In my book, Secrets of the Black Belt Mindset, I share a story about injuring my left knee as I was getting ready to take my first-degree black belt test. While the injury made it hard to walk, trying to get it operated on by my surgeon turned out to be an even bigger obstacle because, as I later discovered, the hospital was using the wrong insurance number and kept denying my claim.
While I did eventually have my knee repaired, this incident taught me quite a few lessons about dealing with obstacles, and that’s what we’re going to talk about today.
How Obstacles Can Affect Us
According to the Marriam-Webster dictionary, an obstacle is “something that impedes progress or achievement.” In other words, an obstacle is a stumbling block, something that prevents you from achieving your goals.
To move forward in life, you will have to overcome the barriers. This is just a fact of life.
While setting goals, like becoming a black belt. is one side of the coin, you also need to be able to take the action needed to achieve them. Obstacles usually come around when you’re at that point of execution, just like injuring my knee and trying to get it repaired.
What you’ll find is when you’re busy working on goals, obstacles will appear and get in your way. Stopping you in your tracks.
And at that point, it, like my knee, can become painful.
How to Overcome Any Obstacle
The truth is success always comes with challenges. While you can think of these challenges as problems, a better way to look them is as puzzles you need to solve. The better you get at solving these puzzles, the more likely it is you will succeed.
Here’s 7 tips to help you do just that.
1. Stay positive.
The way you approach the world, your attitude, is the foundation of your character. Your character is a large portion of your motivation. Motivation is what helps you succeed.
This is the power of a positive attitude. It’s a lot easier to keep working when you have a positive mental attitude, even when you run into large obstacles.
On the other hand, negative thoughts and feelings, will destroy your motivation. So, what can you do?
When you run into an obstacle, look at it as an opportunity for growth. When one comes up, decide to face it head-on. Then learn all you can from your experience.
2. Think before you act.
When obstacle hit, it’s easy to panic, rush, or give up. But when you take the time to look for where you might have erred in your previous actions, a solution that works will often appear.
Keep in mind that mistakes a rarely fatal. Learn from the feedback you receive from each of your mistakes.
Also, when you error, don’t be hard on yourself. Mistakes are part of being human.
Instead of rushing to find a solution, take time to think the problem through. This will make it much more likely that you’ll be able to figure out a solution.
3. Take control of your emotions.
It’s easy to lose control of your emotions when faced with obstacles. This can send your brain into the panic mode, shutting off your rational thinking. When this happens, it can lead to bad decisions that could worsen your situation.
It’s crucial to stay in control of your emotions so you can make the best decision possible.
How can you do this?
I recommend using mindfulness techniques to identify the root of your anger. These techniques will also allow you to take back control of your thoughts.
4. Commit yourself to your goals.
Commitment is the key to success. While it’s often not easy, determining to take the first step towards your goal and then taking them, is the only way you can move on and achieve success.
If you stand in place and don’t keep moving forward, you won’t get anywhere with your goals, no matter how close they are.
Make your mantra, just keep going!
5. Break your goals into manageable chunks.
Here’s a question you’ve probably heard before. How do you eat an elephant? The answer, of course, is one bit at a time.
The only way to achieve any goal is to break it down into smaller, more manageable pieces. This allows you to have more time to work on each of the smaller goals, without having the pressure of getting everything done all at one time.
An added benefits is you’ll feel like you’re accomplishing something without becoming overwhelmed.
One method of doing this is to create a checklist of tasks that need to be done, based on your larger goals. By having a checklist, you can always make sure that everything is completed in order before moving on to the next small step on your list.
6. Prepare for future risks.
As any seasoned project manager will tell you, the best way to overcome obstacles is to reduce their chances of happening to begin with. While this isn’t always possible, you can often prepare for future risks by taking time to review the feedback you’ve received from past attempts.
For example, maybe you’ve found that a certain vendor sometimes has issues delivering on time. In this case you might want to place your order a few weeks in advance and have what you need on hand so it’s ready when you need it. You could also look for a new vendor.
7. Reward Yourself.
Many people quit going after their goal when the going gets tough. To keep going despite challenges, you’ll need high motivation.
In his book, Atomic Habits, James Clear says that the 2nd Law of Behavior Change is to make it attractive. One way to make the behavior of keeping on when the going gets tough more attractive is by attaching a reward to it. This reward can be anything that means something to you.
You can also focus on the long-term benefits of the goal.
As you plan your rewards, think about their emotional effects on you. Develop rewards that will excite you and keep you going no matter what obstacles you face.
You Can Overcome Any Obstacle!
If you know your goal, work on your attitude, take your time before making decisions, stay in control of your emotions, and commit to achieving that goal, you can overcome any obstacle that comes up in your life.
Once you decide on your path forward, break down your action steps into manageable chunks and prepare for any future risks to reduce their affects.
Finally, find a reward that will help you maintain a high level of motivation so you can keep going despite the challenges that will always appear.
Follow these steps and reap the rewards!