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What’s in your way?

Improving Systems and Habits

Scott Miker is the author of several books that describe how to use systems and habits to improve.  This free blog provides articles that to help understand the principles related to building systems.  

What’s in your way?

Scott Miker

Whenever we want to achieve something, we will find that there are things in our path.  Obstacles are always present and we have to learn to overcome obstacles in order to succeed. 

But while this is easy for some, it is unfamiliar territory for others.  The reality is that obstacles can prevent us from success.  But our mindset is what will determine how we respond to this adversity. 

In my book, You Can’t Surf from the Shore, I talk about the fear that goes along with an obstacle that can magnify the impact of that obstacle on our success. 

In the book I highlight 2 types of obstacles and how they often interact to product enormous challenges.

“There are two types of obstacles.  The first is fear.  Fear is a self-imposed obstacle.  Fear keeps you stuck. “

“The other obstacle is external.  It can be a lack of money to start your business, not enough speed to race in the Olympics, or not enough time to write a book.”

The biggest problem is that many of us let fear combine with a real obstacle to give a us a perfectly good reason to avoid chasing our dreams.  We may be able to acquire enough startup money for our business or find a way to bootstrap our initial business idea but because we are terrified of what will happen if we fail, we give in.

The truth is that there will always be obstacles and there will always be fear.  Instead of allowing yourself to become discouraged, learn to separate the fear from the external obstacle.  This will help you evaluate and determine whether or not you should proceed. 

In the book I spend the first chapter discussing a self-imposed fear that I had.  Over time I started to develop a fear of the ocean.  But the problem was that I really wanted to try to surf.  I reveal how much that fear was the true issue for me to overcome and once I did I was able to achieve a goal that was very important to me. 

It can be difficult to take risks and do things that can lead to failure.  But without the potential to fail, the journey wouldn’t mean as much. 

One strategy that I outline in the book is to change a fearful mindset to curiosity.  Get curious about what you think is holding you back.  Learn all you can so that you know if that is truly a roadblock or just a little adversity.  But by getting curious about it you can start to see whether or not it is worth the risk.

What a lot of motivational speakers or inspirational authors don’t mention is that many times it ISN’T worth the risk!  After a quick evaluation you may find that going after this particular goal isn’t the right path for you. 

I see this all the time when I work with startup businesses.  Because they are caught up the process of starting a business they feel they have to take everyone’s advice and do everything just right in order to succeed.  But this can easily create a very unfocused business that is trying to be everything to everyone. 

A better approach is to be able to focus but still evaluate when other opportunities arise.  This can help us avoid the uncertainty that often accompanies an unfocused approach. 

Regardless of what you want to achieve, don’t let fear attach to an obstacle to create an impossible challenge.  Instead get curious about the challenge and evaluate the risks and rewards to determine if you should proceed.