Obstacles in your path

“There are plenty of obstacles in your path. Don’t allow yourself to become one of them.”

—Author Unknown

Image of a locked fence

Image from Unsplash by Jason Blackeye

The TV show, Running Wild with Bear Grylls, comes to mind when I think about today’s quote.

In this show, famed adventurist and survivalist Bear Grylls takes top stars from the entertainment and sports worlds into the most remote and pristine locations in the world for a 48-hour journey of a lifetime.

Cast members face their deepest fears and tackle everything from wild animals to rock rappelling through some of the world’s most unforgiving wilderness.

We all face a wide variety of daily external obstacles that fall short of these life-threatening challenges. We also create many internal challenges that stop us in our tracks, as abruptly as if our lives were on the line.

EXERCISE:

Where are you currently your own worst enemy, or putting up your own internal barriers? What one courageous action can you take today to create a breakthrough in this area?

Grow through what you go through

“Grow through what you go through.”

—Author Unknown

Image of a plant coming through cement

Image from Unsplash by Stas Ovsky

Compared to traditional school, life is a paradox. It gives you the test first, before you learn the lesson.

What are some of the most difficult things you have gone through in your life? You know – the things that challenged you physically, mentally, emotionally, and even spiritually?

Take a moment to actually picture yourself before that experience, and look again at your capabilities today.

What time in your life are these memories from? To what degree have you experienced these tests and challenges professionally or personally in the past year?

EXERCISE:

Regardless of whether challenges seem to find you or you initiate your own life-stretching circumstances, how can you more fully acknowledge and appreciate more of these growth opportunities?

Take The Oars

“If the wind will not serve, take the oars.”

—Latin Proverb

Image of oars


Image from Flickr by Sarah Brabazon

Have you ever been sailing, wind surfing, flown a kite, or even played golf on a breezy day?

What was it like in terms of your progress and level of success when the wind was at your back?

It’s pretty great when we get an assist to help us on our journey!

All to often, however, life doesn’t provide the winds that serve us, and in some cases, the headwinds of life come directly at us to thwart our efforts.

EXERCISE:

Where and on what personal or professional issue is it time to “take the oars” and do the difficult and challenging work that will get you where you wish to go?

Body and Soul Need New Challenges

“Body and soul need new challenges.”

—Paulo Coelho, Warrior of the Light: A Manual

We’ve all heard the phrase, “Use it or Lose it!” As a former science teacher, this reminds me of the concept of entropy, which points to how things decay or fall apart if energy is not added to the system.

New challenges are tests that bring forth the efforts and energies to tackle them. It is through such exertions that we grow, and bring order to our lives.

EXERCISE:

What challenges are you currently rising to in your personal and professional worlds?

How can you initiate and proactively take on new challenges to improve your life in body and soul?

A Strong Foe

“A strong foe is better than a weak friend.”

—Edward Dahlberg, 20th Century American Novelist

Image of The Joker from Batman

Image from tomztoyz.blogspot.com

Most of us have heard the idea that we are a product of the five people with which we associate the most.

If these individuals happen to be weak friends, we may wish to make a few adjustments.

Unfortunately, weakness in those around us often causes us to become complacent and even a bit lazy, given that the bar of success is relatively low.

Strong foes and even adversaries challenge us to rise to compete with ourselves, if not them, to become a far better version of ourselves.

EXERCISE:

How can you use the example of your most challenging foe to thrive and grow, professionally and personally? How can and will you surround yourself with a much stronger set of friends to support your efforts?

The Right Path is Not the Easiest

“Sometimes the right path is not the easiest one.”

—Grandmother Willow, in Disney’s Pocahontas

Image of Pocahontas with Grandmother Willow

Image from The Disney Diva

Take a few minutes to go back in time to your high school and college years.

Identify the teacher and the course that made the biggest difference.

I’ll bet that in many cases the lessons learned or the impact gained still influences your life today.

What was the level of effort required to excel and achieve the benefits?

How significantly were you challenged to go beyond the path of least resistance and conventional thinking, to reap the reward you experience to this day?

EXERCISE:

Where in your personal or professional world are you taking the easy path that just doesn’t feel right?

Where would summoning your courage, boldness, persistence, and tenacity on a path you know is right make all the difference to your future success and happiness?

Our antagonist is our helper

“He that wrestles with us strengthens our nerves and sharpens our skills. Our antagonist is our helper.”

Edmund Burke, 18th Century Irish Statesman

Image of wrestling competition

Image from Flickr by Christopher Paquette

My dad was a physical education teacher and coach for multiple sports, one of which was wrestling. Young men of equal weight would compete in one of the most challenging and physically exhausting sports I’ve ever experienced.

In a matter of minutes, while engaged with your adversary, you would likely find yourself gasping for air and having already worked up quite a sweat.

Not surprisingly, wrestlers are some of the most fit athletes because of the struggles they face in competing at a high level.

EXERCISE:

Who are the antagonists/adversaries that strengthen your nerve and build your personal or professional skills? How can you appreciate and perhaps seek even greater challenges to further your personal excellence journey?

The Darkest Nights

“The darkest nights produce the brightest stars.”

—Author Unknown

Image of the Milky Way

Milky Way Image from NASA.gov

If you enjoy viewing the night sky, or are an avid stargazer, you’re probably somewhat disappointed these days. The thousands of stars we were once able to see each night are now obscured by the glare of city and industrial lighting and the haze of pollution.

Sometimes life’s difficulties, challenges, and setbacks—our darkest nights—can provide a high degree of illumination on brighter possibilities.

EXERCISE:

In what ways do you block the lessons available to you through your darkest nights? How can you view those moments through a new lens, finding brightly shining lessons to light your path in the future?

their can’t

“Their ‘Can’t’ is my trumpet.”

—Brendon Burchard, American Motivational Author

Image from Flickr by Mauro Hiroshi Cannas

Image from Flickr by Mauro Hiroshi Cannas

One of my favorite authors is Seth Godin. I particularly like his recent book, “What to Do When it’s Your Turn.” The subtitle, “And it’s Always Your Turn,” is a key element of his brilliance.

Too often we are hoping to be picked for the team, asked to dance, or selected for promotions or other desired opportunities. We all frequently experience setbacks, disappointments, and others telling us what we can and can’t do.

EXERCISE:

How can you take Brendon’s coaching and let the “Can’t” be your own trumpeting call, to boldly choose yourself and realize more of your full potential?

Friday Review: Challenges

FRIDAY REVIEW: Challenges

What challenges do you face, and how are you dealing with them? Here are a few challenge-related posts you may have missed. Click on the link to read the full post.

 

QC #1085a

 

“I do not try to dance better than anyone else. I only try to dance better than myself.”

 

 

QC #1085b

 

“Good timber does not grow with ease; the stronger the wind, the stronger the trees.”

 

 

 

QC #1085c

“The greatest challenge you face will probably not be the technical side of your job (your expertise), but rather interacting with other people.”