Smartful Coaching

Adversity Flip™

Turn Adversity Over to Find Something Good

02 April

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. 

29 January

En-‘Vision’-ing Success in 30 Days

Is it possible to achieve a dream in 30 days? Do you have a vision of where you want to be — both personally and professionally? Does it seem a daunting task to reach that milestone? How about committing to 30 days to a more productive you? Having accomplished more and crossed more off your to do list at the end of the day, week, and month is such a heady feeling of accomplishment and it propels you toward even greater heights of productivity and vision attainment.

There are five steps that I have found beneficial in reaching my goals and which have helped me envision success:

  1. Commit to 30 days. You don’t have to wait until the first of the month to start this. Start today and commit for the next 30 days going forward. Having an end in sight may make you more likely to stick to it a goal/project. If you find the steps you’ve implemented aren’t working, feel free to toss them or look for new ones at the end of your 30 days.
  2. Make certain your goals are realistic. Yes, we’ve heard about those rare individuals that can pen a bestselling novel in 30 days or reach a six figure sales goal in a month… those individuals are few and far between. Don’t set yourself up for failure by setting unrealistic goals. Remember, you’re looking to change your work habits and you can’t change yourself overnight. Don’t let a missed goal make you feel like an under-achiever; instead determine whether the goal was truly reachable.
  3. Baby steps are critical to making it to the top and achieving success with your goal. Remember, it’s easier to eat an elephant one bite at a time than to tackle it all in one meal.
  4. Find an accountability partner. Having a goal-buddy keeps you both accountable and helps you stay on task. It’s great to have someone to bounce ideas off of when you’re feeling stymied and run down.
  5. You need to believe in yourself, your capabilities and your skills. Be confident in who you are and what you do and that will go a long way in helping you reach your 30 day goal.

What will you set as your 30 day mile marker?

 Robbi Hess, Social Wordsmith, is a professional blogger, social media consultant and creative thinker. She works with entrepreneurs providing professional writing services including: 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!” 

14 January

Two-Week Resolution Check In/Check-Up

Two weeks have passed into the new year and this is typically the time when resolutions and great ideas seem to slide. Have you stuck to your resolutions? Whether work or personal, resolutions give you something toward which to work, goals to attain, successes to grasp. People so often resolve to do XYZ only to see them unfulfilled.  A goal unrealized has the power to take you down a path of despair and the inability to complete other tasks on your list. Conversely, a resolution met propels you forward toward greater project completion.

Here are five ways we make resolutions we will have a better chance of keeping:

  1. What is the end goal? Write that down. Break that into smaller steps then check those off as you complete them. Set a timeline, if necessary, to keep you on task.
  2. Note a target date and chart your progress toward reaching it. Build flexibility into your plans to account for setbacks. Don’t look at a setback as a failure – it is a chance to revamp the target itself.
  3. Document daily progress. In addition to writing a to-do list, there is power in crossing items off that list. The daily progress documentation keeps you on target and is a great motivator.
  4. Accountability matters. Find a trusted colleague to pair up with and work to keep each other on track. Report in several times a week. Share successes and come up with solutions to targets unmet.
  5. A minor setback is just that — a set back. It doesn’t mean that you need to scrap the project, it just means you need to rework your timelines and deadlines and the steps you need to reach the goal.

How well are you doing with your resolutions?

 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!” 

07 January

Take Control Of Your Time: Your Life Will Thank You!

Do you ever walk away from your office at the end of the day and wonder: “What did I accomplish? Or “Where did the day go?” If so, chances are you’re not making the most of the time you spend on your to-do list. If you’re wasting time, chances are you’re also losing money and perhaps even clients.

Just as dieters are told to keep a food journal so they can make note of everything they eat, time-wasters need to keep a journal and track how long they spend on specific tasks. I’ve found, when I’m working with clients, that they have no idea how much time they spend whiling away the hours on Facebook or simply surfing the internet or poking around Pinterest.

If you’re an entrepreneur, you simply don’t have the time to waste. If you do spend a lot of time on mindless tasks, you’ll find yourself working longer hours than necessary just to keep up with your client tasks.

Here are some possible time wasters you may be involved in. Make a note of these as a way to get a grip on your time:

  • Giving your clients free rein over your schedule. Block out time for client phone calls and interaction—you need to know when you’re most productive and take advantage of those windows of opportunity.
  • Do you spend hours writing blog posts? If you do, you may want to offload that task to an professional blogger and free your time for your core competencies.
  • How many hours do you spend on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn and Google+? Are you doing for personal or business reasons?
  • If you work from home, how much time is spent during your workday on home and family tasks?
  • When working with a client or your accountability partner do you tend to ramble on and the call – which was scheduled for 60 minutes – stretches into two hours?

If you find yourself bogged down in the tasks listed above (or any others that you know suck away your time) you need to regain control of your clock and your calendar and become a clock watcher. When you were in the corporate world, clock watching was not something your employer wanted to catch you doing, but as a business owner you need to do this. Here are my clock-watching tips:

  • Either use an online scheduler or a notebook to mark down when you begin a task. Estimate how long it will take you then when you’re done, compare the two. Track tasks that are both client related and personal.
  • Do you have tasks that must be completed daily? Can you streamline these? Consider using a scheduler for social media status updates such as HootSuite. You can block off a specific amount of time, blast out your social media updates then not have to worry about them for a few days.
  • If you find there are tasks that are not within your core competencies and are taking an inordinate amount of time, you may find you’ll save money in the long run if you sub out those tasks – social media updates, bookkeeping, blogging, etc.
  • Make certain you are vigilant about your time. Let friends and family know that your office hours are from 9 to 5 and that you won’t be answering personal phone calls or running personal errands between that time. Return phone calls on your lunch hour but not during your client time.
  • Setting a timer can keep you focused on a task. If you have a large project that needs attention, set a timer for 30 minutes as a way to work on it, uninterrupted for a chunk of time, and break it down into smaller bite-sized portions.

