If you want to get your Mid-Life Mojo on, you're going to have to learn how to master the way you deal with adversity.
And here today to share with us his tips for dealing with hardship is one of our all-time underdog champions, Rocky Balboa.
"Wha's that," you say?
Well, if you've lost your mojo, it means you've lost your fight. You're worn out, beaten down and just plain tuckered out. The way to get back to fightin' form, is to begin to see yourself as empowered and capable.
Plus, Rocky is hot ... and fun.
So queue the music ( ... getting stronger....GETTING STRONGER....)
Okay, love, for the next few minutes, I'm Burgess Meredith, and YOU? You, are the Italian Stallion. My job is help you train for the match. I'm gonna follow you around with a towel and a spit bucket and give you all my best tips.
So, put your gloves on, drop down and give me five, and let's kick some mid-life crisis ass!
1. Look for the Punch -- Keep Your Eyes Open.
When the hard stuff is coming at you, it's tempting to tuck and run. Sometimes it makes sense to do this. But there is a difference between being strategic and being myopic.
You need to look your opponent (adversity) in the eye. If you don't, that sucker is going to hunt you down and eat you for breakfast.
So, the next time you are tempted to avoid, deny or, minimize when you are sad, mad, worried or afraid, turn around and look your pain dead in the eyes.
Grab your suffering by its ears, bring it in close and kiss that bad boy right on the lips. (I realize Rocky didn't do a lot of kissing in the ring, but you get my drift.)
Keep your eyes open about what is happening in your life. Become a merciless truth-teller (remember Ronna Detrick's advice about that?). Quit pretending. Stop saying "it's okay" if it's not. Stop excusing the chronic abusers in your life.
Destructive people and situations will suck you dry. If they do, it's because you allowed it.
2. Keep Moving -- and Modify Your Game Plan
A common mistake when you're dealt a setback is to spend too much time in the misery. While it's certainly understandable to take a moment to catch your breath and regroup, you can't heal if you stay there too long.
Get up and start moving forward, even if you just take one teeny tiny baby step at a time.
Also, combine this tactic with our first strategy: keeping your eyes open.
As you get back up off the mat, modify your game plan accordingly. This means that we if we have a situation or relationship that continually dogs us, we take ourselves out of harm's way.
Stop giving energy to people, places and things that hurt you. Learn to set ground rules (boundaries) and say "no" to those things. That way, you'll have more space to say "yes" to the things that rock.
3. When You're Backed into a Corner, Create an Opening.
It's one thing to take one hit, but what if your life situation feels like an ongoing beating? This is a common experience at midlife because many of our relationships are naturally in transition at this time.
The kids are growing up and moving on, we may be taking care of older relatives, we may be nearing retirement, etc.
In addition to the micro-changes to our personal lives, we are each dealing with global changes as well. We have external pressures brought on by the economy, global unrest, etc.
If you're feeling overwhelmed and blue, you gotta admit -- it makes sense!
It's very difficult to deal with setbacks when they come in rapid succession like this. The way out of chronic suffering is to learn to create openings.
One way to create an opening when you're taking a beating, is to answer this question: What about this situation is good?
Find that thing, and capitalize on it.
For example, say you are dealing with a health crisis. What can be good about that?
Well, is your illness giving you permission to slow down and take care of yourself at last?
Many people have been dealing with financial problems these last few years. Well, what can possibly be "good" about that?
Perhaps your economic setback is giving you the opportunity to get "right sized" with life. Can you learn the important skill of matching your obligations with your resources? Maybe you are going to truly learn that you can be happy - truly happy - with less than you thought.
Other common gifts that people overlook are these:
Hardships teach us simplicity. They point us to our strengths and also to the places where we need to ask for healing.
Hardships and setbacks illuminate our true circle of friends. When the dust settles around you, it is clear who is still standing by your side.
These resources - the simplicity, clarity, and friendships - are going to be the firm bedrock upon which you build the next phase of your life.
If you're wise, you will learn how to harness the tremendous transformational power of loss and suffering. If you do, adversity becomes the cornerstone of a your Mid-Life Temple -- your Legacy.
What about you, love?