Smartful Coaching

Adversity Flip™

Turn Adversity Over to Find Something Good

Archive for the 'Self' Category

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?


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?


17 June

Gentle Cycle?

The other day I was doing laundry & looked more closely at the settings on the washing machine.  Under “Gentle Cycle” it said “Intermittent Agitation”.  I chuckled since those 2 things sounded  like opposites.

Then I started relating this to life in general. We often expect our life to be on “Gentle Cycle”, but also expect that means there won’t be any agitation.

But, by definition life is change. Along with that comes agitation, churning &  adversity.

No matter what you do, some agitation & adversity will be a part of your life.

Isn’t it time that you set your life expectations on the right “cycle”, so you aren’t surprised with the adversity and agitation shows up?  Set your life on gentle cycle…treat yourself gently, so you’ll be ready when the intermittent agitation shows up.




11 June

Your Services are No Longer Needed: How Getting Laid-off Was My Reality Check

The following is a guest post, by Anne McAuley of McAuley Freelance Writing…

Hearing the words that my services were no longer needed was a punch in the gut. I along with 11 of my friends and colleagues were laid off in August of 2010. In the first moments and days I was walking through a fog. After nearly 20 years in corporate America my name badge and pass into Cubicle City had been revoked. I was mad then sad then mad again.

Losing a job is like losing a part of you or like losing a friend. There’s a grieving process. My job had been there for me for more than six years. I was the Leader of Corporate Culture for my division. People liked me and I was respected. How could they have laid me off? No amount of severance pay could ever make up for the slap in the face.

My momma didn’t raise no fool and my parents taught me to pull myself up from my bootstraps. I didn’t just pull myself up. I yanked myself off the couch, out of my red fuzzy slippers and into the shower. I got dressed and was ready to take on the world. I headed to a networking group called Career Connectors and the rest as they say is history.

That day was the first day of my new life. That day I became the CEO of ME, Incorporated. I wasn’t a victim of the recession. I was a woman whose mama had raised no fool. It wasn’t my job or the corporate culture that I loved and missed. I missed everything that I did for that company that wasn’t even in my job description.

I am a writer and a connector.

I love people and I love words.

How I could make that a business wasn’t even a question. There was no fear.

There was sheer determination.

The fun blog I had started to entertain my friends and family was converted to a business blog. The business blog eventually became the McAuley Freelance Writing website.

Having known exactly zero business owners, I set a course to meet business owners at networking events. I learned how to do an elevator speech about my business. There was a bit of fake-it-til-you-make-it. There was never fear. I interned with a local marketing services small business and learned a lot about how not to run a business, an experience that has allowed me to grow my business in leaps and bounds.

To this day I have half a business plan and the half that is completed needs to be redone. The business has a life of its own and for that I am grateful.

Clearly I didn’t need corporate America to make me a successful business woman. In fact I am more grounded, successful, happier and richer without them.


McAuley Freelance Writing is based in Mesa, AZ and provides professional writing services to clients around the globe. Services include copywriting for websites, brochures and marketing collateral as well as blogging and Twitter account management. Contact info@mcauleyfreelancewriting for additional information.

04 June

When “No” Creates Adversity

Adversity can often show up by someone saying “no”.

Interview for a job & they say “no”.  Your spouse asks for a divorce is basically a “no” to the marriage.  A potential new client says “no”. Your child rebels against your authority is a big fat “no”.  The list goes on…

It’s easy to get caught up thinking that “no” is a 100% negative thing.  But it doesn’t have to be.

You can flip your thinking – when someone says “no”, see it as a springboard for you to say “yes” to something else.

Sure, hearing “no” isn’t fun.  But let’s face it, it is a part of life.  Turn your thinking on its side and see the “yes” that is buried within the “no”.

For instance, when that potential new client tells you “no”, do you ask them why so you can do better with the next client?  It may be hard to see at the time, but that potential’s “no” is giving you permission to tweak the way you do business, get more creative & land an even bigger client.

It’s all a matter of perspective.

If you see “no” as strictly that & nothing else you’ve limited your options. Opening up your thinking & you open up new possibilities.

“No” can actually be a gateway to more, not less.  But you have to be willing to change your thinking.


27 May

What’s Inside?

“In every adversity lies the seeds of equal or greater opportunity.”  ~  Napoleon Hill

Mr. Hill knew stuff.

It’s easy to see adversity as nothing more than just that – adversity.

And yet, Mr. Hill saw that the opportunity is not only equal to the adversity, but sometimes it is even greater.

How cool is that?!

Based on my experience, there is always something good within adversity.  I know it, Mr. Hill knows it, & I’ve come across an unbelievable number of people who  know it too.

Some times it is easy to see the “good stuff”, but usually it takes some searching. Regardless, it’s there.  You just need to do 2 things: shift your thinking & look deeper.  If you go into thinking you’ll find something good, it will be much easier to find it.

Are you ready to do those 2 things?



06 May

Gratitude & Adversity

“Gratitude allows us to put life back in balance. When you live with constant gratitude, your life will become a living prayer.” 

~ Barbara DeAngelis, from her book: Real Moments

You may be wondering what gratitude has to do with adversity.

A lot.

It’s easy to be grateful when things go well. How many of us are grateful when things don’t go well, when life is filled with adversity?

It’s important to be grateful for all of life. Even the adversity.

Adversity is where the growth is. Adversity allows us to rise above it.  Adversity is where the lesson is.

Life itself is both triumph & adversity. How can we triumph without adversity? Have you ever been inspired by someone overcoming “the good life”?

No. Every story of inspiration is about overcoming adversity.

 “Our pain can be our greatest teacher. It leads us to places we’d never go on our own.” 

