Dealing With Adversity

Life is swimming; everything is going great.  Family life, business, finances, and health are all good. Then, all hell breaks loose.  Your kids get involved in some trouble, your brother in law moves in with you, your business partner ran into financial trouble and quits working, you find out you have cancer, and your husband is running around with his brother and leaving this all on you to deal with.  I don’t know about you, but this makes me want to go back to bed and stay there.

Bad things happen, we can’t control that, we do control how we deal with them.

So, how do we deal with them?


Cathy Sykora

Cathy Sykora

Founder, The Health Coach Group

Cathy helps health coaches build and maintain successful businesses that improve the lives of others.

# 1

Adversity is a temporary condition.

In one year, how important will this be and will you even remember it?


Adversity is an opportunity for growth and learning.

We often learn the most unexpected lessons from adversity as well as personal growth and strength.  (I know, it’s easier to appreciate this after the fact).


Share your adversity and your lessons with your “tribe”.

Whether your tribe is your sister, mother, friends or your mastermind group or mentor, share it.  You might get good feedback, learn from their experience and help them to learn and apply your lessons to their lives.


Ask Questions

When bad things happen, it’s easy to become afraid.  Giving yourself choices can take you our of this mindset and make you more powerful in adversity.

  • How did this happen?
  • How do I turn this painful experience into something good?
  • What will I learn from this?
  • What have other people or businesses done to deal with this successfully?
  • How could this end up?
  • What are some outcomes?
  • What would I like the outcome to be?
  • What do I need to do to make this result happen?



Leave the harmful feelings behind.

We’ve already dealt with the fear.  Whatever you have to do to lose the sense of anger, resentment, and loneliness – do it now.  Forgive (for yourself), empathize, take responsibility.  This is another case where you want to share with a tribe, friend, counselor, mentor.  Take advantage of all the tools at your disposal to change your focus.


Mindset Secret Weapon – Gratitude

No matter how many bad things are happening, if we take a long hard look, there is far more to be grateful.  Make a gratitude list to change your mindset and refocus.



When you’ve gotten things straightened around, go help others who are experiencing adversity.  Contribution feels good.


No one corners the market on adversity but sometimes, it feels like it’s raining down on us. Learning how to approach it as an opportunity and getting beyond the fear that holds us within the storm would serve us well.

What is your best outcome from your worst adversity?  How did you get there?

Share in the comments below.




  1. Geniece Brown

    Hi Cathy,

    Sometimes adversity totally stinks and smells for a while depending on the situation. I’ve found that some instances take more time than others. But I agree with you on the fact that each of these unlikely situations has a lesson to be learned and can later be appreciated (after the fact). One of my most trying adversities that lasted for quite some time was having my first child at 16. My son is now a junior in high school, and I would never want to give him back. He does well academically in school and is involved in extracurricular activities outside of school as well as volunteers at our church. I couldn’t be more proud and looking forward to sending him off to college this time next year!!

  2. Cathy

    Thank you Geniece! Children are a perfect example. Childbirth is hard – but you hold that baby, and it’s all past. Then, when we have gone through the tough stuff raising them, seeing them happy and working hard and doing things to make the world a better place….well I just get goosebumps thinking of it. You’ve done well to be sending him off to college with a smile on your face and knowing you’ve done so well with him that he’ll be okay on his own. Great share.

  3. Dina Lynch Eisenberg

    I overcome my obstacles by staying in action. The last two years I’m recovering from being in a abusive marriage that drained my confidence and created many fears.

    My emotional intelligence helped me to recognize that I can come back from this because I’ve overcome much more in the past. So, I conquered a long time fear as a way to easing the transition–I learned to swim.

    I recovered my mojo and Im sharing my swim journey with my tribe so the lessons about going slow and not rushing through emotions benefit more than me. I’m thrilled to be the guide. Thanks for the opportunity to share something I typically keep private.

    • Cathy

      Yes, when I was writing this, I thought I maybe should have qualified the part about how important would it be in a year. You’ve been through a lot. I’m sure we could all learn a lot from you Dina.

  4. Tammy

    Number # is my favorite. Having an attitude of gratitude changes everything! Thanks for an awesome post!

    • Cathy

      Yes, it doesn’t come up with the solutions but it does get you back in a state where you can think positively. Thanks!

  5. Kristen Wilson

    OH girl this is super.. because we ALL face this sort of thing… sh*t just happens and to good people and much of it, I find, isn’t within my control, and wasn’t meant to be… but I harbor on it too much and have been working through that to be better. Thanks for these tips!

  6. Nicole Nagle

    Thank you, Cathy, for this blog post… interesting how it came just at the right moment for me! 😉 One thing that always makes me feel a little better is to know that I’m not alone–everyone has adversity–proof positive that someone writes a blog post on how to deal with adversity. Another thing to remember is “this too shall pass.” The therapy that I practice is ACT (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy). It is important to recognize that what is happening in the moment is happening; there is no avoiding it. Therefore, we must accept what is happening, choose a healthy response, and then take action in a way that brings us closer to our value goals; that is, the goals that will sustain, inspire, and bring us joy.

    • Cathy

      Well said Nicole. It’s a lot easier when you’ve passed through it and can look back and learn. Thanks! ~Cathy


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