Smartful Coaching

Adversity Flip™

Turn Adversity Over to Find Something Good

12 December

Did Everything Right and Adversity Still Shows Up

Have you ever felt like this? I handled everything very well, but still came up on the short end of the stick?

Maybe it was a difficult conversation. You spent the time needed to prepare, found the right environment and the right way to say what you wanted to say, but the other person took it poorly.

It would be great if the amount of effort and our intentions were always major factors in creating a successful outcome. Often they only play a minor role.

Sometimes adversity just happens. When it does, you have to deal with it as best as you can.

A big part of dealing with it the best you can is looking for the lesson. I truly believe you can find something meaningful and helpful in nearly every situation,  if you look. However, there will be that rare instance when it was strictly just adversity and there was little, if anything to learn.

When that happens, maybe the best lesson is to just let it go and move on.

What do you think? Please share your thoughts in the comments section.

02 April

Making A Name For Yourself In Business and In Life

When people think of you do you know what they think? Do they think you’re a positive go-to kind of person? Do they avoid you because you’re a complainer? Do they think of you first when they have a problem to solve? What name have you made for yourself among your business colleagues and among family and friends? If your attitude is on the negative end of the scale, is there any way to flip adversity or a bad mood on its head and become more positive? Of course there is. Of course, as with any change you make, it may take time and you may have to take baby steps.

How can you be the go-to person among your friends, family and colleagues? Here are a few of my thoughts:

  • Be visible. Show your face at networking events and family get togethers. If you don’t show up, people won’t think of you when they’re seeking a solution.
  • Be positive. Yes, everyone had bad days and perhaps that is the day you should stay at home. But, if you’re determined to turn your attitude upside down you can project a positive attitude even if you aren’t 100% “feeling it.” Ask after the welfare of others and deflect your complaints or criticisms. Who knows, simply helping or listening to someone else may help you see, your issues aren’t as insurmountable as you’d imagined.
  • Become an expert. Regardless of your field — whether it’s a business professional, a DIY genius or anywhere in between share your expertise and the love of what you do. Your enthusiasm will be contagious.
  • Share your knowledge with others. Don’t feel you have to hoard your knowledge or your skills. Share freely with others whether in the business groups to which you belong or through volunteer organizations. What you give out will come back tenfold.

What are people thinking about you?

  Robbi Hess, Social Wordsmith, is a professional blogger, social media consultant and  speaker on time management, social media for the small business and productivity. She works with entrepreneurs providing professional writing services including: writing web copy, newsletters, guest and ghost blogging and long letter copywriting. 

08 March

Some Days Even a Positive Attitude Doesn’t Help: You Need To Wallow

This past week has been a series of thrilling highs and heart-rending lows. From the opportunity to visit and reconnect with friends and clients in faraway places to losing my father on March 2. I’ve never been one for roller coaster rides but unfortunately, this past week life has had me on a never ending one.

When it comes to “which member of the family is known for crying” the award is, and always has, gone to me. I pride myself on not crying in public but this week I haven’t been able to live up to my own personal standard. I find myself crying in the grocery store when I look at a box of Shredded Wheat (Dad’s favorite), looking at family photos of vacations, weddings and birthdays celebrated, and then for no reason that I can see. I’ve had to leave grocery stores in the middle of shopping because I started crying and couldn’t focus. I’d been counting down the days until my one year anniversary of being cancer-free (April 9) and was now hit with this…. truly, God where have you gone? During this time I read about a book by a Coast to Coast Radio talk show host I enjoy, Ian Punnett entitled “How To Pray When You’re Pissed At God.” I pre-ordered the book, but boy could I use its teachings right about now.

Am I making a point? Is there anyway to “flip” this adversity on its head and put a positive spin on it? Not likely. Does that make me somehow a failure in showing a positive attitude? Not at all. There are simply times in life when you need to give in and feel your pain, live your grief. I’ve discovered it’s nothing to be ashamed of. It’s who I am. If I find I can’t move on or can’t get dressed, or can’t go to a grocery store without breaking down I will know enough to know that it’s time to seek help. Right now though I am dealing with the stages of grief:

  1. Shock and denial
  2. Pain and guilt
  3. Anger and bargaining
  4. Depression, reflection and loneliness
  5. The upward turn
  6. Reconstruction and working through
  7. Acceptance and hope

Right now I am vacillating between steps 1, 2 and 3. While I know I can’t “power through” this I also know I am not alone in finding ways to cope with the loss and I think that just learning to cope is a step forward in the healing process.