What steps can you take to regain control of your workday?

 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!” 

18 December

Work/Life Balance Leads To Satisfaction

As an entrepreneur there wasn’t a minute of the day when I didn’t think about my business. Whether I was pursuing new opportunities, attending networking events, or completing tasks for my clients, keeping my business healthy and thriving was always front of mind. I worked long hours, rarely taking a weekend off. Following a health crisis, though I had to step back and re-evaluate both my life and my business model. Could I be a successful entrepreneur and still be a healthy, happy person? It was through adversity that I learned that I can have, and do, it all. I learned how to maintain a work/life balance.

Here are three things I learned as I dealt with my diagnosis and struggled to keep my business afloat. (I learned that with a few tweaks, I could have it all!):

  1. Working hard to grow my business meant I was neglecting my health and my relationships. Business owners sometimes find that they need to steal from their life in order to put those efforts and hours into their business. Entrepreneurs fall into the “all work and no play” way of life; I was guilty of it for several years. Even though you are the individual toiling in your business, your family is dealing with it as well – they’re living your stresses and successes as well as dealing with the fact that you’re not present in their lives. I’ve learned that if I plan my day wisely I can get it all done within a normal eight hour workday and then I can turn the computer off and walk away and spend time with friends and family. As long as the work is done, your clients won’t begrudge you family time!
  2. I wanted to “have it all!” Being an entrepreneur is a blessing as you’re the master of your own career path but pursuing having it all you are likely burning yourself out. I don’t know if my work schedule lead to my diagnosis, but the stress of my schedule certainly didn’t help. To “have it all” you need to know what “it all” is. Make a list of your goals, short and long term, and business and professional. What can you to do achieve those goals without being overwhelmed? What goal on your list brings you satisfaction? What can you simply say “no” to and cross of your list? Learning to say “no” is not an easy task but once you’ve perfected saying it, you’ll be one step closer toward a work/life balance.
  3. You need to believe that a work/life balance is possible. Overcoming adversity and making the most of every day should be your mantra. With proper time management and armed with the knowledge that if you truly want to, you can achieve balance, it is possible. Managing your time and making a to-do list helps keep you organized and productive. Just as you plan your work day so, too should you plan your family time. Schedules and priorities allow the entrepreneur to embrace both life and work and “have it all.”

What steps have you taken to achieve a work/life balance?

26 November

Is It Adversity Or Burn Out?

Guest post by Robbi Hess

There are times when the week is winding down and I’m not certain whether I can face another work day and I ask myself, “Am I facing some challenge?” “Is there something holding me back, or holding me down?” “Is there some task that simply seems insurmountable?” Once I step away from the computer and task, I inevitably come up with the answer, “I’m merely burnt out.” Are you burning the candle at both ends? At some point the flames will meet and you have to take action before that happens.

Do you live by the “all work and no play” mantra? If so, you need to step back and take a deep breath (or two!) If you have a project that you simply feel you cannot face, step away from it — whether you step away for an hour or a day, coming back to it after having taken a break will allow you to view it with a new perspective.

Here are some steps you may be able to take to prevent burnout:  

  1. Take time off. This means from everything that involves work and if you have to leave your cell phone behind or turn it off, then do so. To prevent burnout, you need to step completely way. If necessary, schedule your breathing space — put it in your calendar and then honor that time.
  2. Get moving. So many of us are tied to our computers for the day — both at work and at home. Block out a time, several times a day, to just get up and move. Walk around the office. Get outside if the weather is amenable. Do some jumping jacks — get the blood moving. Your brain and your body will thank you.
  3. Start playing. Don’t let your life be all work and no play. Schedule time to play whether it’s with the dog, lunching with friends, or joining a sports team. Exercising your brain and your body can only be beneficial, right?

Are there specific steps you take to prevent burnout?

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!” 

19 September

Suffering Can Help?

“…a sense of meaning can transform suffering.”  

~ Tara Bennett-Goleman

Suffering.  None of us like it.

But have you ever thought to look past the unpleasantness?

If you find the deeper meaning within the suffering, you can experience a transformation. Instead of just utter pain & frustration, you can find an opportunity for learning & growth within the pain.

Instead of having a “why me” mindset, you can find that nugget of gold within the dung heap.

Remember…all suffering, all adversity has something within it that can help you.  Program your mind to look for it & you will find it. And that alone can help transform your suffering into something meaningful.




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?


08 January

Time to Recycle Your Attitude?

“Start a recycling program in your mind. Depression into recuperation. Anger into reflection. Difficulty into exciting challenges.” 

~ Silver Linings by Mina Parker

I love this quote. It’s such a great way to think about turning the tough things in your life into positives.

You can use the energy from those negative emotions as fuel for positive change.

I think it’s the kind of shift we all could use from time to time. So, why not make 2012 the year you start that recycling program in your mind?



26 July

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.