make anyone else feel that way.

I truly believe that everyone comes into our lives for a reason & there is something for us to learn from them.

Isn’t it time to be thankful for all the people that have come into your life?  The challenging people in your life can actually help you become a better person, if you let them.