UPSIDE The Book - 29 Tips for Sustainable Success!
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Frequently Asked Questions

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Upside: How to zig when life zags!

  1. What is an “upside?”
    Upside is simply the positive outcome of a downside. Upside is the promise or potential of a situation.  It’s the clarity in the chaos – once the dust settles, usually an opportunity or improvement can be seen. We call that the “upside.”
  1. How does one find the upside?
    Like any other skill, once you become attuned to the upside, you can easily find it in most situations.  Creativity, looking beyond the obvious, forward thinking, learning to be a visionary, researching and assessing events and values, moving beyond the groupthink –  those are all possible ways to develop an upside ability that we explore in the book. 
  1. How is this book different from other books? 
    Our approach is different because it takes a holistic perspective.  In the new reality, changing a career or making a lifestyle choice is no longer enough to sustain success.  You must address all aspects of your life:  career, personal, spiritual and financial.  Upside is upbeat and based on realities with practical, lifetime strategies.  It is also different in that the book is hands-on; the reader is required to work and think through exercises and activities.  We address issues that can be uncomfortable in a nonthreatening manner.
  1. What is an example of an uncomfortable issue? 
    For example, your relationship with money – while everyone seems to want more money, Upside helps you determine what money represents in your life: freedom, choices, time with loved ones, travel, etc.  We also explore if any of these ideas are holding you back. 
  1. Who is this book for? 
    Basically anyone experiencing a significant life change or challenge.  The book started over lunch while discussing how our children and grandchildren need new ideas and strategies to make successful decisions.  That mushroomed to include friends undergoing divorce or death of a spouse.  And then, the recession hit and large numbers of people were faced with life decisions or situations they felt unprepared for. Upside is about riding the tide of change.
  1. Is this book for a specific age group?
    It is appropriate for someone graduating from college all the way to starting life over after retirement or loss of a loved one.  In our new reality of the “not known”, all age groups are undergoing rapid change.  It is also a terrific resource for the loved ones or mentors such as parents, teachers, counselors and human resource professionals helping with this process.  Upside is based on inspirational true life stories of people who have made incredible change for the better despite very difficult circumstances.
  1. You use the term “not known” -- what does that mean?
    “Not known” is a dominant theme of the book.  A not known entity is one that is not yet known to society, usually in the form of an opportunity or technology.  It implies that events cannot be anticipated, so they are not yet known to you and in most cases not yet created or invented, or are waiting to happen.  Examples of not knowns in the past are cell phones and ATMs.  Fifty years ago, the public in general could not conceive these technologies that we take for granted today.  Once an opportunity materializes, it becomes known.  Upside introduces the idea that our new reality is that the “not known” is a daily reality – not known is the new normal.
  1. What do you mean by the “not known is our new normal?”
    Essentially, the rules of life as we know them are changing – the upside is that you get to make new rules!  In our travels and businesses, we meet so many people who are waiting for life to “get back to normal.”  Our premise is that we are never going back to where we were – Toto, we’re not in Kansas anymore!  The rapidity of change, the extremes we face and the ripple effect of the global economy are unprecedented.  Our realities today are different from the issues of our parents and grandparents.  We anticipate that this is a now a way of life versus a trend or temporary situation.
  1. What are your solutions or suggestions for people? 
    First, people need to wake up to reality, get out of denial and face their fears head-on – no problem!  Seriously, because we have never faced the enormity of so many challenges, we need new skills, strategies and tools to make decisions that support our lifestyles.  Adaptability, flexibility, curiosity and clarity, along with strategic problem solving skills (evaluating, researching, assessing) are the keys to zigging and zagging.  Upside walks the reader through a forward-thinking process to develop these abilities.
  1. What strategies make Upside so effective? 
    Because the book is truly holistic, it approaches your life in multi-dimension using sustainable strategies that endure over time:
    • Abandon the myth of job security
    • Make loss a springboard for success
    • Reprogram your financial thermostat
    • Rework your American Dream
    • Two prongs make a right
    • Build your bank account by utilizing simplicity
    • Create your own crystal ball

All of these strategies are practical and are developed through introspective exercises.  We also include extensive resources and websites for additional help.

  1. What does life in the Upside look like?
     “Upsiders,” or people who live in the upside, create their success based on realistic expectations, smart career and lifestyle choices, develop an inner core that supports them through difficult times and know how to use a network of family and friends to help them.  These are the people who rise to the top in times of adversity and change.  They have a plan for survival.  Upsiders can adapt, thrive and be happy no matter what the circumstances or when life zags.