  Robbi Hess, Social Wordsmith, is a professional blogger, social media consultant and creative thinker.  She is a speaker on the subjects of time management, writing and productivity. “Helping entrepreneurs find the ‘write’ words!” 

12 February

Manage Your Work Time, Manage Your Stress

Work is a fact of life for the majority of us, right? Because of that fact, it’s crucial that we manage the time we spend at work — whether you work in a large corporation, a solopreneur operation or anywhere in between. Feeling stressed and out of control at work will not only spill over into your home life, it will impact your attitude before you even walk in the door in the mornings.

Here are my tips on regaining control and managing your time:

  1. Do you love your physical workspace? Is your desk a mess? Even if you don’t have a room with a view, you can make your workspace warm and inviting. Take time to clean the desk if it’s a mess and create a more welcoming environment.
  2. Are you generating too many ideas? If you’re an entrepreneur, idea generation is key… but not at the expense of actually completing the tasks necessary to keep your business viable. Write your ideas down but know that you may have to table some in order to concentrate on the work at hand.
  3. It’s not the quantity, but the quality that counts. Working 12 hours a day doesn’t mean you’re productive all 12, does it? It’s likely that they are not all productive so you need to concentrate on quality of the time you spend at work. If you’re truly productive for four hours in the morning, take advantage of that time. Set a specific end time for your workday and stick to it!
  4. How much are you growing personally? Business owners know that professional growth is a given, but if you neglect personal growth, you will stagnate. Learn a new skill. Make a new habit. Take time for yourself and incorporate healthy habits into your work day.
  5. How do you tackle your weekend? Do you use your weekend to recover from the workweek? If so, this is a habit that needs to be changed and this change will come about once you harness the stress you’re feeling at work. Your weekend should be a time for family and recreation and yes a little bit of planning for the week ahead.

What will you do to take control of your time?

05 February

Make The Decision To Seek Happiness Over Adversity

How happy are you? Is it a stressor when you’re asked whether you’re happy? Do you have to work at happiness or do you wake up in the morning in a stellar mood? What if you could take a few simple steps toward happy and away from negativity or adversity?

The power of positive thinking is an incredible power to harness. Here are three steps I try to undertake when I need to flip my switch in my brain to “Happy”:

  1. Start the day with reflection. Take the time to reflect on the successes of the prior day and plan for success on the day ahead. Take the time to answer the questions: Who are you? What do you want to do? What makes you happy? Answering these questions will steer you toward positivity and help you to reflect on you own existence and its place in the world. When you’re feeling stressed during the day step away for a few minutes of positive reflection – it will help you get back on track.
  2. Endeavor to make one small change a day, every day. Keeping your brain active and engaged is crucial for happiness and success. Break out of a rut. It could be as simple as shaking up your morning routine to completing a crossword puzzle to learning a new task.
  3. Go with the flow. This is one that I struggle with almost daily. You need to let go of anger at interruptions and adapt to the changes. Write down those things that are stopping your “flow.” Determine from the items that you’ve written down: What is within your control and what is outside of the realm of your control? Knowing which are which will help you more easily let go of those things over which you have no control. Take time for deep, meditative breaths or a quick, relaxing walk.

What will you do to make your day a happier, more productive one? What do you need to do to get back in the flow?

  Robbi Hess, Social Wordsmith, is a professional blogger, social media consultant and creative thinker. She works with entrepreneurs providing professional writing services including: writing web copy, newsletters, guest and ghost blogging and long letter copywriting. She is also a speaker on the subjects of time management, writing and productivity. “Helping entrepreneurs find the ‘write’ words!” 

29 January

En-‘Vision’-ing Success in 30 Days

Is it possible to achieve a dream in 30 days? Do you have a vision of where you want to be — both personally and professionally? Does it seem a daunting task to reach that milestone? How about committing to 30 days to a more productive you? Having accomplished more and crossed more off your to do list at the end of the day, week, and month is such a heady feeling of accomplishment and it propels you toward even greater heights of productivity and vision attainment.

