Overcoming the Obstacles that Stand in Your Way


January 18, 2016

What keeps you from having the life and career you really want? Are there obstacles standing in your way? Do you feel you could be doing more with your life but something holds you back? Do you know what you need to do, but are unable to motivate yourself into action?

These questions are important to ask at any stage of your career. It is normal to have obstacles. It’s what you do about them that make the difference. Perhaps, you are failing to confront these issues head on. As a result, your career is stagnating, or worse, disintegrating in the face of perceived or real barriers to success.

Here are some common career-related obstacles. Do any of these reflect your current situation?

  • Your skills, abilities and experience are underutilized in your job
  • You wake up in the middle of the night worrying about your job
  • You’ve been passed over for a promotion or transfer you expected to get
  • Your boss ignores your suggestions, memos or calls
  • Your job has been restructured or your responsibilities reduced
  • You don’t have enough money saved to get a new job or go out on your own
  • You aren’t sure if this is the right career path for you

Did any of these resonate? Maybe they brought some new obstacles to light. Identify additional obstacles you are facing that were not included in the list above and write them down.

The simple exercise you just completed is an important first step towards a more fulfilling life. Self-awareness is powerful medicine. It allows you to choose new responses and attitudes to the things that stand in your way. From this enlightened perspective you can set up strategies that will work for you.

Further, you can assess how much risk you can tolerate and determine your ‘stretch” capacity. Maybe you have more courage than you realize. Obstacles grow in the darkness. Once exposed to the light of day, they lose a great deal of their power. They become problems to solve rather than overwhelming barriers.

Problems respond well to logic so let’s analyze and prioritize your obstacles. You can do this several ways. Perhaps you select the obstacle that is causing the most disruption in your life. Or, select one that you could deal with easily, feeling an immediate sense of progress. You may also be able to combine a few and work on issues that are related to one another. Your formula will be unique and it is important to set a target that makes sense. This positions you up for success from the very beginning.

Write the obstacle or obstacles you want to address on a piece of paper. Brainstorm all of the things you could do to minimize or overcome your obstacle(s). For example, let’s imagine that you are limited by a lack of money (a common lament). Like may talented souls, your dream may require more money than you have on hand. What could you do to get more money or save more money? Jot down some ideas. By writing down your options you open the door to positive change.

Commit yourself to a path toward success. Look at your obstacles head on. Begin by putting a plan of action on paper and seek out the help you may need to achieve your goals. Stop letting your internal fears or your current life circumstances limit your future.

“Easy for you to say” you are thinking. It sounds nice but facing well-established fears or substantial life barriers is tough stuff. Happy talk and nice thoughts are not enough to change your life. Thus, you may also need to partner with a coach or trusted mentor to achieve your goals. By yourself, old patterns or limited thinking can derail you before you reach your true potential. Tap your existing mentors and support network to help you through this challenge. (And, as always, our Elevations-trained coaches are available to help!)