I don’t know about you but obstacles used to depress me, make me feel stuck before I even got started. It was like all I saw was what stood in my way and they always looked more threatening than I had skills to overcome them. Obstacles stopped my dreams from happening. Obstacles were something to be avoided as well… like I would go out of my way to avoid them causing me to endure suffering, not freedom.
Eventually, I came across a book that helped me transform how I perceived obstacles called “The Obstacle is the Way” by Ryan Holiday. I took the words of Ryan Holiday, “if perception and action are disciplines of the mind and body, perhaps will is the discipline of the heart and soul” and saw obstacles as ways to open up my heart and let my soul lead. My mind seemed to be the enemy, turning obstacles into something hard and to avoid, but my heart yearned to find a way… a way to flourish. Have you been stopped by obstacles? How are you perceiving them?
In my Optimize Coaching Certification program, we learned that our signature strengths can be used to flourish and overcome any obstacle. It was like the obstacle became a way to experience my strengths, experience who I am. Whoa! This changed everything. Martin Seligman developed a characters strength test that I used to determine my signature strengths. It can be found at www.viacharacter.org. Once I had my signature strengths list I stared to use the top 5 or 6 every time an obstacle showed up along my journey. My top 5 strengths are creativity, love of learning, appreciation of beauty and nature, hope and honesty. What came next was quite intriguing. It was as if each obstacle was a perfect match to use and strengthen my strengths!
As I used my strengths I started to experience more of myself. I started to look forward to obstacles as opportunities to use my strengths, opportunities to be myself. This actually fueled me, feed my soul in a backwards sort of way. I encourage you to take the assessment and then start to apply, use your strengths to overcome any obstacle that stands between you and your dreams or goals. See if you also start to experience more of who you are and begin to flourish. It is a very freeing experience and you won’t feel stuck as often or defeated… it is actually nourishing to use your strengths to flourish.