Embrace the rocks on the path
Did you ever have a dream or a goal that you were passionate about, but that seemed just out of reach because of the obstacles you met? Or do you still have a wish that seems to elude you? How do you deal with the thoughts and feelings that come up when you face a roadblock? My experience and observations show me that it is very helpful to embrace the rocks on the path.
How we deal with obstacles
Basically there are two options when we meet that challenge. Either we overcome it or we let it stop us. Both choices are equally valid. The problem arises when the choice is not in alignment with what we really want or when we start to blame the outside world for sabotaging our happiness.
Let’s say your partner wants to surprise you with a nice meal out tonight. You dress up, go to your favorite restaurant only to find out that it is closed that night due to special circumstances. Oops. Roadblock.
- Now you can overcome it by going to your second best restaurant, go home and have a high quality meal delivered and play restaurant or go dancing instead. Whatever option you take, you won’t let that closed door spoil your evening. You overcome the obstacle.
- Or you can go home and decide to go out some other evening and you don’t give it another thought. Having diner in that restaurant would have been nice, but now that it didn’t happen that’s fine as well.
- The negative effects arise when you go home, change into other cloths, get some leftovers out of the fridge and tell each other how sad it is that the restaurant is closed right now when you wanted to have a good time. You are irritated, the leftovers don’t taste good, you feel a victim of the circumstances. Then you call a friend and say “guess what happened…” and you complain a bit. The next day you are grumpy and you blame your partner for not having checked before. You may even say “nothing ever works out for me…”
It’s a mindset
Exaggeration? An example of something not so important in the whole scheme of life? I don’t think so. Do you know the saying “how you do anything is how you do everything“? The example shows a mindset. The evaluation of a moment seems to happen in a split second. Yet there is a whole set of mini-assumptions and mini-decisions going on before we make a choice as in how to respond.
It’s good to reflect upon that in an example that doesn’t seem all that important. We can watch that from more distance than the things that are truly close to our hearts.
Sometimes we are so focused on a specific event or circumstance that we overlook the quality behind the goal. What is the goal supposed to bring us? That clarity is at the basis of our response and it gives us back our power.
In this example we can ask the question whether it is about the specific restaurant, the specific dish or about spending quality time together. With that insight we can use our creativity to find the next step. We can go on another day, find another restaurant that serves the same kind of dishes or do something else that pleases us.
How it works well
What goes for the small things, is valid for the big things. Let me transfer this to a “big goal” to show all the components.
Let’s say you are a coach and you envision to see a book of yours on the shelves of the biggest book stores in the world. The book should empower people to take their lives into their own hands and to go for their goals (yes, I like the irony of the topic…) It is something that has been on your mind for a while and you decide that now is the moment.
There are zillions of rocks that can block your path. From not finding the time to write to begin with to not finding a publisher that believes in your quality. On top of that no one seems to take your plan serious and even you yourself doubt from time to time whether what you have to say is good enough. After all, you don’t even seem to be able to reach your own goals :-)
The first step to take is to gain clarity
Why do you want this? What is the goal behind the goal? What are the qualities of seeing this book published? Is it about the book or about the message and is the book only a vehicle? Is it about recognition or about writing? Is it about compressing your expertise into a coherent vision that you can communicate or about the opportunities that a published book could bring you?
Each of the answers can lead you towards writing the book or towards other solutions. It may not have been about the book after all.
The second step is to get creative
Now that you know what you really want, what steps could bring you to that goal? Let’s say that you decide that it is about the book and that you really want to write it. Now define the blocks. What do they consist of? And what can you do to go around them?
Maybe not finding the time to write is the obstacle you face. What options can you find to overcome that? Rise an hour earlier every day? Have one client less a week and use that moment? Speak into a recorder while commuting and have it transcribed? Find a ghost writer? Find co-authors? Find as many options as possible and decide what is best for you.
The third step is to implement a strategy
Having made a decision is only the first step. Now you have to do it. If it doesn’t work, you will have to go back to the drawing board and find new solutions. Whatever you do, realize that it is up to you to realize your dream, not up to fate. With your decisions doors open and you will find a lot of help along the way. It is your clarity and your decisions that help you see the opportunities available. If they don’t show up, you are not yet clear enough or you are focused on the wrong path. Being persistent and implementing what you decided are key components to any success.
The fourth step is to get support
That support can take many forms. From creating circumstances like closing the door and putting a do-not-disturb sign on it to getting people on board to help. You may want to hire someone to do research or to edit your manuscript. You may want to find an agent to help you get a publisher or you may want to use a print on demand company.
The fifth step is to keep going and evaluate
Once you have overcome one obstacle you may have a smooth ride from there. More common is that you will find a new roadblock. Now you know that is not a problem, since you have ways around it.
The most important reflection in any phase is: do I still want it?! Times change, our lives change. Something that seemed important a year ago may have lost its value today. Wisdom is the ability to change our minds when appropriate. That most certainly goes for our goals and dreams. Dare to change them or let them go, they are not your siamese twin :-)
Obstacles give us the opportunity to reflect upon the validity of our goals. It is good to schedule moments of reflection for this regularly. So embrace those rocks on the path. They help you to gain clarity, to get to the essence, to be creative, to meet new people – in short to explore the essence of our lives.
Have a day filled with clarity! – Margot