Following a company buy-out, I was coughed out by corporate America in 1986. The next five years were all down hill: frustrating job search, two failed start-up ventures and an expensive new house we could no longer afford. In 1991–depressed, frustrated and at wits’ end, I retained a guidance counselor who looked me in the eyes and offered the following advice: “If you firmly believe that things will get better, they undoubtedly will. If you don’t believe things will get better, they probably won’t.”
At the time, I was extremely disappointed, even angry. Was I paying this couselor good money and bearing my soul only to receive this hollow platitude? Looking back in hindsight, 21 years later, I realize now that my counselor hit the nail on the head. In slightly more elegant wording: We can expect nothing more out of life than that which we believe is possible.
At middle age, does it make any sense not to believe in a positve ultimate end result? Does it make any sense not to visualize a happy ending and to invite and welcome joy and fulfillment into your life thereby resolutely striving for both. Does it make any sense to cling to internal barriers and self-defined limitations, perhaps implanted when we were small children or adolescents, that routinely warn us we are “not good enough.” Ask yourself: who in the world benefits from you holding yourself back?
If at midlife you are less than fully satisfied with what you have accomplished, where you are today and where you are headed, this is your time to become unstuck! The first step is to divorce yourself from past “failures” and “shortcomings.” Do you frequently dwell on “foolish” things you did or “wise” things you should have done then beat yourself over the head with “if only…”? The only valid purpose in looking back on past mistakes is to understand why you made them back then and to convince yourself that you know better now and will not make the same mistake again. With this positive outlook on present and future, past failures can serve as your inspiration, not an albatross!
The next step is to gain clarity and a clear focus on objectives for your second half of life. In a prior blog, I urged you to discard the aging myth–things are all downhill as we grow older. In fact, the years to come both before and after retirement can and should be the best years of your life. As we turn 45, 50 or whatever (it’s different for each individual) we should transition smoothly from the age of accumulation and achievement to the age of personal growth and fulfillment. No, we should never stop growing emotionally and spiritually. Those difficult days of climbing the corporate latter and raising children is (or soon will be) over. Now is the time to begin enjoying life to the fullest and helping others along the way without anticipation of personal financial gain.
At 45 or 55, you are able to temper the idealism of your youth with twenty or more years of adult living experience–a winning combination! Your career may have reached its plateau but your potential as a loving, caring, wonderful person has not. Please don’t retire from life on the very day you retire from your last job. The pressure is off! Go out and contribute time and resources, but have fun. Your second half is for service to others, spiritual growth and leaving your legacy.
Once you have made solid midlife plans to move forward to a positive future, you will begin to attract positive, like-minded individuals and circumstances. This is the unequivocal universal “law of attraction.” Over time, even the most negative complainers in your daily life will begin to come around if you absolutely refuse to respond in anger, to reinforce or second negative comments or to gossip about third parties. It takes two to argue or complain so why not consistently seek to turn attention around to the positive.
Above all else, vizualize yourself full-time as a joyful, content and positive individual, regardless of age and immediate circumstances. The more “meat” (details of where, when, how and with whom) you can put on the bones, the more powerful your image becomes and the more positive mementum towards the future you desire. Given your clear choice, why would you visualize a negative outcome filled with fear, stress and discontent?
To learn mone about getting unstuck at middle age, tune in our October 15, 2012 podcast “Middle Age Can Be Your Best Age” on the Internet radio network, WebTalkRadio.net. My guest is Odell Stunkard the internationally acclaimed “Breakthrough Expert.”