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Linda Samuels, CPO-CD®

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« Ask the Expert: Lori Deschene | 5 Success Tips for Life's Surprises »

8 Tips for Bouncing Back

How resilient are you at bouncing back after life throws you a curve ball? These surprises come in degress of magnitude from minor setbacks to the profound. They vary from losing our keys to being so distracted that we put our sneakers in the freezer to having a loved one rushed to the hospital, or pass away. Last week’s post, 5 Success Tips for Life’s Surprises, generated an interesting conversation about bouncing back, which begged to be explored further. I invited several of my wonderful colleagues and regular blog participators (Helena AlkhasJanet Barclay, Ellen Delap, Leslie Josel, Janice RussellYota Schneider, Geralin Thomas, and Sue West) to continue this idea and share with you their best success tips for getting back on track after “stuff” happens. My gratitude goes to each of them for their generous and valuable words of wisdom.

8 Tips for Bouncing Back

1. Relax

"Not all crises are created equal! More often than not, when we find ourselves in the grip of the unexpected, what can help us the most, is allowing for breathing space! Relaxing into a situation can activate our creative thinking and the law of synchronicity. 

Things have a way of falling into place - just the way they're meant to - when we're able to take a step back, breathe, and open up to guidance. From that place, we can evaluate our options, reach out to our support system, and respond from a place of clarity, resourcefulness, and conviction."

Yota Schneider, Life Transitions Coach


2. Respect Self

“I believe that resilience is a funny thing. Unfortunately, there are no absolutes to bouncing back when life hands you a curve ball.  Sometimes, we jump right back in stronger than ever while other times we need to move more slowly to resume our every day.  And I think that is the best way to approach those times. If you are aware, truly aware of what you need – time, quiet, friends, exercise or even just a refreshing ice tea to reset you – and you do it on your own terms in your own way, then the bouncing back will surely come.”

Leslie Josel, Professional Organizer


3. Make No Excuses

“If you want to ‘reboot’ yourself and recover gracefully just stop making excuses for almost anything and almost everything! Make a decision to rarely give an excuse again unless you are point-blank asked to do so or it's absolutely necessary and then, do it as truthfully as possible.”

Geralin Thomas, CPO-CD & Organizing Instructor


4. Activate Healthy Habits

“The ability to bounce back comes from our inner energy reserves. In the most difficult of times we often lose sleep, eat poorly and generally think negative thoughts. However, if we rely on good self care, including healthy habits and positivity, we not only bounce back more quickly, we can also ward off more stress.  This is why a good night’s sleep on a very regular basis is one of my own highest priorities.”

Ellen Delap, Certified Professional Organizer


5. Identify Needs

“An important component of the Minding Your Matters® Flexible Structure Method of organizing and productivity is to select success tools. There are three types of tools: Support, Supplies and Skills. At any given point in life, you may have to employ or shore up one or more of these tools. Understanding that the type and amount you use of each tool varies by circumstance is crucial to navigating the ups and downs of this life.”

Janice Russell, Productivity Strategist


6. Be Proactive

“Sometimes things go wrong due to your own actions or failure to act. Instead of giving up, think of what you can do to prevent it from happening again, then do it – immediately.”

Janet Barclay, Virtual Assistant, Web Designer, & Blogger

7. Draw from Past Successes

“Call it ‘mindfulness,’ ‘awareness,’ ‘observing’ or ‘noticing patterns.’ It’s about using what you know works, for you, not for your spouse or friend.

Find a quiet time and place to reflect. Think about other small or large surprises and changes from your past. Think about how you got back on track. Write down what’s worked for you in the past. If it was a person who helped, what was particularly helpful in what they said or how they said it? Or was it their listening that was most helpful? If you did it yourself, what got you there? What pulled you back?”

Sue West, Certified Organizing Coach & Certified Professional Organizer


8. Evoke Imagery

“To portray bounce back and resilience I use the image of bamboo. It is so tall and majestic, but can bend down to the ground in a storm and slowly, after the storm passes, bring itself up again. That's resilience, the ability to gracefully accept the ‘bending downs’ life brings us and slowly make our way up to the sky again.”

Helena Alkhas, Professional Organizer & Virtual Assistant


Life’s challenges come in varying degrees. When the unexpected happens, it’s useful to have some tools at the ready to increase our chance of successfully navigating forward. Come join the conversation. What is your best go to “bouncing back” tip? 

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Reader Comments (18)

I love all the different perspectives offered to bounce back! It offers a lot to think about!

September 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterEllen Delap

Hey Ellen- I'm so glad that you added YOUR special perspective about keeping up with healthy habits, especially in the face of life's challenges. It's at those times that our bodies and minds need the boost even more and also when we have the hardest time activating the healthy options like getting enough sleep or eating nutritious meals. Thank you for all the great sharing and that you do.

September 18, 2012 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

Great questions and ideas to ask and suggest to clients - Such varied ideas show us how personal this is. And how much is nature vs. nurture? How much is what you were born with, grew up with or taught yourself. That's the big question to me. Thx for corralling all of this, Linda. Great insight, as always.

