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Mesa Verde N.P., Balcony House Tour 8-2008

It’s Your Call: Obstacle or Opportunity?

Creative Commons LicensePhoto credit: inkknife_2000
When the path to your goals is strewn with barriers it’s easy to succumb to discouragement and doubt. But there’s a better way.

Last week I wrote about the “valley of doubt” that often looms between you and the goals that matter most to you. I concluded that it is important to keep your eyes on the goal.

Today I’d like to add a tactic that will help you move in the direction of your dreams…

Life’s up and downs provide windows of opportunity to determine your values and goals. Think of using all obstacles as stepping stones to build the life you want.

— Marsha Sinetar

Hmmm.  Interesting premise – obstacles as stepping stones.  Go figure.  I tried to noodle it through and I guess I’m tangled in the muddle of a multiplicity of deadends… so I’ll defer to Robert Collier, author of The Secret of the Ages, who believes that:

The man who waits for favorable conditions and favorable circumstances will find that success in any field is never a walkover. It is the man who wins in spite of circumstances, in spite of adverse conditions, the man who wins when other people say he cannot, the man who does the “impossible,” the man who rides over obstacles, who gets on in this world. And why? Because the very struggle to overcome the obstacles in his way develops the power that carries him step by step to his goal.

I’m guessing that goes for women and children too?

Singer Kelly Clarkson sings it well in “What Doesn’t Kill You” [makes you stronger] – actually, it was German philosopher, Friedrich Nietzsche who famously said it. But regardless, the words are so much more inspiring when they’re sung! Neil Graber of NeilGraber.com offers an insight:

Everyone faces obstacles and challenges throughout their life – it’s what we do with those obstacles that can turn them into stepping stones or show stoppers…

I think we all can agree that people can be more creative when faced with adversity, yet others facing the same challenges just fold-up and quit. When our choices are limited, many people will stretch their minds to offer up different solutions or methods to resolve the challenges they are facing. They will try things they normally wouldn’t do when “times are good”. …With an attitude of “I can and I will move past this”, we look for ways to surpass our challenges, or adapt to them, and keep moving forward. As a result, we find ourselves stronger, having added new experiences, and sometimes even in a better position than we were before. In that case, we have turned our obstacles into the stepping stones of a new success.

I’m thinking that Neil is right. AND I’m willing to keep on stretching as I navigate my way through the blockades that have slowed my advancement on those pesky goals I still hold dear.  I can and I will move past this.  How about you?

You must have long term goals to keep you from being frustrated by short term failures.

— Charles C. Noble

Doubt If You Must, But Keep the Faith

Doubt is a pain too lonely to know that faith is his twin brother.

— Khalil Gibran

In the throes of doubt, recover your faith by remembering your “what’s and why’s:”

When we are motivated by goals that have deep meaning, by dreams that need completion, by pure love that needs expressing, then we truly live life.

— Greg Anderson

Back in the early days of BouncebackCafe.com, in the post Getting to Fear-less,  PattiAnn wrote about virtualizing your dreams; but be forewarned, she demonstrated by virtualizing one of her fears – a trip to the dentist!  The process requires you to use all five of your senses and works for dreams as well as fears.  Carolyn Elliott of AwesomeYourLife.com gives her own (rather icky) example of using the process:

Virtualization is a process in which you vividly imagine the fulfillment of your authentic preferences, drawing upon all five senses and upon your emotions. Let’s say that I’m working on manifesting some roly-poly pigs.  I would relax, lay back, and spend some time seeing myself hanging out in a pig pen, feel the soft squishing of the mud, hear the sweet grunts of porcine oinking, smell the fragrant shit, feel my heart swelling with joy. Why do this? Because… you’ve got to get the feel for what it would be like.

Carolyn’s “dream” sounds like a nightmare to me, right up there with going to the dentist! But she, like PattiAnn, demonstrated the 5-Senses technique for virtualizing your dreams – I’m hoping one or the other or both will help you use the 5-Senses technique to virtualize your own dreams.

Once you’ve made the “what” of your own dreams explicit, remind yourself WHY it matters – what’s in it for you to make it so? When you know the answers to those questions, you’ll be ready to pounce on each obstacle – oops, make that “stepping stone” – and forge your path to the outcomes you so dearly desire.

Following the Stepping Stones to Where You Want to Be

Often it will be an uphill climb…

Stone Steps

Sometimes you’ll lose sight of the goal…

Stepping stones across the Duddon

Don’t be surprised when your path becomes muddled… just take one step at a time and you’ll find your way…

Stepping Stones

Always remember:

If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.

— Henry David Thoreau

When the path to your goals is strewn with barriers, stretch your imagination – virtualize your goals – and when you can really feel the “what and the why,” take it one stepping stone at a time. You can do it. And so can I.

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Cup o’ Inspiration

cup with steam swirl

Take a short break and consider the following:

“Faith and doubt both are needed – not as antagonists, but working side by side to take us around the unknown curve.”

Lillian Smith

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