Smartful Coaching

Adversity Flip™

Turn Adversity Over to Find Something Good

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?


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.




29 January

Take a Leap…

“Don’t be afraid to take a big step. You can’t cross a chasm in two small jumps.”

~ David Lloyd George

When I was ready to move to warmer climate, I was really ready. Stick-me-with-a-fork-I’m-done kind of ready.

Winter had just begun in Iowa (October of 2010) & yet, I was already sick of the cold. I decided at that moment it would be my last winter in a cold climate.

Now that I’ve been in Phoenix for 7 months & feel a bit more settled, I’ve had  time to reflect on all the changes that have transpired in my life.

One thing I noticed is how long it took me to actually make the move. A move I’d talked about on & off for about a decade. There’s no doubt, that leaving friends & family played a part in slowing me down.

But I also came to realize there was something else holding me back. Fear.

Previously I was looking only at safe ways to make the move – i.e. have a job lined up prior to moving. Like the quote above says, I was trying to cross a chasm in 2 jumps.

I chose to accept uncertainty & have faith that all would work out as it should.    Once I decided on that approach, everything related to the move accelerated.

I was looking for part-time income to keep me afloat as I built up my business.  Within a few weeks of arriving, I was offered a part-time teaching position.

What at first looked to me like years of failing to make the move, was something else entirely. It was an opportunity for me learn.  I learned 2 things.

First, how to be shoulder-to-shoulder with the fear & not run the other way. Second, to take that leap of faith & trust that all would work out as it should. And it has.





02 March

Resistance Can Visit Any Time

I feel so blessed to be here in Phoenix (Chandler) visiting my sister and getting a break from winter.   Little did I expect resistance to visit me today.

Some time back my sister had told me about a cool co-working space located in the historic district of Chandler.  It’s called Gangplank.   Several months ago I started following them on twitter (@gangplank) and have seen all the good things they have been doing. My level of excitement has continue to build knowing that I would actually be visiting this innovative place and meeting some of the people there.

When we were out driving today, my sister asked me what the address was for GangPlank.  I looked it up on my phone and she said we weren’t that far from it.  Suddenly I was overcome by very intense feelings.  It almost felt like a sense of panic.   I also found myself thinking – maybe I don’t feel up to going – I have a small headache, maybe a different day would be better.   Thankfully, I recognized these thoughts and feelings as resistance.  When my sister asked me ask me if I wanted to stop in, I realized my thoughts and feelings weren’t rational, so I said “yes”.

I’m really glad I recognized the resistance and chose to act in spite of it.  Tim A. gave us a warm welcome, a great tour, and told us about the special events (brown bags, musical events, and GangPlank Jr being formed for kids).  It was really was a nice time.  I would have missed out on it had I given in to my resistance.

Resistance generally shows up when it’s something that is important and beneficial to you.  I’ll write more on resistance in upcoming posts.

Do you have any stories related to resistance you’d care to share?  If so, please do so in the comment section below.


14 February

Who is Driving?

Cordes-sur-ciel, France

Sometimes I feel the fear of uncertainty stinging clear
And I can’t help but ask myself how much I’ll let the fear
take the wheel and steer.

It’s driven me before and it seems to be the way that everyone else gets around

But lately I’m beginning to find that when I drive myself my light is found.

~  Excerpts from the song “Drive” by Incubus

I love this song, because it so clearly states the tough decision that all of us face.   To give into the fear and let it decide on your destination, or to buck that trend and choose your own destination.  And when you drive instead of letting fear take the wheel…your light is found.   Sweet stuff!

For most of my life I let fear grab the wheel almost exclusively.  In recent years I’ve gotten better at recognizing the fear and nudging it (or hip-checking it) into the passenger seat while I take a turn at driving.  Some people make the mistake of thinking you kick fear out of the car.  It isn’t true.  Fear sits there right next to you the whole time, staring at you.  The only way to conquer it is to acknowledge that it’s there without giving into it.  Let it sit right there next to you & look at you all it wants.  Just  ignore it and go about what you set out to do.  It may get the wheel the next time.  But the time after that, I’m gonna do my best to be back in that driver’s seat.  I continue to learn about fear & how best to deal with it, but it is an ongoing struggle.

So where are you at?  Does fear always grab the wheel or do you get to drive some times?  I’d love to hear your perspectives on this.

Also, fear, resistance…whatever you prefer to call it…it’s a big topic and I’ve got lots of thoughts on it.  I knew it was too much to cover in just one post.  So, there will be more posts on this topic in coming weeks.

Oh, by the way, my previous post showing me at 18 months old standing on a riding lawn mower…and now this post talking about driving – strictly coincidence…