~ Debbie Ford, from her book: The Dark Side of the Light Chasers

My father died when I was 9. I’ve been divorced twice. My daughter has disowned me. Do I wish these things had been different. Absolutely.

Yet at the same time I learned & am grateful for the lessons.

From my dad’s death, I learned to:

  • never take loved ones for granted
  • be grateful that my mom is still living – some have lost both parents
  • be grateful that my dad lived as long as he did – some never know their father at all

With divorce, I learned that:

  • it’s important to follow both my heart & my head
  • I need to love & respect myself before I can truly love & respect another
  • love alone isn’t enough, you have to like, respect & understand each other

With my daughter refusing to speak to me, there are times I think that all I’ve learned is heartache. But then I realize I’ve learned:

  • true love is expressing your feelings, regardless of whether the other person will express theirs or not
  • to focus less on the outcome & more on making sure I’ve done the best that I am able to do
  • once I’ve done all that I can, to be patient, let go & turn things over to our creator in faith & trust

Do I wish these events in my life had played out differently? Yes.

Yet, I’m grateful for what I’ve learned as a result. Adversity has helped me experience significant personal growth & become a stronger person.

It all comes down to a matter of perspective. And we all can change our perspectives if we choose to. Find ways to be grateful for adversity.







22 April

How Did It Get This Bad?

My life was falling apart. I couldn’t believe how bad it was & how quickly it seemed to happen.

I searched to find the “one bad choice” that landed me on the dark path I was on.

There wasn’t any one thing.

Simply a series of small changes that individually looked minor & harmless.

But when combined, radically altered where my life was headed.

My job, my finances, my health, my spirit & my attitude – were all a mess.

I didn’t feel like “me” any more.

I was super-stressed, eating poorly, lacking exercise, feeling isolated & sleeping very little. I’d put myself on the path to an early grave. I was beyond anxious to find a new path.

Then I discovered a big part of the problem. I was trying to control everything. In particular, related to making a career change.

“I once had a grip on everything.  It feels better to let go.

~ from the song: I’m Not Over by Carolina Liar

Change careers – I was so ready. But instead of letting it develop naturally, I set it in my mind that I must have a masters degree. Instead making the end goal (career change) the most important thing, I was totally focused on a rigid set of steps that I decided must happen first.

And I’d become so determined & focused on getting that degree that I blinded myself to all the warning signs around me.  Then one day I “woke up” & saw how bad my life had become.

A difficult decision, but I chose to leave school. Immediately my stress was reduced, I found time for exercise & improved my finances.  In turn, my sleep improved.

In hindsight, one of the best decisions I ever made.

I can’t recall the author’s name, but I once read a book that talked about the importance of “choosing the hard no”.  My hard no was dropping school & having faith that the needed events & people would appear in my life when the time was right.

And that is just what happened.

My life fell apart in 2007/2008. In 2009, I got back on the right path. And in 2010, I attended two life-changing seminars (by Barbara Sher).  Those seminars solidified that I was making the right career change & significantly shaped the way I do business today. In 2011 I launched my business full-time.

It’s easy to seen now that I was trying to control everything out of fear. In this case, my level of adversity had to red-line before I was able to learn the lesson.

The lesson…  don’t get so locked into a way of thinking that you miss what’s going on around you.  Instead, pay attention, have faith, let go, & deal with fear in the right way.  We all arrive where we need to, but we can’t always choose the route.




07 April

Dealing with Adversity – The 3rd Option

When something bad happens in your life, what do you do?

A common reaction is to “numb out”…with alcohol, mindless tv, or some other unproductive thing.

Another approach is to aggressively try to “undo” the adversity.  Along the lines of: we have this problem, now we have to fix it.

There is a 3rd option many people either forget about or consciously choose to avoid.

The 3rd option is to just “be with the adversity”:

  • Admit it’s real (don’t deny it)
  • Accept it (don’t run from it)
  • See it for what it is…a chance to grow (don’t try to fix it)

Earlier in life I found myself often utilizing the 1st option – numbing out. Later in life, I saw that wasn’t the best approach. So I started using the “fix it” approach. The “fix it” approach can be effective at times.

However, I’ve now learned that the 3rd option is the most valuable.

To hunker down with the adversity & say: “Ok, it’s you & me, what now?”

This opens your heart & mind to possibilities. It makes you receptive to learning & growth.

The times when I’ve just been with my adversity – an amazing amount of goodness always comes out of it.


Those  are the times when I’ve experienced the most growth in my life.

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



25 March

Adversity…How Much Change to Make?

“Unfortunately, most of the time, the first thing a person does when suddenly confronted with adversity is decide he or she has to make sweeping changes.”

~ Success is a Choice by Rick Pitino

I’ve reacted this way before. I imagine you have too. It seems like an almost natural reaction, in fact.

But it really is an overreaction.

Adversity is a necessary part of life. It’s not an indicator that you need to make massive changes.

Some times you don’t need to make any changes – just be patient.  Or often 1 or 2 right changes can make a huge difference.

For example, a few years ago I started working on my master’s degree. A big change occurred at my job, significantly increasing the demands placed upon me.  To meet all the deadlines with work & school, I cut out all exercise & was only sleeping a few hours a night. I was massively stressed. I tried to cope with the stress by applying lots of junk food and alcohol. I gained a ton of weight & that stressed me out even more. Everything in my life seemed to be in a downward spiral.

I knew something had to change.

I made the tough decision to drop out of the master’s program. I didn’t feel good about it at the time, but see now it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. My stress level dropped right away, I was exercising again, I ate better – & lost most of the weight I’d gained.

That one decision to drop out, helped me right away & also became a catalyst with many of the other positive life changes I’ve made since.

Adversity gives you an opportunity to learn & to grow. How have you taken advantage of the opportunities that adversity has given you?