There are five steps that I have found beneficial in reaching my goals and which have helped me envision success:

  1. Commit to 30 days. You don’t have to wait until the first of the month to start this. Start today and commit for the next 30 days going forward. Having an end in sight may make you more likely to stick to it a goal/project. If you find the steps you’ve implemented aren’t working, feel free to toss them or look for new ones at the end of your 30 days.
  2. Make certain your goals are realistic. Yes, we’ve heard about those rare individuals that can pen a bestselling novel in 30 days or reach a six figure sales goal in a month… those individuals are few and far between. Don’t set yourself up for failure by setting unrealistic goals. Remember, you’re looking to change your work habits and you can’t change yourself overnight. Don’t let a missed goal make you feel like an under-achiever; instead determine whether the goal was truly reachable.
  3. Baby steps are critical to making it to the top and achieving success with your goal. Remember, it’s easier to eat an elephant one bite at a time than to tackle it all in one meal.
  4. Find an accountability partner. Having a goal-buddy keeps you both accountable and helps you stay on task. It’s great to have someone to bounce ideas off of when you’re feeling stymied and run down.
  5. You need to believe in yourself, your capabilities and your skills. Be confident in who you are and what you do and that will go a long way in helping you reach your 30 day goal.

What will you set as your 30 day mile marker?

 Robbi Hess, Social Wordsmith, is a professional blogger, social media consultant and creative thinker. She works with entrepreneurs providing professional writing services including: web copy, newsletters, guest and ghost blogging and long letter copywriting. She is also a speaker on the subjects of time management, writing and productivity. “Helping entrepreneurs find the ‘write’ words!” 

22 January

Seven Steps To A More Productive You!

You love your To-Do lists, don’t you? I know I do! I also love a schedule although I had to learn the hard way that I needed to let go of schedules and learn to live more in the moment — it was a tough lesson and one that I am still grappling with. I have, however, learned a few ways to be more productive in the allotted amount of time in my workday and I’m certain you can too. Time is money but your health is also crucial; without it, you won’t be of any use to yourself or your clients.

Here are my top seven tips to getting, and remaining, productive:

  1. Well, maybe I should. But I just don’t know… You need to make decisions more quickly. Sitting on decisions means you’re having that sitting in the back of your mind taking up valuable real estate. Don’t second guess your decisions and don’t spend an inordinate amount of time obsessing over a business decision. If you find out it’s not a good fit, you can certainly change your mind, right? Of course you can. Don’t wait for an epiphany – decide now!
  2. Setting up or attending a meeting? Is there an agenda? If there isn’t, call a time out and ask for an agenda. Walking into a meeting without an agenda is a recipe for spending time unproductively and walking out feeling frustrated.
  3. Hello? Can we talk? If I don’t recognize your phone number, chances are I will not answer the phone when you call. Send me an email first as a way to introduce yourself. Too many times, business owners get bogged down on phone calls that don’t come to a resolution… see number #2… and because we simply don’t know whether we can work together.
  4. Turn off email alerts while you’re in the midst of a mentally intensive project. If you’re constantly checking emails because it sent an alert, you won’t be fully invested in the project in front of you and therefore, you won’t give it your all. If you have to, let people know that you turn your email off from the hours of 9 am and noon or between 2 and 5 pm – whenever your most productive times are. Just because you get an email doesn’t mean you need to respond right now!
  5. Speaking of emails… Don’t get bogged down in emails. You need a system that works for you for not only answering messages, but for following up and for even knowing whether you need to answer, delete or delegate the message. The system you come up with is one that will be unique to your business’s specific needs. There is no one size fits all even though there are steps that can be taken to formulate a system to prioritize messages.
  6. Take a break. You read that correctly! You need to take time to get up from the computer screen and give both your mind and your body a break. Physical and mental exhaustion can set in quickly and you need to be prepared. Staying healthy and active benefits you and your clients!
  7. Step. Away. From. The. Computer/Business. Yes, you need to completely unplug from your computer (and that means Angry Birds and Words With Friends!) and from your business at least once a week. When is the last time you took an entire day off? If you can’t remember, you need to schedule it right now. Do your clients truly expect you to be available 24/7/365? If so, you may need to sit down with them and tell them you’re going to start working “normal business hours” I’m certain they will understand.

How will you step up to the plate and be productive? What will you need to let go of to make it happen? Can you start today? I’d love to hear. 

