ost people make goals throughout their entire personal and professional life. These may include setting lofty goals like starting your own business or writing the next “Good to Great” book. Yet, while people tend to create goals, many fail to achieve them, which leads to frustration, self-flagellation and sabotages their self-esteem and professional success. For example, someone with the goal to start their own business might encounter obstacles. They may be uncertain about where to start, lack funding, feel exhausted, or face too many demands at their current job. Other obstacles may include questioning their abilities to start and grow such an endeavor or thinking they must step on others to achieve their dreams. Adhering to these negative beliefs makes your goals seem impossible thereby it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy of defeat.
Obstacles Block Progress
While balancing day-to-day responsibilities, people often confront obstacles and adversity. Obstacles are interferences that prevent people from reaching their goals. These rocks and pebbles along the way may cause one to stumble or fall due to lack of motivation, planning, action, and reflection. Without reflection, we become scattered and lose focus as we chase the next “shiny red object.” Many times, we chase goals that someone else thinks we should and we don’t take the time to ponder as to whether it is a worthy goal that speaks to us. Then we wake up one day to find it belonged to someone else. Obstacles can appear because there is no fire in their belly, not even faint amber embers to stoke a roaring fire and move them. Or, they insist that it is impossible to achieve their dreams because the obstacles they face appear too great and so they give up.
Over the years, I have heard clients share stories about their spouses and / or peers squash their dreams. For example, the person heard they were too old, their children had to attend Ivy League schools, or the venture was too risky and “it would never work.” Perhaps, the boss claimed they were too reactionary and lacked reflective skills to ensure they had considered the necessary steps to achieve both the company’s goals as well as their own.
Your greatest obstacle is yourself.
When you focus, Mind over Mountain,
the mountain crumbles before you.
~ Cecilia Rose
During the planning mode, actions can become erratic or non-existent. Inconsistent actions often produce frustration followed by weak results. This triggers inertia and complacency. It’s a circular effect. Yet, a well-devised plan without action will bring no results either.
Obstacles Get Repeated
The great Roman orator, lawyer, political figure and philosopher, Marcus Tullius Cicero, is best known for writing “The Six Mistakes of Man,” in which he points out how man continues to recapitulate these mistakes century after century:
- Believing that personal gain is made by crushing others;
- Worrying about things that cannot be changed or corrected;
- Insisting that a something is impossible because we cannot accomplish it;
- Refusing to set aside trivial preferences;
- Neglecting development of the mind;
- Attempting to persuade others to believe and live as we do.
Know that overcoming your obstacles will depend on what you believe in your heart of hearts, asking yourself what are you afraid of and can you summon up the courage to go after what you say matters to you. Or, does this belong to someone else and is not worthy of your time and energy? Thereby, the obstacles are redirecting you. Know that some of these are real, while others are simply obstacle illusions because you have yet to see ‘the man behind the curtain’. We become what we believe and our lives play out the stories we have woven in our minds that often become self-fulfilling prophecies.
Why do some people achieve their goals more smoothly while others experience more obstacles along their path? Mindsets. What we focus on expands. Research has proven that having a positive mindset is a frame of mind that governs how one sees the world. Generally, people with positive mindsets perform better in their careers and live happier lives than pessimists. People with a “growth mindset” know that when obstacles appear, they have something to adjust or learn in their lives. Keeping a positive frame of mind builds your resilience. Adversity is part of life; the question is what do with it.
How you respond to those challenges will determine the extent of your business success. If you keep moving forward to find a solution to the problem, you’re likely to do well. If you choose instead to fall back and wait for the “right time” to get back into action, you’ll stall out and eventually fail. It also pays to stretch beyond your comfort zone. When operation in this danger zone, one can become complacent and quit because they let their dream die versa ‘the quitter’ who quits because they realize that it wasn’t their dream after all or they see the rejection as redirection. And, remember some adversity is essential for our growth and to cultivate our human growth. And adversity is essential to human growth as it is the primary way we learn. There is no failure only experience on how to proceed differently.
The Truth About Obstacles
Life is about facing adversity and overcoming obstacles. When we stretch ourselves, we grow to become the person inside of us who knows what we can do, who knows what we can achieve.
And, remember you are always in the process of learning. That it is ‘Mind Over Mountain’ and it is this that is helping you to continue to build you your mental muscles for this journey. The ability to overcome obstacles is a key component to living a successful, significant life and a career that feeds your soul. When the journey ends, you will say “I said to myself with a smile, myself, well done, myself, well done!”