I had the chance to talk with a CEO of a large company regarding obstacles in life and how to manage them. He broke it down to the basics and said we have to decide whether the obstacle is in or out of our control. He gave a simple example to define his point.
Early on in his career, when he was busy raising a family, he and his wife would have regular disagreements regarding his inability to get home from work at a decent time. He blamed his commute as the culprit, and she begged him to leave the office earlier. Both felt victim to the circumstances. One day, realizing that cutting his hours was not an option, he decided that they should move. If they bought a new home that was within 15 minutes of the office, and was navigable by using side streets, the commute would no longer be an obstacle to making it home on time. And guess what? It worked. When they took away the emotions and identified the source of the obstacle, they were able to remove it from the equation.
I believe there are two types of obstacles in life: personal and external. Personal obstacles could include attitude, ability, vision, or self-esteem. External obstacles might include things like the economic environment, family, or finances. In the case of the CEO commuter, the obstacle was external; it wasn't that he didn't want to be home, they just needed to change the external factors to make it happen.
I think we all understand that obstacles, if not dealt with, will stop us from reaching our goals. Being able to identify them as personal or external is a good first step, and then determining whether they are in or out of our control is what can bring us resolution. Either we fix it, or go in another direction. Of course, this didn't go over very well this last week when I took my son’s phone away because I told him it was an obstacle to getting his homework done. He completely disagreed and then finished all of his assignments. Oh well; he is still young, and who am I to judge, since I am just figuring this out for myself?!
Are you ready to remove the obstacles that are in your control?