This is one of my favorite bits of wisdom and yet I tend to forget it often. I came across this image recently and appreciated the reminder. I thought you might too. Especially right now when the obstacles feel big and hard without a clear finish line in sight.
"The obstacle is the way." What does this mean? It means that sometimes the thing we are most avoiding because it feels the hardest, scariest, or most daunting to tackle...is exactly where we need to go.
I don't know exactly what the biggest obstacles that stand before you right now are....but I know that YOU know what your obstacles are. Even if you don't want to admit it...if you check in with your heart and your gut, you know exactly what's keeping you stuck.
I have been here many, many times. Sometimes when I check in with myself, the answer is that "the path of least resistance is the way." And sometimes when I check in with myself, the answer is that "the obstacle is the way." Here are a few examples from my life of when the obstacle was the way:
1) The time that I took a box of receipts and financial paperwork to a bookkeeper that I had shoved into a dark closet because I didn't want to deal with it and asked him to help me sort it out. He took one look at it and was also afraid of the monster of a mess that was in there. But....as he sorted it (which forced me to sort it and take a look at it) I slowly and surely (with a lot of self-coaching to breathe deeply) began to see that facing the dreaded "financial box" obstacle was the path toward freedom on the other side. To anyone who has ever had to untangle themselves from financial messes....I feel your pain! And....it's worth it to face the music. And....you don't have to do it alone.
2) Public speaking. Did you know that most people report a fear of public speaking over a fear of death? I was definitely one of those people. And then I realized that if I was going to be a successful business woman, facing this obstacle head on was the way. I joined Toastmasters and have been challenging myself to engage in public speaking ventures ever since.
3) One of my current obstacles is finishing a book that I am nearly halfway done writing. Whenever I think about what needs to happen next in terms of my business/career, the answer that comes to me clearly and consistently is, "finish the book, Betsy. Finish the book." And yet....I can't quite seem to sit my butt down and finish the book. I have zero problem doing all kinds of "productive procrastination" behaviors such as deep cleaning the closet under the stairs or re-organizing the garage....but do the one thing that has the highest likelihood of paving the most sustainable career path forward? Nope. Hasn't been happening. It is an obstacle for me right now and it is also the way.
And that's why I like the quote. Because it reminds me that "the obstacle is the way" is a strategy that has gotten me and other people results. It reminds me to just go right into the belly of the beast and face whatever monster or demon or difficulty I think is going to be in there. The obstacle may take time to overcome. The obstacle may require me to ask for help. But when I'm willing to move forward toward the obstacle, I often realize that it's actually not so bad. In fact, once I get over the initiation phase, I usually end up feeling really good about tackling the obstacle.
If you'd like help overcoming the obstacles in your life, I encourage you to reach out. Because what I know for sure is that surmounting life's obstacles is much easier and much more enjoyable with a trusted partner.
Light and Leadership,
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Fulfillionaire Facilitator, Educational Psychologist, Inspirational Speaker