If we want a life that’s rewarding and meaningful, we’ll have to do new things and take on new challenges so that we can have new experiences.
As we make progress towards things we want, it’s inevitable we’ll encounter obstacles along the way. A good thing about obstacles is that they can help us get a lot clearer on what we’re doing or what we’re trying to achieve.
The better we deal with obstacles, the quicker we’ll get to where we want to be.
The Different Kinds of Obstacles
- Internal — These can include our habitual way of thinking, our beliefs, behaviours or mindsets. Most times, once we overcome our internal obstacles, other obstacles tend to disappear.
- External — These can include other people, our environments, our geographical location or the economic climate we’re faced with.
The way we deal with our perceived internal and external obstacles will determine the quality of our results and how soon we achieve what we want.
I remember the time in my corporate career, when the team leader and supervisor role I was in, required me to give regular updates and presentations to my team members, peers and manager during meetings. As I was not very comfortable speaking in front of groups, I initially found it nerve-wrecking and daunting.
After struggling through many meetings, during which the experience did not get any easier, I decided to improve my speaking skills. The only thing I knew at that time was to enrol in a Toastmasters program, which itself was a huge stretch for me.
Initially, I found the Toastmasters experience very uncomfortable but I forced myself to go as far as I could. Over time, I started feeling more comfortable speaking in front of groups and I started using things to make the experience better such as visual aids, props, and including interactive activities.
The things I learned in Toastmasters was just the start. As I transitioned from what I was doing to having a speaking and training career, I learned even more things about speaking in front of small and large audiences, which continues to serve me today.
5 Strategies for Overcoming Obstacles
- Reframe obstacles as opportunities. We have to learn accept obstacles as a necessary part of our journey to achieving a result we want. Whenever we face obstacles, we can ask questions like, “What opportunity does this bring?” or “What does this make possible now?” to shift our focus to finding solutions. Every obstacle can have valuable lessons if we’re willing to look for them.
- Get committed to find a solution. It can be easy to let obstacles weigh us down or cause us to stop going for what we want. This is where reconnecting to what’s important to us will help us overcome them. Asking questions such as, “Why is it necessary for me to overcome this obstacle now?” can help us stay committed to the outcome we want.
- Use your creativity. Obstacles can make us more creative because we’ll be required to tap into and utilise resources we may not have previously used. We can become our own coach by asking ourselves, “If someone I know had this obstacle, what advice would I give them?”
- Seek out others who have overcome similar obstacles. We don’t have to overcome obstacles on our own if we don’t have to. Chances are someone else has faced and overcome the obstacles we are facing. We can reach out to them directly or we can do some research. Other options may include reading books or attending seminars to learn solutions that can help us move forward.
- Intentionally seek out obstacles. We have to switch our mindset towards obstacles. Rather then seeing obstacles or challenges as something to avoid, we should make them an integral part of our development. We tend to enjoy something we’ve achieved more if we’ve struggled through and challenged ourselves in the process.
If it was easy to achieve major goals in life, more people would be achieving their goals. The reality is obstacles often cause people to stop going for their goals. If we start welcoming obstacles and use the strategies suggested above, we have a much better chance of overcoming them. If we don’t change the way we view obstacles, it will be a struggle for us to achieve our most important goals in life.
Question: What is another strategy we can apply to overcome obstacles in life?
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