As long as humans exist, some people get faced with obstacles and life’s challenges constantly. As soon as they settle the next big issue hits. Drama and bad luck surrounds them and they are constantly dealing with overcoming obstacles. On the other hand, some people just seem to get it all. They are achieving their goals effortlessly and are surrounded by luck. Now the difference between these two is as simple as changing the mindset and as hard as developing a strategy and persistence. This article aims to uncover the deeper meaning behind all obstacles and gives you practical steps to overcoming obstacles, even life’s toughest.
The Purpose Of Any Obstacle
Obstacles have a purpose. It’s hard to wrap your mind around this idea when you are in the middle of overcoming obstacles. But understanding the purpose of any obstacle and seeing the bigger picture is important as it enables you to better deal with the emotional ups and downs. On the big picture, obstacles can be a way to test you or a way to challenge the status quo.
Obstacles As A Test: The Hero’s Journey
The idea of the hero’s journey is that the hero starts in an ordinary world, received a call to adventure, and must leave the familiar behind to achieve a certain goal. On his way, he gets tested over and over again by various enemies and obstacles which makes him transform his being.
Taking this approach to your life’s obstacles, think about obstacles as a way of life testing whether you want what you are aiming for. For example, when you are in a long-term relationship and an obstacle such as a huge incompatibility arises, maybe that is life testing you whether you want to stay in that relationship. Or you just started a business and are facing a financial drought. These challenges function as an assessment for yourself whether what you are aiming for is worth the pain of overcoming obstacles. In these specific times of challenge, you likely cultivate persistence, discipline, and a deeper sense of purpose.
Overcoming Obstacles: A Challenge For The Status Quo
Obstacles have their way of setting your priorities right. Choosing between something that you want and something that you don’t want is easy. You chose the thing you want. On the other hand, when you are in a lose-lose situation, where none of the options you have seem to be ideal, then choosing becomes very hard. And in that process, you learn a lot about yourself.
Obstacles are similar. They tend to function as a tool to uncover all your outdated beliefs and assumptions. For example, when you are facing financial struggles, it’s an invitation to look at your beliefs around money and maybe change your spending habits. Furthermore, obstacles regarding your health can be a powerful catalyst for lifestyle changes. Stripping away what is no longer serving you: stress, toxicity, junk food, and replacing it with what is benefitting your health: meditation, walks in nature, and organic food.
Also, obstacles are a great way of making your desires clear. Do you want to walk down the path and work on overcoming these obstacles or do you want to switch directions?
These ideas can alone help you change the way you approach obstacles in life. But there is still more to the story. Because not all obstacles are obstacles.
Identifying Your Obstacles: How to Recognize What’s Holding You Back
Not All Obstacles Are Obstacles
An obstacle is something that stands in the way of achieving a goal. That obstacle can be physical, mental, or emotional and functions like a barrier. Now sometimes people like to be quick to call something an obstacle when in fact it is just a challenge that requires effort to overcome. So what is the difference between an obstacle and a challenge?
The main difference is that obstacles are perceived as something that is a barrier while challenges are seen as opportunities for growth. Now the key here is that they are perceived that way. In fact, both require effort and persistence to overcome and there is no measure to what makes an obstacle an obstacle or a challenge. So next time you think about an obstacle, try to see whether you can overcome it with persistence and effort and if so, consider that it may be just a challenge. And that distinction can be quite important for the way you approach the challenge or obstacle and what difficulty you assign to it. Now that we covered the basics, let’s look into the steps on how to help you overcome obstacles.
How To Identify And Acknowledge Obstacles
The first step to identifying obstacles is to be very clear on your goal. Because sometimes perceived obstacles are not relevant to your goal and they can function as a distraction. Or these obstacles are mentally created but in actuality, there is an easy way around them. That is why the goal is the key ingredient to keeping you focused.
To illustrate what defines a goal, look at the infographic above.
When you defined your goal, look at your life and ask yourself:
What is preventing me from achieving this goal?
What are the challenges that I need to overcome?
Make a list of your unique obstacles and use them for the next steps. The infographic below illustrates example types of obstacles.
Changing Your Mindset: The Power Of Growth Thinking
When it comes to overcoming obstacles the outcome of any obstacle is defined by your mindset because your mind dictates your actions. For that reason, it is crucial to look at your mindset and cultivate growth thinking when dealing with obstacles.
To do this, take your list of obstacles from the first step and answer the following questions:
What can be positive about experiencing this obstacle?
What do I uniquely learn only because of that obstacle?
5 years from now, how will this obstacle have helped me?
What can be a bigger-picture reason for experiencing this?
Furthermore, you can take inventory of past obstacles to help you cultivate a growth mindset.
What were the main obstacles I already overcome?
What did I learn from these?
Who would I be without these experiences?
When you have reached a certain stage of growth, you can look back at your life and see that all the unique experiences and obstacles made you who you are today. Your weaknesses but also your strengths came from these obstacles.