The Happy App: A Process for Boomer Bliss

  1. You describe being happy as a process versus an emotion – why? 
    The idea of happiness is usually described as a feeling or emotion.  Our view is to facilitate that emotion through a series of actions.  If someone is just waiting to wake-up and “feel” happy, that typically leads to frustration and disappointment because it puts you in a reactive vs. proactive mode.  Instead, we recommend a process of strategic steps that create an environment of success and being in control of choices, rather than just “waiting” to be happy.

  2. How can you seize a second chance?  What suggestions can you make for people regarding job loss and retirement? 
    One of the “new normal” realities is that many Boomers are probably not going to be able live the retirement dreams of our parents.  And the reasons for that are diverse – a primary reason is that the quality of Boomer lifestyles has significantly increased over previous generations.  For example, the bigger size of our homes, multiple cars in a family and expensive vacations are fairly standard today and yet our grandparents and parents didn’t enjoy these types of luxuries.  As Boomers, our expectation changed from luxury to necessity, so I would suggest that we’ve enjoyed a more upscale lifestyle than previous generations.  This definitely impacts savings and retirement for most people.

    The good news for Boomers is that we are a healthy and active generation, so we do have additional years to enjoy working.  It may not be at the executive level or paycheck that we are used to, so we recommend that Boomers focus on work that brings joy and fulfillment. This is the time to really pursue those dreams that weren’t possible when we were supporting families or paying college tuition.  The eBook walks you through a process to start shifting your outlook and expectation, which opens opportunities and really expands freedom of choice.  It’s time to rewrite our rules of what retirement looks like – retirement could be a job that you love and always wanted to do, but felt obligated to do otherwise.  Seizing a second chance is about reinventing your future.

  3. How can people stay hopeful when things don’t change quickly? 
    That is such a great question because we tend to be such an impatient country!  Good heavens, we complain if the internet doesn’t connect in less than a second, so our tolerance level certainly hasn’t grown…  With the process outlined in The Happy App, people stay in motion with each of the steps, so that helps alleviate the feeling of needing to “do” something.  The other recommendation is to review your past accomplishments – Boomers didn’t just get here in a day.  There was hard work to achieve personal and professional goals, so this second half will take time too.

    It’s important to stay connected and remain social, even when you feel like you are not making progress.  Connecting and interacting with other people plus celebrating the hard work of the past can really boost morale.  The book outlines how to create your own support group called a “Bliss Circle.” This team meets monthly to help everyone stay on track with goals, network and brainstorm on solutions.  It’s a powerful concept that serves multiple purposes.

  4. What suggestions do you have for dealing with loss and change—jobs, spouse, finances, children returning home?
    Major changes can be overwhelming, so remember to take one step at a time.  Begin by acknowledge the issues, allowing yourself to grieve and then take action.

    Jobs It’s time reorganize your skills. Call on your support group or Bliss Circle to help you determine the market value of each expertise. Venture into new territories—network, network, network.  Look for work internationally or volunteer to learn something new that could lead to work.  Experiment and don’t give up!

    Take an honest inventory of needs vs. wants.  Be willing to be flexible with your living style.  Determine what things are “nice to have” and not priorities, and then eliminate them.  Network with simplicity groups to learn to be happy without “stuff.” Enjoy the freedom of shedding unnecessary items and corresponding responsibilities.

    — Expect the unexpected.  As hard as it is, take a tough love approach – you are all adults now so the rules have changed.  Give them shelter and support but set limits, time lines and some type of rental payment, either financially or chore-based.  You deserve a life as well.

    — Realize this loss will take time, creativity and reinvention. As hard as it seems, now is the time to redefine who you are -- let go of expectations of the old you and live in the moment.  Feel free to say no to invitations for a limited time, and then begin re-immersing yourself back into friendships. Try new activities, volunteer and engage with new people.  Be hopeful.  Time does heal!

  5. What is the significance of lifestyle prosperity and how does one create it?
    As Boomers, it’s time to define prosperity in different terms.  Look at the big picture of what you have in your life vs. what you don’t.  Analyze your current lifestyle in terms of the New Normal 2.0 – how sustainable is your life? Can you continue investing time, energy and resources at the same level?  If not, release yourself from expectations and don’t compare yourself with what others do.  Develop a life that is meaningful to you with friends, family, and worthwhile activities.  Reframe abundance by nurturing the inside as well as the outside. As Abraham Lincoln said, it’s not the years in our lives but the life in our years…

  6. There is an abundance of self-help books out there.  What makes The Happy App so effective? 
    Because Bonnie and Allison are executive development trainers, they approach the book more as a guide and workbook for a hands-on experience.  There are exercises and worksheets included to help readers all throughout the process, plus tons of websites and other resources.

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Introducing The Happy App


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