Isn’t it crazy how when you want something so bad, yet no matter how committed you are, you just can’t seem to get past a certain point?
Often we get stuck on a plateau and we can’t seem to get traction. No matter how hard we try, it just seems that what we want to accomplish is getting farther and farther away, and we just can't seem to be able to see around that darned barrier.
What if I told you the answer you are looking for just might be with you right now?
Yes, it’s true. The answers that you are looking for to unlock the answer of how to get from Point A to Point B may be much closer than you think. It just may be that you are looking at it all wrong. It may be that you are looking at the situation like an obstacle and not a challenge.
Three great quotes come to mind:
I can’t change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination.
~ Jimmy Dean
It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.
~ Henry David Thoreau
Only when my eyes have adjusted to the dark can I witness the splendor of the moon and the stars. Only when I have sat in hopeless loss can I appreciate every blessing.
~ Angela Yuriko Smith
What is an obstacle? Well, the dictionary defines an obstacle as “a think that blocks one’s way or prevents or hinders progress.”
So what is a challenge? What’s great is the definition as a noun or as a verb provide some delightful good news!
As a noun, a challenge is “an objection or query as to the truth of something, often with an implicit demand for proof.
As a verb, a challenge is to “dispute the truth or validity of.”
Let’s think about this and how we look at that hump we just can’t seem to make it over. Are we perceiving an obstacle or a challenge?
Everything starts with a thought. It is our interpretation of the situation that creates the sentence in our brain – out thought (i.e.- This is an obstacle, or this is a challenge).
When we are stuck, it typically is because we are holding on to a belief that may not be true, but we are convinced that it is. Or, worse yet, there may be a hidden belief that is derailing our progress from a subconscious level.
It seems like we should be able to use either word, obstacle, challenge, they both are problem, right?
Here we go with another definition! A problem is a matter or a situation regarded as unwelcome or harmful and needing to be dealt with and overcome.
Obstacles are barriers that block and hinder us. Challenges, which are problems are meant to be dealt with and overcome!
So when we look at our challenges for what they are – meant to be dealt with, overcome, and solved, then our plateaus are not unsurmountable. Our challenges become puzzles. Where is the missing piece? What is the missing thought?
When “I don’t have enough time to work out” becomes, “I have SOME time to work out, even though it’s not the amount of time that I THINK is the only acceptable amount of time”, I begin to deal with the challenge of time. I find a valuable piece of the puzzle.
When “I don’t have enough clients” becomes “because I don’t have enough clients I have more time to dedicate to generating interest or developing leads” then I begin to deal with the challenge of client volume. Again, I find a valuable piece of the thinking puzzle and I can start developing "truer" beliefs (remember we are going to dispute the truth or validity of our thought - "I don't have enough clients."
The truer statement is that you haven't enough clients because you haven't been doing the right things to get those clients - now you can solve this problem!
We tend to look at everything as all or nothing, but this is just a perspective. How you are looking at the problem is a big piece of the picture because YOU may be turning your situation or circumstance into an obstacle by building a barrier thought. This usually looks like –
“It must be done this way.”
“It’s only going to happen this way.”
“This is what I need to do.”
"I've tried everything!"
If you had it all figured out, then it wouldn’t be an issue, right? Instead, the sentence in our mind is making a challenge into an obstacle.
This means that when you don’t have enough clients, your challenge becomes, what actions and activities will help resolve this problem? What are you NOT doing now? You have the time, you don’t have enough clients - so let's get to work problem-solving!
If it’s a lack of hours in the day to accomplish all you need to do, your challenge, “I don’t have enough time to do everything” is tackled by looking at how you can gain traction and gain footing on the item that you would have dropped (because you don't have enough time).
Something is better than nothing. Progress is better than stagnation. Remember, slow progress is better than no progress.
With that in mind, back to the client example, if today you have 50 clients and have a goal to have 300, wouldn’t even 1 new client be progress? This example can be used for losing weight, fitness goals, education, quitting smoking, you name it! Small progress is still progress. It’s not all or nothing.
Think of it this way – you may not be where you want to be, but if you decide to deal with and overcome your challenges by changing your perspective and your thinking, the minute you decide this, you won’t be where you used to be- and that’s progress! That’s success!
Challenges are meant to be taken on and overcome - it's just a game - it's just a puzzle. Shift your perspective and shift will happen. Success is in the challenge!
Jolene holds Doctorate of Management in Organizational Leadership and is a certified master success coach. Jolene's writing is continually inspired by the challenges that her clients are facing. She finds constant inspiration in the world around her and is profoundly honored to be living her purpose helping others turn impossible into possible.