31 December

‘Tis The Season To Schedule Success

The new year is the season of rebirth and renewal and what better time than New Year’s Eve to look forward toward success. Whether you’re self employed or punch a clock, being organized and productive releases stress and helps you face adversity and become more resilient.

Taking three simple steps to gain control of your calendar and your life will help you succeed. Here are my top three time-saving tips that will hopefully propel you toward a more successful 2013:

  1. Regain control of your email inbox. If you have multiple email accounts and get duplicate messages, email overload will soon wear you down. Knowing that when you log in you will be faced with hundreds, or even thousands of emails, take a mental toll. Take time now to regain control — set aside a couple of hours in the first week of the year to clean out your inbox. Once you have read, responded or deleted messages, you need to set aside time on a daily basis to tackle the inbox or it will become unmanageable in a short amount of time.
  2. Delegate. Delegate. Delegate. What items on your to do list can you offload? What tasks do you have on your to-do list that you never get to because they simply aren’t a priority? Cross them off. Delegate tasks to others if that is an option. Look at your tasks and determine whether you have made some of them more difficult than they need to be. If they are, simplify them and cross them off.
  3. “Yes” and “no” are your most powerful tools. Learn to use them both wisely. When you’re asked to volunteer, take on a new task, attend a networking event… take a moment and ask yourself whether this task will enhance your career or your life; will it fulfill you or drain you; does it take you further toward your path of success or will it draw you away from it?

How will you make 2013 profitable and productive? What will you do to make 2013 the year where you take back control of your life and your schedule?

11 December

Bouncing Back From Adversity

You know that when you stretch a rubber band too far it will eventually lose its elasticity and will snap, right? Did you know the same can happen with you? If you stretch yourself to your limits of mental and/or physical health you will lose your “elasticity” — your ability to bounce back.

It’s sometimes easy (and very self defeating) to look at a colleague or family member and see that they are dealing with a situation similar to your own, but they appear to be handling it much better than you are. Why is that? It could be any number of reasons having to do with their own personal coping mechanisms and perhaps they have even more stressors than what you are aware of. Regardless of the reason, you can learn to be more resilient. Steven Southwick, a professor and co-author of “Resilience: The Science of Mastering Life’s Greatest Challenges” believes that we can amp up our ability to bounce back.

Here are the ten factors he finds crucial to not only being resilient, but to helping yourself face stressful situations more effectivelyt:

  • optimism
  • flexibility
  • core value system
  • faith
  • positive role models
  • social support
  • physical fitness
  • cognitive strength
  • facing fears
  • finding meaning in struggles

Outlook is a factor in being both mentally and physically healthy. If you foster a positive attitude that will be contagious — just as a bad mood fosters negative feelings in others, so too does an optimistic outlook. Practice being positive and the world around you will respond in kind.

04 December

Turning Adversity On Its Head With Gratitude

Guest post by Robbi Hess

There are many tools that individuals and business owners have at their disposal as a way to face the day and grow a business. Did you know that one of the tools you should be using is gratitude? Gratitude is defined as “a positive emotion… one that acknowledges a benefit.” Whether you’re being grateful to a family member, colleague or business client, it’s crucial that you share that emotion. Your clients are likely grateful to you for the service that you provide, but when is the last time you told them that you were grateful to them for the opportunity?

Here are three ways in which you can express gratitude and this, being the holiday season, is the best time of year to jump start this practice:

  • “Thank you.” “I appreciate you.” These words are beneficial in both life and business. Thank a client for his business or a referral. Tell your friends and family that you appreciate what they do. Those two words — “thank you” — may be one of the best business building tools at your disposal.
  • Under promise. Over deliver. Going the extra mile is a step that will be long remembered. Show your willingness to serve and that will be long remembered.
  • Enthusiasm and positivity matter. It may not always be easy to “find the silver lining,” but if you can, it can diffuse a tense situation. Even in the bleakest of times, chances are you can find a positive if you put your mind to it. Your positivity will carry forward to friends, family and clients.

When was the last time you practiced gratitude?

Robbi Hess, Social Wordsmith, is a professional blogger, social media consultant and creative thinker. She works with entrepreneurs providing professional writing services including: writing web copy, newsletters, guest and ghost blogging and long letter copywriting. She is also a speaker on the subjects of time management, writing and productivity. “Helping entrepreneurs find the ‘write’ words!”