Choice Decision Making Growth Life Lessons Problem Stress

Best Steps to Overcoming Obstacles

Today we are going to talk about how you can overcome any obstacles in your life, in the best way (i.e. best result with the least energy).

I LOVE overcoming obstacles.

And probably why I was in the Royal Australian Engineers, as an officer for 14 years. We were taught a lot about how to overcome obstacles on the battlefield. It definitely involved some exploding stuff, but it also came done to our CREATIVITY. Why expend more effort and resources than you need to (or have at your disposal).

So that’s our focus today.

How can you effectively overcome obstacles with the least amount of effort?

This is the NUMBER 1 thing I do when coaching. Help people overcome obstacles, so they reach the destination of their choosing – in the best mental and physical health.

There is no point in being so battered and bruised from getting through an obstacle, that you don’t have the energy to go on.

We are about smarter, not harder.

Step 1 in Obstacle Crossing

Get CLEAR of what the obstacle is.

Not the emotive story, or drama story, or someone else’s story.

What is the REALITY of the obstacle you believe is on the path, between you and your desired destination?

You want to get into Truth with a capital ‘T’ territory.

In the military this would be the phase of reconnaissance, so we get really really clear what we are dealing with. It might take multiple forays into ‘enemy territory’ and viewing the obstacle from many different angles and perspectives to get the best picture.

Ask specific questions like: “What is the ACTUAL obstacle I am seeing or perceiving on my path?

And then get very very CURIOUS.

So…Step 1 is to GET VERY CLEAR.

Step 2 in Obstacle Crossing

This is where I deviate a wee bit from my Army days, and deviates into my insights and observations in the coaching space for the last 15 years (which is now longer than I was in the Army).

The BIG question now is:

“Is the obstacle REAL or PERCEIVED?”

This question has the potential to make the obstacle blow up in a big POOF of smoke, and disappear back into the ether of thought or nothingness.

When you look at an obstacle from different angles, and with deep curiosity, you might realize the obstacle is mental construct, and by re-framing your perspective of it, it either disappears, or reduces to a size which is easy to step over or go around.

If you determine the obstacle is actually REAL, I wouldn’t encourage stopping there.

I would ask the next question:

“What is the EXACT obstacle, in this situation?”

Time to get out of the general and get into the (very very) SPECIFIC.

Narrow it down. Identify the exact spot and way this becomes an obstacle.

For example: Your obstacle might not be a ‘financial security’ thing (general), it might be SPECIFICALLY you don’t know how to set up a savings and investing process that is right for you. Or you have not been allocating part of your income for savings and investment. Or you spend more than you earn. Or you have no budget or idea of what you spend on what. GET REALLY CLEAR about the specifics of your obstacle.

It is much more effective and energy efficient, when you are targeted and focused on the specific obstacle you have in front of you.

SPECIFICITY is a key goal in this step.

Let’s break here to talk more about ‘Perceived’ Obstacles

Here is what I have witnessed a lot.

MOST of our obstacles – or the imagined enormity of them – are a mental PERCEPTION.

If we have a fear of spiders, we perceive the spider we see to be about 20cm (8 inches), when the REALITY is that it is about 5cm (2 inches). In this case the obstacle was perceived to be 4 times bigger (400%) than it actually was. This is a pretty accurate metaphor for many of our obstacles. We tend to amplify and magnify them.

There are many reasons why our perceptions can be inaccurate, or wrong:

  • We didn’t do Step 1 – i.e. get clear.
  • We didn’t do a thorough job of Step 1 (maybe we didn’t want to look, or go closer, or put the effort in).
  • We actually don’t have the knowledge to interpret what we are seeing (or not seeing). It is unfamiliar to us.
  • We are believing someone else’s story over what our own senses are interpreting.
  • We have a core limiting (subconscious) belief, causing a distorted perspective of reality (at the level of brain).
  • We are in a survival emotional state, in reactivity, with tunnel vision, and can’t see the bigger picture.
  • We have the wrong information or intelligence (to use a military term).
  • Often it is easier to physically deal with real obstacles, than perceived obstacles.

Most of us are more attuned and effective in the outer world of physical things (3D) than the inner world of thought and feelings.

But when we change our perceptions at an inner level, our interaction with the outer world and our formerly perceived obstacle, can truly go up in a puff of smoke.

Be willing to go deeper to truly understand your obstacle, and what might be creating it.

These are the key points to take away

When it comes to obstacles on our path, it is highly beneficial to bring a high level of awareness, illumination, consciousness, stoicism (unemotional), broad perspective, and curiosity, in order to get ABSOLUTELY CLEAR as to what your obstacle may be.

Given some obstacles can be unknown or unfamiliar, you may benefit from the ‘right’ external or professional input. You only know what you know, and don’t know what you don’t know. Besides, 99% of obstacles have been effectively dealt with by someone before you.

ALWAYS aim to take an obstacle from the realm of the GENERAL to the realm of the VERY SPECIFIC, in order to be more targeted and energy efficient.

Viewing an obstacle when you are in survival mode (e.g. fear, anger, frustration, apathy, guilt, shame), versus when you are in an elevated emotional state (e.g. curiosity, enthusiasm, wonder, reasoning, acceptance, joy), will give you a very different perception of the obstacle.

Your emotional state matters enormously and greatly effects your access to creative solutions, in order to dissolve or circumvent the obstacle.

There is always a way.

And finally…avoidance is not an effective way to overcome obstacles, whether they are real or perceived.

This method comes back to bite you on the butt.

My parting words

Only 4: You have got this!!

(And also feel free to ask me any questions you might have, as over the years I have seen numerous ways to work through different obstacles)

Have fun on the mini obstacle course that is called life.

Enjoy your day and have a great week.

Take care,


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