In an earlier post I mentioned that we need to remove our negative filters as we work towards our goals. Too often we don’t have a proper perspective of what we’ve accomplished and the progress we’ve made. Making changes in our lives is often going to involve work. Serious changes most certainly will and typically they’ll involve overcoming obstacles. Therefore, we should expect these obstacles and plan to consider how to overcome them.
For instance, in one gentleman’s case whom I’m life coaching, he identified an obstacle which prevented him from being able to have snacks ready for work every day. His daughter was now at a different school and as a result, getting her ready to go to school and the like began earlier than before. Because of the transition, he had only been 50% successful. So this is the way we attacked the issue:
Obstacle: My daughter’s earlier schedule means I have less time to get things ready in the morning.
Naturally, the easiest way to deal with an obstacle is avoid it. So I asked him to think about ways to avoid the obstacle:
- Try to do more in the same amount of time. (This doesn’t avoid the obstacle but is the obvious first option so we included it).
- Get up earlier in the morning.
- Prepare the snacks the night before.
We then considered each option in turn. We want to avoid the obstacle because he wasn’t going to get more done in the same time. His time was already packed in order to get her to school on time. That automatically ruled out the first option. Then, when he considered the time they were already getting up, getting up earlier wasn’t feasible. However, preparing the snacks the evening before was. That’s the tactic he chose and made an action item out of it.
This is the basic methodology for attacking the obstacles we face, whether big or small. Some obstacles need to be challenged head on. Some can be avoided. However, we’re not done here. As is so often true in life, we only see one obstacle but there are more waiting. This was the case here. In the next meeting we discussed how successful he was. He had made snacks for 6 out of 10 days. He’d improved 10%. Obviously, this wasn’t the sort of progress he was looking for. Therefore, we went through the same exercise.
- Obstacle #1: He was on call for work and some nights he didn’t get a chance because of production issues. Those nights he didn’t have time to get the snacks prepared.
- Obstacle #2: He had music rehearsal for his group on Tuesday nights. Again, those nights were nights he didn’t get the snacks prepared.
While obstacle #1 doesn’t occur every week, because of the nature of his job (IT) he could always end up working late or getting pulled in for a production issue. As we looked at these two obstacles, he thought about how to overcome both.
Solution: Prepare snacks for the week on Sunday night.
This precludes bring cut up fruit or the like for later in the week, but when you’re talking about mixed nuts, whole apples, and that sort of nourishment, it’s very feasible. This is his current action item and we’ll see how he does at the next meeting.
There are a few things to take away from this:
- Whenever you attempt something hard or large, expect obstacles to be there.
- Don’t get discouraged by those obstacles.
- Identify ways to attack those obstacles and then execute your plan.
Some obstacles are harder than others. However, if this is a goal we’re serious about, then we need to consider how to deal with the obstacles in our way. Otherwise we likely won’t achieve our goal. Expecting obstacles and then making and executing a plan to deal with them is the best way to move forward. While this is common sense, think about how many cases where you’ve seen folks around you, even yourself, who failed to do these simple steps. They are simple to say, but harder to do. However, if they lead to something you really want, don’t hesitate. Overcome your obstacles and press on.