Obstacles 101: Reflection and Resolution

The second part in this two-part series—the first part is Obstacles 101:  Detection and Identification—I’ll explore the process for resolving any obstacles you encounter along the way to fulfilling your dream.

Obstacle Reflection

In reflecting on the obstacle, technical or personal, ask yourself this:  Is this obstacle factual?  Is it really true, or is it a story you tell yourself and others?  Obstacles that SOUND true are not the same as obstacles that ARE true, so be careful in identifying an obstacle as really true.  For example, I could say that I want to be a baseball pitcher, but I’m 75 and that’s too old to be a baseball pitcher.  That obstacle SOUNDS true—I’m too old to be a baseball pitcher—but in fact it’s NOT true.  There are senior baseball leagues that would love a spring chicken 75 year old pitcher!

If the obstacle is not factual, discard it.  It has no value!  Its purpose was to keep you from fulfilling your dream, and its services are no longer needed, thank you very much.

If the obstacle is factual, set aside that you don’t have what’s in your way and focus on how you might acquire what you need to resolve the obstacle.  Acquisitions can be made in two ways:  1) you acquire what is needed yourself (capability, knowledge, money, etc), or your engage someone with what you need to align with your dream and they provide what’s needed.

Engaging others who have what you need in working with you to fulfill the dream is a HUGE key to dream fulfillment!  More on this in other posts…

This process may reveal several layers of obstacles—that’s ok!  That’s the value of this process—getting to the heart of what’s stopping forward progress towards the fulfillment of your dream.  Keep detecting, identifying, reflecting and resolving obstacles and action will naturally occur.

In the 75 year old baseball pitcher example above, there could be two obstacles, disguised as one.  The first is technical:  I’m too old to be a baseball pitcher.  The second could be personal:  how I feel about my belief that I’m too old to be a baseball pitcher.  I could feel sad, upset, or defiant.  If resolving the technical obstacle doesn’t make you feel better and get you into action, chances are good there’s a personal obstacle in there to be resolved as well.

One obstacle that comes up often is fear of the unknown.  We are afraid of what might happen, or what others might think, or how it might turn out.  Our brains get HIGHLY creative in coming up with horrific outcomes that might happen if we take action towards fulfilling our dreams.     Often, the fear of the unknown is the dream killer, paralyzing us into inaction, and we are unable to move forward to fulfilling our heart’s desire.  Fear screams WAIT! at us, and we often heed its call.

Dreams are about what’s possible for us to have in our lives; fear is about protecting and preserving what we already have.

One way to move yourself from reflection to resolution of an obstacle is to phrase it as a question.  What question are you asking, the answer to which would resolve this obstacle?  Again, in the baseball pitcher example, one obstacle is being too old.  A question that could move the obstacle to resolution would be “How can I be 75 years old and be a baseball pitcher?”  With that one question, creativity comes back, and the possibilities start to open up again.

Obstacle Resolution

Options in obstacle resolution:  1) End (or postpone the fulfillment of) the dream. It’s valid to decide that the obstacles to fulfilling the dream are more costly or challenging to clear than the value in achieving the dream.

For example, I like chocolate.  I could dream of going to Belgium on a chocolate tour, sampling the incredible artisanal chocolates there.  Two obstacles to fulfilling this dream are the amount of money and the amount of time it would take me to go on such a tour.  Is this dream compelling enough to me to raise the money and set aside the time to go on the tour?  Possibly, but for me to take the time and spend the money, I’d really need to LOVE chocolate to go on that tour.  And since I only LIKE chocolate, not LOVE it, it might not be worth the effort to me to clear the obstacles necessary to go on the tour.  I might go if the obstacles were cleared for me, but otherwise, probably not.

2)  Reframe the dream.  If clearing an obstacle or obstacles is more costly than desired, it’s possible to reframe the dream into something that gets to the value you want, but with lower costs to obtain it.  I could reframe my Belgian chocolate tour dream by choosing instead to sample the offerings of artisanal Belgian-style chocolate makers in my area, or visit specialty chocolate shops that offer local chocolate events featuring Belgian chocolates.  I could hop on the internet and order myself a whole host of Belgian chocolates to enjoy from the comfort of my home!   There are lots of ways to get to the fulfillment of the value of a dream in your life, and it’s OK to reframe the dream to reduce the obstacles and get to the value of the dream faster.

3)  Completion.  Often, it’s possible to resolve obstacles such that they are no longer in the way of taking action.  You’ll know you’ve completed an obstacle if you naturally find yourself either taking the next action to move the dream forward, or if the completion of the obstacle brings up another, different obstacle.  You may need to resolve that obstacle as well before taking forward action.  With my Belgian chocolate tour example, I may resolve the issue of having the money to go, but still have the issue of taking the time to go on the tour.  Even further, I could resolve both the money and time obstacles, but still not take the action because I have no one to go with me, which would be a newly detected obstacle!

The more you master the art of obstacle detection, identification, reflection and resolution, the faster and more joyful your dream fulfillment process will be!

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