Three Ways to Make Obstacles Easier to Handle

Man trying to reach the top of a wet, slippery board on an obstacle course
You know what the hardest part of achieving a goal is?

It’s not the planning. That’s actually one of the most enjoyable parts — with strategizing and the rush of enthusiasm that you feel at the start of any project, it’s amazing to feel all of the creativity flowing! And on paper, there is no limit to what you can do.

No, the most difficult part is the constant need to remove obstacles. You remove one barrier, and another one crops up. And another. And another… Oftentimes, you may feel like you spend more time dealing with problems than addressing the steps to the goal. That’s especially frustrating if you are feeling the pressure to bring the project to completion, such as if you are in transition and looking for a new position.

So how can you deal with things that take you off-track?

1. Expect to have problems. My husband, who is a production supervisor, plans the daily work schedule for his department. And how often does he think there will be issues? “Every day,” he responds, “Because there is so much that can go wrong, I make the schedule, hope for the best, but know there will be something I will have to deal with at some point.”

As much as I think it’s good to have an optimistic attitude about things, this is one of those situations in which optimism is simply donning rose-colored glasses. Being realistic about what will likely happen is far better because you are in a mindset to be able to deal with the problems effectively instead of being blindsided by them.

2. Don’t assume that every issue that comes up is a “problem.” Especially when you have a goal in mind, it’s so easy to view each obstacle as a problem. How about taking a step back to really analyze the situation? Maybe this issue can somehow enhance your original goal, or perhaps it will take you in a different direction that is even better than where your plan would take you.

3. They “build character.” OK, dear readers, I know what you may be thinking. I remember hearing my parents tell me that and me grumbling, “I think I’ve got enough character…” Going through some bumps in the road is never fun, but there is some truth to the adage, “That which does not kill you makes you stronger.”

Successfully dealing with adversity doesn’t only give you great skills that will come in handy the next time it happens (and it will happen), but it also gives you a perspective to truly appreciate it when something wonderful comes your way!

How else do you keep barriers from completely derailing you?

Image courtesy of John Haslam

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