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!
A dear friend of mine, said something that reminded me today of a very important element to a success-filled life. As we strive to achieve our goals and push ourselves each day, there is something that is so basic but significant to our power and strength yet many of us take its significance for granted.
Have you ever experienced this scene?
Afternoon: Dying to rest.
Night: Can’t sleep.
Rest! It is that success factor that many of us overlook or see as a necessary evil. It’s anything but evil, it is a gift – a VERY precious gift! Cherish it.
When we begin valuing our rest to our success, we gain an understanding that by valuing its rejuvenating properties, we invest in our success. In other words, invest in rest to invest in your success.
Look, rest is as important as hard work, but we need to understand that whether you view your sleep time as a rapid charge or a trickle charge, understanding that you need this time to step away from the distractions and influences of your awakened state to keep your mind, spirit, and body in alignment for optimal performance mode is key.
If you get tired, learn to rest, not to quit. Life can be exhausting. Chasing your dream, living your dream, or even just contemplating and thinking of your dream can be exhausting, but it’s never worth quitting. Instead, hitting the snooze button and powering down your conscious mind is imperative to your achieving your goals.
Think about how well you think when you are exhausted. Not so great right? Well that is something that we often recognize, and we make comments like, “I’m just tired right now. I can’t think straight.” Your inner knowledge is speaking here buddy – don’t just play it lip service – take action!
So, what can we do to value our rest time? Make it a habit! And how do we make a habit? We repeat it over and over, day in and day out, until it becomes a natural part of what we do.
One of the most significant changes that you can make when it comes to your rest is changing how you view this time. Whether this is a rapid charge during the day, or a trickle charge at night, your attitude toward this time is key. Take it seriously and invest in this – great rest time has been shown to enhance your cognitive abilities, problem-solving, creativity, mood, and yes, your overall health. This is an investment worth making in you – ESPECIALLY if you have particularly significant achievement that you are shooting for!
First, covet your rest time. Make whatever time that is your rejuvenation time reserved, just for rest. That means strip away the electronics or any other distractors, such as television or phone alerts for messages and social media at bedtime. And if it is a 10-minute time that you are putting your head down on your desk. Close the door and hang a sign on your door, do not interrupt. Protect and enforce this time – no interruptions!
Second, make your rest time special. I just said strip away electronics, but there is an exception to this, and this is because there are so many wonderful smartphone apps out there that can enhance your sleep and help you experience a more restful and deep sleep.
One thing that I use regularly is high vibrational frequency music designed for sleep. You can go to YouTube and search for this sleeping music, just type in high vibrational frequency music and you can find these videos ranging from 1 hour to 9-hour play time. I turn mine on low and then turn my phone upside down on the nightstand so that I don’t have any light. The super subtle music helps your mind slip into a rest state as you become freed from distractions of your day, or planning the next day in your head.
Another way to make your rest time special is to look forward to it like a hot date! If you were going on a date, you would prepare in advance and put some thought and energy into it. Do that with your sleep! Go get yourself some crazy comfy pillows or sheets and blankets. Get a diffuser with lavender or other essential oils that softly scent the air with wonderful smells. Make it special! If you look at your sleep space as utilitarian, you are missing out on its awesome contribution to your life. Treat your bed like it’s your hot date! Love it!
This leads me into our third recommendation for making an investment into your rest time. Appreciate your rest as the gift it is. Our bodies weren’t designed to run 24/7 without rest. Rest is a part of our natural system. I realize that sometimes we have more stuff to do than day, but it’s still going to be there, but you won’t be if you keep burning yourself out! Sleep is not a waste of time, it’s a gift. If we remember this each day as we stop and rest and sleep, we will begin to experience greater joy as we gain more clarity and focus.
Don’t mistake this gift as a waste of time – it’s time that you are investing to be more awesome! Make the most of the time that you do get to rest and sleep. Value it, make it special, and appreciate the details.
Winding down isn’t always easy, so by putting into practice visualization to take you into rest, you can accomplish two things, you practice placing the thoughts that you want in your mind and you distract your distracting mind so that you can rest.
What to think about? Visualize what you desire and you living it. Remind yourself what you are grateful for. Keep these thoughts active back and forth, what you desire and what you are grateful for as you fall into the wonderful sounds of silence, a fan, your high frequency music, or whatever super special relaxation tool works best for you.
