Smartful Coaching

Adversity Flip™

Turn Adversity Over to Find Something Good

02 April
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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. 

21 March
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Proactive Or Reactive? Which Mode Do You Operate In?

Do you react to situations or are you able to see a situation coming up ahead and formulate a proactive approach? When you are constantly reacting to life, to situations, to crises, you are operating in a high state of tension and stress and it drains your energy. And while you can’t anticipate every eventuality you can certainly become proactive to those situations you know are inevitable — a speech at a networking event, putting together a proposal for a new client, a family outing with the inlaws (!) there are myriad situations in which being proactive is beneficial to all involved.

Being proactive means you are “anticipating and preparing for events with the ultimate objective of controlling the outcome or the circumstances.” Being proactive in life and in business helps you amp up your performance and productivity and helps you better cope with curve balls that are thrown your way.

How can you become more proactive? Here are some steps I’ve been taking and maybe they’ll help you:

  1. Remember you are responsible for what happens during your day. If you can turn off interruptions, divert distractions and eliminate tasks that drain your energy you can more proactively face the day.
  2. Be purposeful. If you choose a goal (whether it’s to complete your to-do list or to volunteer for your favorite charity) you have made a proactive choice for your day. Being purposeful in your actions will help you to achieve your objectives daily, weekly, monthly and yearly. Never underestimate the power of eating that elephant one bite at a time.
  3. Be organized. I can’t stress enough the importance of organization — from your desk top to your purse or briefcase to the way in which you approach work projects. Writing down your action steps will keep you on track and help you be more organized and productive. Follow up with yourself on your progression toward productivity and organization.

Strive to be more proactive and ponder how it could have a positive impact on your dealings with others and with particular life situations.

  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.  

14 March
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How Comfortable Are You With Yourself?

I was reading an article recently that spoke to how comfortable individuals are with themselves or more to the point, how they can become more comfortable in their own skins. There are certainly times in life when you’re more comfortable than others and that can be attributed to any number of factors ranging from being happy with your physical self, being in a good (or bad) place mentally or emotionally and even feeling good about your work or career choices.

There are also times in your life when you simply need to step back and ask, “Am I in touch with my true self? Do I even know who my true self is?” Here are some items to consider when trying to reveal the inner you:

  • Take time to reflect on the items you loved, the hobbies you pursued or the simple things that just made you laugh. When is the last time you enjoyed any of those?
  • What do you do right now that completely makes you lose track of time? Gardening? Crochet? Playing or listening to music? Taking the dog for a walk? Write those down and make sure you plan to do those items regularly. Indulge yourself.
  • What is your ideal vacation? Hiking? Relaxing in a hot tub overlooking a snow capped mountain? Skiing? Exploring antique shops in quaint towns? Is it feasible to either plan one of those trips or even to indulge in those activities with a day trip?
  • When you open the newspaper what articles do you read first? When you pick up a magazine, what type do you buy and what do you read first? These activities can give you insight into long buried interests or may pique new ones.

Spend some time with your answers then put together an action plan to make them happen. They don’t have to happen all at once, but you do need to take time out of your week to simply be in tune with yourself; it will help you recharge your mental energies and make the rest of the week more bearable.

  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!” 

11 December
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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.

13 September
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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.

Bob

 

 

 

08 July
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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.

Bob

07 April
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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.

Always.

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.

Bob

 

26 July
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Adversity Training-Are You Enrolled?

“…rocky terrain is unavoidable and may even be the path to something wonderful.”

~ Patricia Ryan Madson in Improv Wisdom

Adversity is a part of everyone’s life. Yet many fool themselves that there is a way around it. You may have even decided your goal is to avoid adversity any way possible. Trying to avoid adversity is most likely holding you back.

“Fearing the pain involved, almost all of us, to a greater or lesser degree,

attempt to avoid problems… Yet it is in this whole process of

meeting and solving problems that life has its meaning.”  ~ M. Scott Peck

Adversity leads to learning and growth. I’m not suggesting you create adversity in your life. Rather, be more aware that when adversity appears.  How you handle adversity can help you create a much better future for yourself.

“One of the great gifts of the human spirit is the ability to transform

suffering so that adversity becomes a force that awakens us.”

~ Tara Bennett-Goleman in Emotional Alchemy

 “The most successful people in all realms use adversity to their advantage:

to broaden their experience, hone their intelligence, and  challenge their imagination.”

~ Mina Parker in Silver Linings

 In fact, you can take it one step further and use small adversities as a training ground for dealing with larger ones.

 “Every day you encounter opportunities to embrace a small challenge. 

And each time you do just that, the more you train your brain for the bigger

challenges that are bound to come your way.”

