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What do you think of when you hear the word upside? Simply speaking, it is something positive that follows a downside. It is the promise or potential of a given situation. It’s finding some clarity in the midst of chaos. Once the dust settles in your life, there is a little light or glimmer of hope that appears. But you have to be willing to reach out and grab the opportunity, nurture it and turn it into something meaningful.

For example, I had a downside experience – a severe stress fracture in my leg, which laid me up for many months. After feeling sorry for myself, I suddenly began to see the possibilities of a new project to help others going through difficult times and transitions. I started to connect the dots. At first, it was a glimmer of an idea. Then I nurtured and took to the next step and turned it into an upside.

Finding the upside is just like any developing any skill. Once you become attuned to the upside, you can easily find it in most situations. However, sometimes you must dig deeper to find it by being extremely creative and looking beyond the obvious. For example what is the upside of losing a job? Maybe a new job will bring you more professional success with unforeseen benefits and rekindling your passion.

You’ll also have to be a visionary— not one who has visions, but rather someone who can research and assess global events, natural resource situations, economics, and various trends. By doing this, you will be more in tune with the possibilities of the future and be better prepared to handle future events. For example if you have to change your living situation, relocating may benefit and sustain you, should there be shortages in gasoline or water. The recent natural disasters have shown that some areas of the country will now be more precarious because of flooding or droughts.

Let’s not forget mindfulness as an important aspect of finding the upside. Without being in the moment, you may miss the opportunity, potential or upside. Mindfulness allows you to live with your eyes wide open and with a unique awareness of each passing moment.

Upsiders are individuals who create their success based on realistic expectations, smart career and lifestyle choices, a strong inner core that sustains them through difficult times, and the wisdom to build a network of supportive family and friends. Upsiders are the individuals that rise to the top in times of adversity and change. They are the survivors, and can adapt, thrive and be happy regardless of circumstance.

So my advice is to be an Upsider and embrace change when life takes a downside.

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Problem solving, uncovering options and adapting are the keys to BonnieMichaels’ success. Having survived rheumatic fever, divorce, single parenting, career changes and financial difficulties, she uses her personal and professional experience to help others. As a work-life pioneer and expert, she has traveled the globe speaking and strategizing for individuals and businesses for over twenty-five years. Her expertise and global experience has made her a regular contributor on NPR, CNN, Lifetime TV, ABC TV, CBS Radio, and international media.

Armed with her many years of successful consulting, strategic expertise, and problem solving, she incorporates a holistic Sustainable Success Strategy that is published in the book, Upside: How to Zig When Life Zags (Collage Books, 2010), co-authored with Allison Blankenship. Bonnie believes that there are always answers to difficult situations and options for finding the upside. Her motto is: "Although the future may feel uncertain, there are undiscovered opportunities waiting." She uses that motto to help others with the changing economic climate and its consequences. Upside helps individuals learn to survive in world of new realities—the not known. 

Through Bonnie’s firm, Managing Work & Family, Inc., she helps individuals solve work and family/personal life conflicts, sets up a customized Work-Life Company Programs, and assisting mangers to deal with the changing workforce. Her book, Solving the Work/Family Puzzle, has been used extensively by individuals and businesses. 

She has delivered hundreds of programs across the globe and is passionate about the issues of sustainability and saving the natural environment and wildlife. As a local and national activist, she is on the executive board for Take Back Your Time and volunteers at the Conservancy of SW Florida, League of Women Voters, and environmental networks.

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