Your sleep is your super power tool – Invest in it. Own it. Use it. Cherish it. ENJOY IT!
Are you doing what you love? Are you exactly where you want to be?
Change can be scary. For many, change is so scary that they find a place that they can be comfortable, sometimes so comfortable, that they miss out on fulfilling their deepest desires.
This becomes the excuse zone.
These are just a few things we might hear come out of the excuse zone:
“I make six figures.”
“I make a good living.”
“I’m being responsible.”
“I do this really well.”
“I like my job.”
These all sound like plausible reasons to stay put, but what if they are your safety net in the excuse zone? What if the excuse zone limits all of these statements? What if six-figures is just the tip of the iceberg? What if you could excel, with passion, and love what you do?
Is the story in your brain absolutely true? Would it be true if you were guaranteed that your deepest desire could come true? Or is it only true for right now, as what you have accepted as your truth?
If I told you that by this Friday, you would have $50 million in your bank account, no strings attached, and it was guaranteed and for you to use on anything you desire – tell me, would the statement still be true for doing exactly what you do today?
If the answer is yes, congrats! You are in the flow and following your passion. Passion turns work into success.
If the answer is no, especially if you say that you would quit your job, we’ve got some exploring to do to optimize your life.
Our safety net feels good. We know that we aren’t going to fail. We are making good money, doing well in our jobs, have the respect of others, but at the end of the day if you haven’t failed, you haven’t tried anything. This is especially true when we are comfortable and by all measures of others and the world doing well – but not living our truth.
Now, this doesn’t mean that today you need to quit your job and drop the safety net. There often is a way to get in the flow and live your purpose from your current experience.
When you are making good money, but not necessarily happy in your current position (the job that you would quit if you won the lottery), you have more financial resources – but believe it or not, it can actually be harder to shift to your purpose than for a broke person trying to make the shift. The excuse are much more plausible for someone doing well – at least they sound good and seem to make sense.
If your why is not big enough, your excuses will be.
Why do you do what you do? To support your family? Because it’s the only thing you know?
When we can be truthful about our ‘why’ we can move mountains.
Our motives are fed by beliefs. These include what we believe is possible and deep-seated beliefs of our value – and both may be rooted by someone else’s belief.
If you had $50 million in the bank, what is it that you would like to do? After you think of your initial purchases. If there was a business that you would love to start or something that you would like to do, what would it be?
Perhaps you’d like to feed the hungry or you’d like to build race cars. WHY?!
…and does what you would love to be able to do, if you had $50 million, differ from what you are doing today? If so, WHY?! – Did any of the excuse zone excuses come up? Remember, if your why isn’t big enough, your excuses will be!
When your ‘why’ does not align with your truth, you are out of the flow – and you can be doing pretty darned good out of the flow, but dissatisfied. Where do you think mid-life crisis comes from? You haven’t been living the life that you have dreamed of. You haven’t been living a fulfilling life, because it has been out of the flow, not based in passion, but out of necessity… and some do necessity REALLY well!
I have many multi-million-dollar clients that have done extremely well, but they are completely unhappy and dissatisfied. They make money well. That doesn’t mean that they are doing what they desire to be doing. That doesn’t mean that their passion is ignited, or they are in the flow.
Here are some steps that you can take to help you begin to gain clarity on your purpose and why:
It is so easy to begin thinking super-critical thoughts- these are based on unconscious beliefs. These conversations in your head have no place (at this point) in your definitions.
Think with your heart and be fully honest, no matter how your what and why sound. Even if it seems like a silly ‘what’ or it sounds like a cheesy ‘why’ – above all else, keep it real and keep it honest.
If it was literal, and you are seeking freedom, ask yourself what activities can you think of that help you to feel free? Is there any activity that you could do today that would help you feel free? If physically unable – are you able to sit quietly and imagine yourself doing this activity in your mind? Perspective – think without limits and judgement of your current situation.
Headwork in visualizing and planning is NOT senseless daydreaming. People like Elon Musk do this regularly. How do you come up with a vision to go to Mars without putting a lot of thought into this and thinking about the details of people and organizations that he might need to learn about and get to know?
This is just the beginning of finding clarity and living the life of your dreams, but there has to be a beginning if you ever want to cross the finish line – and we all are going to cross a finish line. The question is, will your finish line be that of the rat race or the finish line to the life that you have always dreamed of?
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.