Smartful Coaching

Adversity Flip™

Turn Adversity Over to Find Something Good

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.







15 April

Ever Felt Betrayed?

Have you ever felt betrayed?

Most of us have.

It’s not a good feeling.

But consider what Barbara DeAngelis says in her book, Real Moments:

“No one betrays us as much in our lives as we betray ourselves.”

I think she is spot on.

Think about the times you’ve promised yourself any number of things & not followed through. It could be giving up a bad habit, losing weight, stop procrastinating, treating others better, or any number of other things.

What’s the lesson, here?

When someone betrays you, be more understanding & forgiving.

Barbara says it well:

“Love and kindness are never wasted.  They always make a difference. They bless the one who receives them, and they bless you, the giver.”

No matter how “put together” anyone appears, everyone you meet is carrying some sort of emotional burden.  Everyone has lost a loved one & watched a dream go up in smoke.  They may have had to deal with some sort of abuse or neglect as well.

Choose kindness.  Choose it as often as you can.







26 December

Once the Crisis is Over…

“Crisis forces you to pay attention, to your life, to your relationships, and to yourself.  It acts like a high-powered searchlight that focuses its beam so intensely on something, illuminating it in every detail, that you can’t see anything else.”

~ Real Moments by Barbara DeAngelis

In my life I’ve found the above quote to be true…learning valuable lessons about life, self & others.

And, there’s no doubt that crisis forces you to focus. It’s only natural that you want the crisis to be over as quickly as possible.

But here’s where you might miss out. Once the crisis is over, you may just continue on with life as usual. If you do, you’ve missed a big opportunity to examine the crisis in order to learn.

So next time something difficult in your life has ended, remember to take some time to use the searchlight provided.



30 August

Unlikely Teacher

“Don’t forget teachers come in all forms, and some of the best ones may not look like teachers at all.”

~ Barbara DeAngelis, Real Moments

Those of you who know me well know that I look closely at song lyrics. I’m often amazed at the depth of feeling & wisdom these artists express in their word choices.

Singer, Alice Peacock does this in a big way with her song “Taught Me Well”:

“You were my teacher and I thank you
For the hell you put me through I’m very grateful
Cuz ‘ I finally really learned what was important
In my life”

The song is about an ex who, through his selfish & childish ways, helped her learn what was important in life.

I just love this concept: the people that put us through trials & adversity are our teachers.  We just have to do is choose to look at them & their actions in that way.

We choose – view ourselves as a victim or as a student.

Alice goes on to sing:

“And I used to hold the anger in my stomach like a fist
But in time it was quite clear
That only I was suffering here
And having gratitude for you was the way out of this”

Wow, how amazing is that – realizing that gratitude for someone who mis-treated you is the only way forward!

And the song closes with these great messages:

“You taught me well…that life is for living
It’s not about taking, it’s all about giving
You taught me well that sometimes what we
Want is staring us right in the face
And the power of forgiveness, the power of
Grace…of Grace”

Be a giver. Be aware of what is around you.  Don’t forget the power of forgiveness. Very powerful messages indeed.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic.  The comment section below awaits you…