23 Jul Overcoming Obstacles by EMBRACING Them
When obstacles come our way, they can throw us for a loop. If we are stressed already, even the smallest obstacle has a way of seeming overwhelming. And friend, I know you are stressed right now. Current statistics show that about 80% of the people in our country are experiencing heightened stress and anxiety. And I honestly think the other 20% are babies, hermits, or just have no idea what’s going on around us.
Stress is part of life. How we deal with it, and how we deal with obstacles we face is what’s important. I’ve written before about ways we can deal with stress. Today I want to talk about obstacles. Obstacles are roadblocks thrown in our way that stop our forward progress in an area. This could be in our jobs, our personal life, and even in our spiritual development. Some obstacles seem overwhelming, some are just confusing and hurtful.
I’m going to tell you a story about Sara. Sara had a great job. She was working her way up the ladder, had a new boyfriend who seemed like he might be the one, and she was thinking of buying her first home. Then her company was taken over by another and every employee was notified that their job was on the line and the new company was only keeping a small percentage of the current workforce.
Sara was devastated. She saw visions of being out of a job, and the job market in her field was tight. Her stress levels skyrocketed and when she told her boyfriend about it. They had a fight because she felt he didn’t truly understand what she was dealing with in that moment. She wanted his emotional support, and he offered immediate solutions to the problem.
That night was a giant pity party. Sara cried, gorged on junk food, and sat alone in her apartment feeling sorry for herself. It’s a stereotype because it happens, friend. She finally realized she was getting nowhere with the issue and went to bed determined to deal with the situation first thing in the morning. And she did. She decided to EMBRACE her obstacle, and you can too.
Ways you may be able to EMBRACE your obstacles:
Realize that an emotional response is a natural reaction
First try to identify the emotion. Is it fear, anxiety, sadness, anger, or some other emotion? Instead of fighting back the emotions, work to understand why you are reacting the way you are. You can’t accept and process your emotional response if you don’t understand what is happening, and the very act of stopping to analyze your reaction can calm you and bring some emotional clarity. Sara knew she was upset. She was afraid of losing her job and angry that all of her hard work might come to nothing. Once she realized why she was reacting the way she was, Sara was able to take a step back from the situation.
We just talked about emotions, and one thing strong emotions do to us is reduce our ability to use reason. Once you are calm, and understand why you became emotional, take a step back and look at the situation. Sometimes you will be too close, or it is too soon after the event to do this, and that’s okay! Wait until you can look at it rationally. This might be the next morning, after a good night’s sleep, or it might be after you’ve talked to a loved one or close friend and know you have someone there to support you. When you take your emotions out of the situation and look at it rationally, you give yourself the opportunity to start problem-solving. Sara woke up ready to tackle her issue. But the first thing she did was call her boyfriend and apologize for her reaction the night before and thank him for wanting to help her. Her personal relationship was her first priority.
View it as a learning opportunity
Now that you can look at the situation rationally, break your obstacle down to smaller parts. Are there some issues or problems you can deal with? What can you learn about the parts that are beyond your control? Are there solutions you just aren’t aware of, or is there another way to approach the situation? Sara couldn’t change the fact that her company had been taken over, and she couldn’t change the fact that they were reducing the workforce. But there were things she could change. First she freshened up her resume. Then she did some research on the new owners of the company and of other companies she might like to work for if she needed to find another job. She felt in control again, and that allowed her to take positive steps. She also thought about other, related fields she might be able to work in if the need arose.
Think outside the box
If you can’t change the circumstances, what good can you create out of this situation? Look for the positive outcomes and that will give you the strength to deal with the not so great parts. Sara knew she had two options. One was waiting for a decision about her position, the other was to take action. She chose action. Sara contacted the new owners of the company directly. She talked to the person in charge of the division her position would fall under and let them know she was a dedicated employee, hard worker, and she wanted to serve if they needed her skills. If not, she would like to know sooner rather than later so she could start looking for a job she would love as much as she loved this one. The new owners were impressed with her dedication and drive and not only kept her on, they promoted her to a new position.
What obstacle are you facing today
How can you EMBRACE it?