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.

14 March

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!” 

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.







07 April

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.


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.



04 October

Sharing Bad News

Today I told him.

Bad news.

I had to withdraw a student from class.

I’ve always despised having to tell someone bad news. No one likes giving or getting bad news.

Once I got beyond past feeling badly for the student, I started reflecting about other times when I’ve shared bad news.

I realized that in my former career I shared bad news quite often.

As a result I learned some valuable lessons about sharing bad news. Next time you have to share bad news, keep the following 4 principles in mind:

Don’t sugar-coat it:

Trying to make it sound better than it is, doesn’t benefit anyone. At best, the person is confused. At the worst, they’re angry and feel  insulted  that you’re trying to make something bad sound like it’s good.

Get right to it:

If you take time for small talk, the other person will see you’re distracted and anxious. This will make them more tense and anxious. You’ll notice their agitated state and you will become more tense and anxious too. The longer you take to get to the point, the more likely you are to deliver the message poorly.

Be concise:

Over-explaining it just lead to confusion and possibly more anger. If you aren’t concise, you can have the same problem as above – increased chances that you’ll deliver the message poorly.

Be direct, but consider feelings:

It may not be obvious when you first deliver the news, but in the long-run the person will respect that you cared enough to tell them directly. Being direct while being respectful about the other person’s feelings is the most humane way to go.

What do you think?  Let’s hear your thoughts in the comment section below.










19 March

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?