Like most New Year’s, 2017 was about overcoming obstacles, making a fresh start and filled with optimism and a sense of organization. Then a cold blast of winter hit our area leaving the city shut down. Cars were abandoned along the roads and highways, stuck in their driveways, and parking garages were leaving many people feeling like a hostage and some happy to have the excuse to stay home. I drive a 4×4 truck that could handle just about anything, and it did, except for the hill outside the apartment complex that had turned into a sheet of ice. As I slid down the hill, I eased the nose end of my truck toward the curb where the deep snow remained. The deep snow helped me to gain the traction I needed and safely approach the stop sign.

Overcoming obstacles became the theme as the cold weather continued for days here in the Pacific Northwest, and finally, relief came in the form of rain, and more rain. Temperatures increased, and the snow has melted from the streets.

What happened to me during this time was a feeling of dis-ease. I felt a sense of loss, fatigue, and some old fears surfaced. I found myself wanting to hibernate and eat more carb-loaded foods that are laden with the white powdery stuff of sugar, creating a host of opportunities in overcoming obstacles. Egad! I longed for warmer weather, the sunshine, and some peace of mind.

Although I started out not being in the best of mind frames, I decided it was a perfect time to take advantage of being at home. I cleared out some old papers, did some more work on my website, and a few other things for my coaching business that kept me busy. I gave myself permission, and that was tough; to relax and enjoy some television, read a book that was just for fun, and sleep in a bit longer.

I guess the point I’m trying to make here is that obstacles can and do get in the way of our optimism, our dreams, our goals, and desires and it’s what we do with these barriers that will make or break us. Life is full of temporary setbacks. It’s just a given.

What can or will you do to get through the obstacles?

Here are FIVE actions that helped me overcome some obstacles during a recent arctic adventure we had here in the Pacific Northwest.

Breathe – Take the time to think about the situation and then figure out what you can take control of and then act on it. Movement is essential! If we find ourselves stuck and frozen, the obstacle will eventually just feel bigger and possibly overwhelm us even more. So, get moving, even if it’s only to clean out a drawer.

Options –What are your options? List them all. Check the ones that seem achievable and cross off the ones that aren’t. Opening our minds up to the possibilities can bring mental clarity and a fresh perspective along with new ideas on how to overcome an obstacle. The more options you can give yourself, the quicker you’ll overcome the obstacle.

Acceptance – Wishing for things to be different can only take you so far. Denying that the problem exists can worsen the problem. Possible solutions, answers, and opportunities for growth are left unexplored. Truly, the best option is to acknowledge the circumstances and accept them as they are and allow that state-of-mind to assist in opening the windows and doors of solutions. Once you’ve made your list of options, you can take small steps towards achievement of the goal. Doing so will help keep you moving forward and can take away that sense of overwhelming circumstances. Think bite-sized pieces of a project, and you’ll be on your way to achieving your goals, as the bit sized pieces become bigger and bigger chunks accomplished. Leaving you feeling a sense of accomplishment.

Acceptance of what has happened is the first step to overcoming the
consequences of any misfortune – William James

Small steps – Once you’ve made your list of possible solutions, you can take small steps towards achievement of the goal. Doing so will help keep you moving forward and can take away that sense of overwhelming circumstances.  Think bite-sized pieces of a project, and you’ll be on your way to achieving your goals, as the bit sized pieces become bigger and bigger chunks accomplished. Leaving you feeling a sense of accomplishment.

Don’t Quit – Lastly, don’t quit! Throwing in the towel too soon will never bring the rewards of accomplishing the goal. Massive action is what it takes to overcome the greatest obstacles of life! Be persistent, persevere in the wake of fear and make a commitment to our self to stay consistent with what you desire. As the Nike slogan says, “Just Do It”!

If you fall behind, run faster. Never give up, never surrender, and rise up
 against the odds – Jesse Jackson

Ultimately, obstacles are life’s lessons thrown at us. Lessons teach us about ourselves. They can strengthen our resolve, boost us up for the life long journey ahead and help us to achieve success in anything we set our sights on having.

Solutions, answers, and opportunities for growth are left unexplored. Truly, the best option is to acknowledge the circumstances and accept them as they are and allow that state-of-mind to assist in opening the doors and windows toward change.