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You have challenges in your life; everyone does. Maybe it’s a work situation with a difficult boss, employee, client, or colleague. Or perhaps you’re grappling with a personal challenge like ending a relationship of many years, or some life-altering decision or condition.

Every now and then, life sends you a golden opportunity to walk your talk. 

I experienced that recently where I was going through a rough time and had a chance to consciously decide to be a victor, not a victim. The secret is flipping your perspective with two simple questions.

If you’re experiencing some workplace challenges, these questions will help you too.


Several years ago, for about four months, I have chronic shoulder, neck and back pain, arrrggghhh! One third of that year is filled with chiropractic treatments, massage, acupuncture, ultrasound, electric current, pain killers, and muscle relaxants, all of which provides little if any relief. When I deliver training or keynotes during this time, I make it through the day only with the help of pain medications (and I’ve gone through four miscarriages without popping an aspirin). Travel and lugging suitcases is brutal. While presenting, I grit my teeth and act my way through the day so no one knows the throbbing, deep ache I experience.

Then, finally, I get the results from a series of x-rays and learn the cause of these months of agony: “degenerative disc disease”, a type of arthritis in my back and neck, along with bone spurs and stenosis that are pressing on the nerves and radiating pain down both of my arms.

All this while we’re packing a three-bedroom home to move.

At first, I have a moment of “poor me”, and that was fine. In fact, better than fine as it was the first step to moving forward. You see, acknowledging your loss and putting it into words helps you move forward and flip your thinking around. Then I ask myself the second question:

STEP #1: Acknowledge the loss
STEP #2: Ask yourself these two questions:
a) how could it be worse?
b) what’s the gift?

Are you going through a difficult spell? Give these questions a go and let me know how they work for you. 

Here’s an example of how they could apply in your situation. Let’s say your boss is constantly asking to meet with you only to keep you waiting a half-hour twiddling your thumbs. You’re getting frustrated, even angry. That’s exactly the moment to use this “Flip It Formula” and ask the questions.

Q1: How could it be worse? 

It could be worse than waiting to see your boss if, instead of wanting to meet with you, your boss was completely uninterested in your opinion, updates, or projects. It would be worse if he or she keeps you waiting an hour instead of half that time. Maybe when you walk in, it could be worse if you’re greeted with your boss screaming at you instead of getting on with the meeting (even if without an apology for keeping you waiting. Rude). 

Q2: What’s the gift? 

Even though you’ve been kept waiting, your boss is interested in your input! You get face-time with the head honcho. While waiting, you have time for some uninterrupted reading or replying to emails without colleagues popping their heads in your office.

You will benefit from applying these two questions to any painful situation you may be living, whether in your professional or personal life. They have sure helped me for years, and I am delighted to pass them over to you.

You may be wondering what happened with my shoulder situation. Here’s how I personally used the two key questions and what I came up with.

How could it be worse? 

The pain could be completely prohibited movement of any sort instead of just restricting it. I could have a non-supportive husband and family who expected me to function as normal, regardless of the pain. We’re in the middle of packing up our 3-bedroom house and moving in a couple weeks… we could be moving tomorrow and I could have zero offers of help.

So what’s the gift? 

The incredible support of others! When I mentioned my dilemma of not being able to pack up my house, my wonderful yoga colleagues (a.k.a., “yoga goddesses”), my neighbors and my amazing friends, one by one, reached out and volunteered hours of their time to help. Wow, I was shocked! I never would have realized this kind generosity if I weren’t in this situation. I will forever be grateful to each one of them. Another gift is the incredible support from my husband who was buzzing around me like a mother hen, ensuring I didn’t overexert myself (OK, so I’m goal-oriented), and pay for it later. He’s picked up the slack and been my biggest advocate in researching medical options.

What’s the challenging situation you’re dealing with? 

Covid-related issues? Going back to work when you really would prefer to work remotely or a hybrid work situation? Reorganization threatening a job loss? A new unknown boss coming on the scene? A client who’s a real son-of-a-gun? Whatever tough situation you find yourself in, control what you can by asking these secret questions. You’ll find not only the answers, but a more positive outlook is waiting for you.

Let’s hear your story.

Reopening post-covid or keeping your business head above water is a challenge for many. Segments of the workforce these days are in states of great flux. Let’s here about your challenge and how these questions helped. Here’s to flipping negatives to positives. Can’t wait to hear about your results.

PS: these questions are part of the trademarked “Flip It Formula” featured in my book, “THE FINKELSTEIN FACTOR”. Have you got your copy yet? 


My latest book, THE FINKELSTEIN FACTOR: What to do when things go wrong … because you know they will (sigh).  After years of sharing my communication systems with clients nationwide, I have gathered my top strategies of how to flip negative events into positive outcomes. And now you can have them too.

It begins by communicating with yourself and ends by communicating with others. This step-by-step guide will walk you through exactly how to do that … and then, to let go.  Discover THE FINKELSTEIN FACTOR


“Love this book, couldn’t put it down once I started! Marion’s insightful advice helps us make the most of those unwelcome, unexpected circumstances that we all face throughout our lives. Her unpretentious, pragmatic approach reminds us to keep things in perspective and prioritize the truly important things in life. With grace, compassion, humility and humour, she is an example of a life well-lived, reminding us to ‘check ourselves’ and aspire to be better.” Patti (5/5 star rating)

“Steps work and are easy to do. Super easy to read and relate to. Marion weaves her point effortlessly into stories we can all relate to. She causes you to think, adjust, and come out better for it. Uplifting, motivational, and completely practical.” Patrick, 5/5 star rating)

©2021 Marion Grobb Finkelstein

Until next time, here’s to …
Better communication, Better business, Better life,
Marion Grobb Finkelstein
Keynote Speaker / Corporate Trainer / Author
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Marion Grobb Finkelstein

Marion Grobb Finkelstein helps leaders use their natural communication strengths to build resilient teams that talk.

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