Smartful Coaching

Adversity Flip™

Turn Adversity Over to Find Something Good

04 March

Make a Wish

“We get stronger when we test ourselves. Adversity can make us better. We must be challenged to improve, and adversity is the challenger.”

~ John Wooden

Are you wishing for a life free of adversity or a better life?

Try to eliminate adversity from your life & you’ll spend a lifetime trying – and won’t succeed.  Adversity will always be with us.

Actually, adversity is one of your biggest helpers…if you let it be.  Don’t try to go around adversity.  Go through it & it can help you.

The path to a better life is through adversity. 

By shifting your perspective, you can transform adversity into one of your biggest allies. Adversity can light the way improvement, learning & growth.

As Debbie Ford points out in The Dark Side of the Light Chasers:

“All negative events are blessings in disguise.”

I’ve found this to be very true in my life. The key is to look for the good within the adversity. Most times our reaction to adversity is to instantly label it as “bad” & then do everything in our power to avoid it or deny that it is even happening.

Instead, accept adversity & look at it closely. By doing so you’ll discover it can help you in significant & profound ways.

Have you found ways to remember to look for the good within adversity?


12 February

Do You Know You Yet?

Have you figured out who you are yet?

Getting  to know yourself well can be a very tough thing to do.

Interestingly enough, adversity is a good way to get to know yourself better.

“Life’s challenges are not supposed to paralyze you, they’re supposed to help you discover who you are.”

~ Bernice Johnson Reagon

For example, a few things adversity helped me discover is that I’m:

  • Very resourceful
  • Good at finding humor during tough times
  • Very determined
  • Not asking others for help as much as I could (I’m getting better at this, though)

How about you – what have you learned about yourself as a result of adversity?












16 January

I’m Stuck…And I’m Glad

I never thought I’d be glad about being stuck.

Yesterday I was stumped on what to write about. It’s happened before, but this time was different. Different because I realized something important:

By being stuck, I was forced to learn

Getting stuck…the first benefit I received: I started experimenting with different ways to get unstuck. To spark ideas, I tried looking for inspiration from:

  • Previous posts I’d written
  • Quotes I’ve saved
  • Books I’ve read
  • Song lyrics

Sometimes I’d just listen to music to see if that would trigger a thought. I’ve gone for walks, talked to friends, etc.

My point isn’t about the specific things I’ve tried. My point is that being stuck I tried a lot of different things & in the process got better at experimenting to find a solution.

The other approach I’ve tried is to just start writing. At first when I tried this my “inner critic” was protesting a lot – that’s “dumb” or that won’t work or that doesn’t relate to adversity, etc.

But when I chose to ignore that inner critic & just write on any topic…amazing things happened.

Many things that would have been tossed aside by my inner critic, sprouted into a future blog post…or a tweet…or something I told a friend that they appreciated…or even led to changes in my business. Many of  these things happened months after I first wrote them.

My inner critic wanted to get rid of every “seed” that didn’t resemble exactly what I was trying to plant that day.  But every one of those seeds grew into something useful at some point in time.

I didn’t always use every single line I’d written, but in each passage there was always something worthwhile.

So next time you’re feeling “stuck”, you have a choice.  Feel sorry for yourself or use it as an opportunity to:

  • Experiment
  • Learn
  • Create

The choice is yours.  What’s it going to be?












23 August

Adversity and Responsibility

“How quickly and responsibly we react

to adversity is far more important

than the adversity itself.”

~ Jim Rohn, The Five Major Piece to the Life Puzzle

This quote really got me thinking.

Our quick response to adversity is more important than the adversity itself.  I can buy into that.  But responsibility with adversity?  Really?

Aren’t we just supposed to survive the adversity and hope for some sympathy along the way?

Apparently not.

I think the responsibility contained within adversity is two-fold.  First, to learn from it and become a better, stronger person.  Second, through our learning we are able to help others learn from it.

Let me also add that the best time to think about adversity: how to cope with it, what to learn from it, and how to be responsible with it is when we aren’t going through it.

But how many of us actually take time to think about adversity when we aren’t in the thick of it?

What do you think?  I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comment section below.




23 May

One Failure Made All the Difference

Note: this post originally appeared at: Fear Of Writing on March 11.  Big thanks to Milli & J for letting me guest post – great people with a great website.

It was 6 months ago today I  launched adversityflip. This post seems fitting…

I graduated some years back from the University of Northern Iowa (UNI). While I was there, UNI implemented a writing competency exam.  All students had to pass the test in order to graduate.  I thought – no problem, as I’ve always done well in school and been good at taking tests.

As I left the exam room, I knew I didn’t ace the test, but I still felt confident that I’d done ok.  I got the results and it wasn’t even close – I bombed it, big time.  The good news was I could take it again.  The bad news was it was nearly the end of my junior year. I was running out of time.

Since I didn’t want to risk failing again, I knew it was time for action.  I started looking for any and all resources I could find on writing.  I was so hungry (or desperate) for knowledge on writing that I consumed everything I could find – magazines, books, and articles on the web.

My efforts paid off.  I passed the test on the next try.  Even so, I still wasn’t satisfied. I continued to read, learn, improve. In the process, I developed a real love of writing.

In hindsight, I’m amazed at how this one decision – choosing to improve my writing – has affected my life in so many significant, positive ways.

My improved writing skills helped me succeed in being an effective manager of people.  In addition, I developed and taught an adult education class on writing.  Teaching this class allowed me to meet many wonderful people and also improve my public speaking skills.

A few months ago I started my own blog. With the blog, I quickly discovered my love for writing hasn’t faded one bit.  In addition, the blog has helped me continue to grow as a writer, and find time to write.

Over the years, I’ve come to realize that I love writing for three main reasons:

  1. Creativity.  I love the creative outlet writing gives me.
  2. Expression.  I stop, reflect, and revise my thoughts until I’ve written them in a way that truly captures what I want to express. Even though I love a good conversation, writing allows me to express myself in a way that can’t quite be recreated verbally.
  3. Connection.  I feel more connected with myself and with others.  Writing offers a wonderful experience to utilize both sides of my brain. My blog has been a great way to connect with others.

I used to be a horrible writer.  Over time, I not only improved my writing, but grew to love the process.  To take an activity that I used to avoid at all costs and have it become something that is such a wonderful and vital part of my life…what an amazing feeling that is!

I’m curious. Have you experienced something similar? How has committing yourself to writing changed your life?

06 December

What If…

…when you tried something new and it didn’t work out – that was just to get you to continue to try new things?

… the person who yelled at you for no apparent reason was just giving you an opportunity to show them the only kindness they would see that entire day…or week?

…hurting your back was to help you learn several lessons & maybe even start writing a blog (painful lessons).

My point:  Instead of labeling events as “good” or “bad”, simply think of them as experiences, or better still, gifts.

The more of life I’ve encountered, the more I realize all experiences seem to have some level of both good and bad in them.  For example, let’s say you get your dream job.  Clearly there is good in that. But at the same time aren’t there some people from your previous job that you’ll miss because you’ll see them less often?  Aren’t there some parts of the previous job you’ll miss also?

So instead of focusing on the label…good or bad, focus on the experience instead.   Also focus on finding the lesson within that experience.

When I’ve been able to drop these labels I’ve found it increased both peace & joy in my life.  I imagine you’ll find the same to be true.  Let me know what you think.