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

So next time adversity shows up in your life, don’t feel sorry for yourself or look for a quick way to avoid it. Instead, look at it as a challenge for you to work through. Working through the adversity can help you shape a much better life for yourself and those around you.

What are your thoughts? Please let me know in the comment section below.

Bob

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

19 March
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I Lost My Job and Found Myself

Several of my friends were laid off.  I started seeing signs that I might be next.

And I was next – my job was “going away”.    That was 15 years ago.  At the time, I was very angry.  This is what I get after working hard for them for 17 years!!  Over then next several months my emotions were all over the place.  Just when I thought my confidence was back and things were smooth – BOOM, one small event would sweep it all away.

There were only two patterns to my emotions: 1) most were negative and 2) as time went on the percentage of positive ones slowly increased.

As you can imagine, I relied a lot on friends and family for emotional support.  I am thankful to this day for all the support they gave in helping me through a very difficult time.  Of all the advice I received, what my brother told me helped the most.  He said, “What outcome do you want?”  When he first asked me, I was puzzled…and asked him what he meant.

He said, well, you can apply for other jobs within the company – are there any you want?

No, all the ones I’m interested in are already filled.

Ok, he said, do you really enjoy the job that you’re losing?

Well, no, I’ve really kind of stalled out there.

Ok, so what outcome do you want?

Ahh…ok, I really want a job somewhere else where I can learn new things and be stretched.

Ok, well, then put all your energy into that.

It was such a simple question and such a direct approach.  Just what I needed to cut through all the negative emotions and get me to be more action-oriented.

It’s ironic because at the time, losing my job seemed like the worst thing possible.  In hindsight, it was one of the best things that ever happened to me.  As a result of losing that job I’ve:

  • Grown professionally & grown even more personally
  • Learned many new things
  • Challenged myself to continue learning and growing
  • Met new people, made new friends
  • Have become even more “myself” than I was before

So, how about you?    Have you had a experience that seemed like your world was crashing down, only to look back on it later as a positive one?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

15 December
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Loved, Lost, & Learned(5 Facets of Love)

Two divorces.  Numerous failed relationships.  Even though I’m fortunate in other ways, anyone who knows me wouldn’t call me Lucky in Love.  I regret the hurt I caused others, but don’t regret sincerely pursuing love.  So why haven’t I given up love?

A big reason is that through all my mis-steps, I’ve learned a lot…about myself & love.  For example, Iyanla Vanzant in her book: In the Meantime, shared:

“What we struggle with…particularly our  love relationships, reflects-very clearly…our own inner  conflict.”

Ouch, that stung.  But I definitely needed to hear it to get me started on the internal work I sorely needed to pursue.  The common thread in all my failed relationships…me.

M. Scott Peck, in his wonderful book: The Road Less Traveled defined love as: extending one’s self to nurture spiritual growth in oneself or another. Great insight!

Graphic by Michael Harper www.oilkills.us

Now, to the heart of my post…between insights of my own and those that others have shared with me, I’ve come away with…

5 Essential Facets for any Love Relationship

1) Like

You have to truly like the other person.  A relationship can have all kind of wonderful things going for it, but if deep down you don’t truly like the other person…as in you wouldn’t want them for a friend…then that won’t be a strong relationship.  The people you like, notice how easily communication flows between you…

2) Trust

Without an environment of trust, then it’s basically impossible to feel safe in the relationship.   Strong jealously or distrust will impair communication and create a tense  environment.  Open up fully and show your true self, sharing your thoughts and feelings in tense environment?   Not likely.

3) Caring

A caring, loving relationship is one with: tenderness, affection, and understanding. The way I’ve defined this it includes both verbal and non-verbal communication.

4) Loyalty

If you’re not loyal to other person, you have truly discarded all 5 facets at once.

5) Respect

This one often gets overlooked as being important in a love relationship.  I’ve seen many relationships where one partner is openly disrespectful to the other in public.  It just makes me cringe.  The other partner tends to be equally disrespectful, tries to smooth things over,  or just acts   sheepish.  None of these are good.  Being disrespectful to one’s partner is likely going to result in deep-seated resentment and shut down all positive communication.

Summary

I’m proposing that if any of these 5 facets are missing, then real love cannot be sustained.   The underlying foundation is liking the other person.  The four pillars:  Trust, Caring, Loyalty, and Respect are built upon that.  Together these factors create an environment where love can  survive and also thrive.

I’m a huge believer that great communication is essential in any and all relationships (lover, family, and friends).  I didn’t list communication as a separate facet, because I believe it is really woven throughout all 5 facets.

I’m sure it can be argued that many other qualities contribute to love.  I don’t dispute that.  I’m merely saying that I see these 5 facets as the bare minimum.  I’d love to hear from you.  So, please share any thoughts you have or love lessons you’ve learned in the comment section below.