September 18, 2012 | Unregistered Commentersue west

God, connect with God, you will remember that he is in control, not you and that he has a plan and it's a good one.

September 18, 2012 | Unregistered Commentercarole

Linda, what a rich post and there's so much to learn from each advice. I love them!

September 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterHelena Alkhas

if i may add to Sue's Awareness tip.
Develop an awareness of "Drama Gravity"
Drama (life's challenges and problems) has an energy, not unlike a black hole, that draws everything around it closer. As you course your path to your excellent and fulfilling destinations develop an awareness of the 'gravity sinks' along the way. Of course we want to be responsive and supportive but not so much that we loose our 'healthy orbit' of best practices and good balance. Stepping back and reflecting on strengths and past successes is an active skill but in doing you get a sense of what tugs at you and what propels you forward.

September 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCameron Gott

You did it again Linda! You provided a wonderful forum to allow us to explore and dissect this topic from all angles. Really interesting to read all the perspectives. Love the visual of the bamboo Helena!

September 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLeslie Josel

Powerful words of wisdom! I'll be bookmarking this for the next time I find myself needing to 'bounce back' from a situation.

September 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterStacey Agin Murray

@Sue- So happy that you shared your idea about drawing upon past successes with us. That's a valuable way to help us shift our perspective. You ask more interesting questions. Is our resilency natural or learned? Guessing it's different for everyone.

@Carole- Thank you joining the conversation and sharing your thoughts about faith.

@Helena- I appreciate that you contributed to the bouncing back conversation. I love your bamboo image. It's powerful and beautiful.

September 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLinda Samuels

@Cameron- The concept of "Drama Gravity" and "gravity sinks" is so interesting. Developing that awareness in combination with tapping into the past positives of what helps you bounce back from the curve balls, seem like great compliments to one another.

@Leslie- Thank you for joining us and sharing your idea about bouncing back through respecting your self. What a great group and conversation!

@Stacey- So great to hear from you, Stacey. It's great to know you found some valuable tips here and will look at them the next time you're in need.

September 18, 2012 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

Interesting - the two metaphors I'm reading here are so useful to focus on: Cam's 'black hole' and Helena's bamboo. I can feel the energy of that black hole; one of my clients actually uses this - the driving force that can sink you or pull you out. And Helena's bamboo - love the image and what it says about bouncing back, adaptability, resilience.

September 19, 2012 | Unregistered Commentersue west

Imagery and metaphors are powerful ways to shift our thoughts, help us get into a better frame of mind, or create an awareness. I appreciate the two suggested here by Cam and Helena. Both strong and conjuring up two very different ideas.

September 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLinda Samuels

Loving this post - once again Linda you put it so cohesively. We need a plan for bouncing back - a strategy that we employ with consciousness when the time comes (and it will come - cos life is like that!).
thank you for spelling it out - a reminder to us all to keep moving forward. xx

October 4, 2012 | Unregistered Commentersarahwaldin

So wonderful to "hear" your voice, Sarah! A "bouncing back plan!" Love that phrase you shared. Life is filled with surprises that we can't anticipate in full. But thinking a bit about how we might react or what we might need to do to maintain our sanity or sense of humor in the face of these surprises IS something we can do. I love the collective wisdom here shared by all these amazing people.

You might also enjoy the previous week's post called, "5 Success Tips for Life's Surprises." It was the conversation from there that inspired this post. Here's the link:

One last thought...we're in the midst of the "Fall Organizing Giveaway." Hope you'll stop by to join in the fun.

Everyone's invited to join!

October 4, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLinda Samuels

This is a wonderful post, Linda. The one that stands out the most for me is "Relax". If I can relax, I can think with clarity. Then I can approach things with the right mindset. All of these suggestions are very helpful. Thank you for putting them together for us.

November 12, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy @The Decorating Files

Good pick, Peggy! Yota is so wise and always shares such interesting, insightful advice for many of the conversations that happen on the blog. I also found her advice a wonderful reminder that sometimes in the midst of a crisis, we need to take that pause, relax the mind enough so that we can think more clearly. You might also enjoy a two-part interview I did with Yota about next steps in the "Ask the Expert" series.

Thank you for taking the time to share with us.

November 12, 2012 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

I love the different perspectives on Bouncing Back. I have been using @Janice's "Identify needs" to help bounce back this time.

Linda, you have succeeded again in creating such a forum of sharing of ideas.

September 2, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterHeather Burke

Heather- While I enjoy all the collaborative posts, this one in particular is a favorite. I too appreciate the various perspectives and also the resiliency and resourcefulness that is shown. How wonderful that you are using Janice's "identify needs" concepts to help you bounce back. We all go through challenging times. Knowing what we need to navigate those times is key.

So great to have you with us. Thank you for joining the conversation and sharing with us.

September 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLinda Samuels

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