It can be saying for example “because I was in such a toxic relationship in the past, I learned what real love is and for that reason, I would never tolerate someone treating me this way again”. Or “because I experienced clients rejecting my services, I learned how to properly sell. With that new mindset, let’s look at how to find solutions for overcoming obstacles.“
Overcoming Obstacles: Steps You Can Take
When it comes to taking action to overcoming obstacles, it is crucial to do that from a centered and reflective mindset. Otherwise, when acting from a mode of panic and stress, you can intensify the obstacle, even though these feelings are completely valid. To help you with that, think about the obstacle and pretend that it is not happening to you or that it is not that important. From that new perception, it is easier to access solutions and ideas. Although this may feel challenging, taking a step back and shifting your perspective can often lead to new insights and solutions.
On the other hand, you can take the obstacle and connect to your goal again. Then think a few months or years from now to a time when you achieved that goal. With that in mind, look at the obstacle and find actionable steps you can take.
Daily Actions Instead Of Big Goals
In the middle of an obstacle, may it be financial, relational, or mental, thinking about the next weeks and months can be overwhelming. For that reason, it is better to focus on one day at a time and find actions you can take each day without thinking about the next day. That way you direct your energy into the solution.
When you are encountering an obstacle you have never dealt with before, it is highly beneficial to get professional help from a coach or mentor. With their expertise, they can guide you through this challenge and assist you in concrete action steps you can take. If you are interested in that, I have a specific coaching program that is designed for overcoming obstacles. In that program, you will explore the limiting beliefs and concepts that were causing this obstacle in the first place and resolve them. With that clear state of mind, you work out actionable steps and get accountability for them. To learn more about this coaching program, book a free coaching call below.
Overcoming Obstacles by Getting your Power Back
Obstacles can leave you feeling numb and powerless. Like you are a victim to the circumstances and can’t change much. It’s also important to be gentle with yourself during this process and acknowledge that it’s okay to feel overwhelmed or stuck at times. And if you can, get moving in any way you can. In that case, the action itself is not important as important as moving itself. To help with that, ask yourself:
What is something I have control over in this situation?
What can I change?
That way you slowly start taking your power back which gives you the confidence to handle the obstacle better.
Staying Motivated: Keeping Your Eye on the Purpose
Obstacles are not a sign that you are on the wrong path. To the contrary, sometimes before reaching a certain goal, a huge obstacle comes. But no matter how you twist and turn it, overcoming obstacles can be discouraging and the question arises, how do you stay motivated when dealing with obstacles?
The key to staying motivated is to keep your eyes on the big picture. Think about the purpose of that obstacle and how it can help you in the future. Or, reflect on how overcoming this obstacle can potentially help others in the future overcome the same. See more ideas in the graphic below.
Building Resilience: How To Bounce Back From Adversity
Obstacles are a fact of life, but sometimes they can really get you down. So, how can you bounce back from adversity when things get tough? Here are a few tips to help you with that.
Trust: Your Parachute For Difficult Times
The idea of trust can function as a relief when overcoming obstacles. Specifically, the idea is that every obstacle you encounter is exactly what you are capable of dealing with at that time. It may be extremely challenging at times, but this obstacle wouldn’t be there if you wouldn’t benefit from it at some point in your life. For that reason, sit the idea of trust for a moment.
Overcoming Obstacles Through Self-Care
Self-care is important at any point in your life but especially important when you are facing an obstacle. You, all by yourself, can only do so much to overcome this obstacle and sometimes it just doesn’t work or you just have to be patient. For that reason, practicing self-care is a great way to take a rest. Whether it is taking a bath, doing meditation, going on a vacation, or doing an intense wellness day. Whatever gives you a sense of peace and relaxation will work.
Astonishingly in these times of rest and getting your mind off the obstacle, magic often happens. New ideas and opportunities arise and you come out stronger than before.
Meet Like-Minded People
Nothing is as bad as going through a challenging time and having the feeling that you are all alone. For that reason, actively seeking support from loved ones or experts can give you a fresh perspective on the obstacle you are facing. By spending time with people who can either distract you or be completely present with you, you enable a feeling of connection in the obstacle that feels so isolating. Furthermore, seeking support from like-minded people or even someone who went through the same challenge, can be refreshing. So don’t be shy to open up about your struggle and find a meaningful connection.
But how can you reach out to someone for support without feeling like a burden or without feeling like you’re exposing your vulnerability?
Start small. Open up a little bit to people you trust and see how they react. If they listen and comfort you, you are around the right person. If on the other hand they get annoyed or try to talk you out, maybe it is not good to open up to them at this time. Maybe there are struggling with something themselves.
What is important when you do open up to someone is to set your expectation right and tell them what you need. For example, you can say that you don’t need any advice, you just want them to listen to you and be present. In that way, you take off the pressure and enable the person to give you what you need.
In conclusion, overcoming obstacles can be challenging, but it is possible. By adopting a growth mindset, focusing on daily actions, seeking help, and taking control of your situation, you can build resilience and bounce back from adversity. Remember to trust the process, practice self-care, seek support, and stay persistent. Obstacles can be an opportunity for growth, and by facing them head-on, you can come out stronger and more empowered than ever before. Book a free coaching below to take the first step today.