Fight the Tough Fight
‘Life is going to beat you up,
if you want to progress you have to fight back.’
This year felt like a year to stand for something, and because I grew up in a violent household, I decided to add my voice in support of women, children, and men who are living in danger, in their own homes.
The plan was to raise money by writing and publishing a book. A tough challenge, though something within my power to complete. But it wasn’t long before I met my most pernicious enemy – resistance! If I wanted to achieve my goal, I would have to fight tough!
The boxing theme in this article was inspired by memories of my brother Billy, who sadly died before his time. In his teens he was an amateur boxer, and if I was unlucky enough to wander into his orbit, he would use me as his ‘little punch bag’. Shadowboxing only. But I learned some tough lessons. To win a fight, you have constantly move and throw punches – Jab, jab, follow-though! Standing still is not an option.
Get in the ring
It was time to step in and step up. People were being adversely affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, and it had forced many to re-evaluate their lives. Some found that their relationships were not rooted on solid ground, or even worse, they were living with a predator. Too many had lost their jobs and in the process their sense of purpose and identity. Sadly, lots of people were dealing with all the above – a perfect storm.
At times like these, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and stuck. Our energy is low, but it is important to keep our motivation and momentum high. This means taking action, however small. It means knowing what we are prepared to fight for!
My book and my purpose were important, and I wanted to win.
Know your opponent
I knew that if I didn’t fight tough, resistance would knock me off course. The weeks, months and years would pass, and the book would remain a pipe dream. And I would feel bad!
When we make commitments to ourselves and then resist the necessary actions, we create a damaging cycle. Our lack of follow-through starts to whittle away at our confidence, undermine our self-esteem, and we slowly lose trust in our ability to make changes in our lives. We forfeit our power.
So, what does this opponent look like? Well as it happens, it looks remarkably familiar.
Resistance is an all-pervading and devious force, and as I set out every morning to take those important next steps, I was quickly tricked into:
- Denial – getting doubtful, ‘who wants to read this stuff?’
- Delay – getting round to it, ‘when my website is designed.’
- Distraction – getting into nonsense, ‘what’s Boris up to?’
Recognise these behaviours? For sure. They are simple strategies sent to soothe our anxiety and keep us safe. They pretend to be our friend, our protector, whilst doggedly keeping us from our important work, those essential next steps.
But I was onto it and could see that denial, delay, and distraction, were just fear, hiding in plain sight! Overcoming resistance was going to be a daily fight, and for all of us wanting to grow and change, it will forever be the fight of our lives.
Resistance is that part of us that is full of fear and self-doubt. Let’s call it our inner Scaredy-Cat. It insists on reminding us of every slight and knock along the way. The child who wanted to be loved, the teenager who wanted approval, the adult who now fears the judgement of others; the person who is vulnerable and easily damaged. Our inner Scaredy-Cat wants to be rescued, but only we can take steps to rescue ourselves. This is a fistfight, not a fairy-tale!
On the ropes
Imagine a boxing ring. You believe your opponent is external, but it’s not. Resistance is your own creation. You have been feeding it. When you procrastinate, excuse, blame and rationalize, you are nurturing it. When you deny, delay, and distract you are making the enemy stronger. Every ounce of its power comes from you.
Once resistance has you on the ropes, it lands lots of small consistent jabs to create self-doubt, lower your self-esteem and damage your confidence. Over time you become immune to its power. It’s easier to stay on the ropes than it is to fight your way into the ring. Here’s the thing, if you don’t take action, you become punch drunk, and will spend your precious life energy continually avoiding, defending, and protecting.
It’s time to fight back. Time to toughen up and land some solid punches on your enemy. This is not a friendly fight. You must fight power with power. It’s time to find your inner Braveheart and take control. Your inner Braveheart is the child that ran free, the teenager that experimented, the adult with passions and possibilities. When you unleash your inner Braveheart, you move from self-defence to self-empowerment. Jab, jab, punch.
Resistance loses its power when you take action. When you jab hard. Every small step towards your goal is like a punch to its solar plexus. When you harness your forward energy, it retreats. Every day stay true to your possibility. Start where you are. Don’t look back in regret, or forward in longing. Keep your guard up and your feet moving. Resistance is fast and smart. It won’t give up. It will counter-attack. But guess what? Life is going to beat you up, but not keep you down. You can take the blow and get back up. The pain you feel today will become your strength tomorrow. Do what you need to do, one step at a time, one punch at a time, one round at a time.
Every day punch harder. Do the thing that you have been avoiding and get an outcome. Put resistance on the ropes. Do this consistently so that you keep learning and adapting. As you test yourself, you will become stronger. You will grow, develop knowledge, make better judgements. and decisions. You will become more resilient, and confident. You will learn to trust yourself.
Step into your power. Fulfil your potential. Land the knock-out punch. Win for yourself and show the way for others. When you fight resistance with your personal power, you replace a force of fear, with a force of nature.
I won this fight. You can win yours.
Believe that whatever the outcome, you will handle it.
Remember you are not alone; there are people who will help.