A short zen story:*
Once upon a time there was a king whose people had grown soft and entitled. Dissatisfied, he hoped to teach them a lesson.
His plan was to place a boulder in the middle of the main road, completely blocking entry into the city. He would then hide nearby and observe their reactions.
The king watched as subject after subject came to the boulder and turned away. Or, at best, tried, meekly, before giving up.
Many openly complained or cursed the king or fortune or bemoaned the inconvenience, but none managed to do anything about it.
After several days, a peasant came along on his way into town. He did not turn away from the boulder, but, instead, strained and strained, trying to push it out of the way.
He was unsuccessful, but, then, an idea came: He scrambled to the woods to find something he could use for leverage. Finally, he turned with a large branch he had crafted into a lever and deployed it to dislodged the massive rock from the road.
Beneath the rock were a purse of gold coins and a note from the king, which said:
The obstacle in the path becomes the path. Never forget, within every obstacle is an opportunity to improve our condition.
Here's what I take from this story:
The first step is to get CLEAR on what exactly is in the way.
When we know what it is, we reduce it from a formless, subversive, black cloud that follow us everywhere we go, to a specific rock that stands in the way of the path (to which we can then apply our creative brilliance).
So I'm curious:
What's in your way?
Fear? Resources? Time? Age? Confusion? Distraction? _________ ?
Many of us are conditioned by the positive thinking movement to only focus on the positive. We get very comfortable with saying our big dreams over and over but not mustering the courage to get clear about what's blocking us.
This keeps us safe and prevents us from bridging the gap between where we are and where we want to be.
Getting honest and clear about obstacles can ignite rapid momentum.
Here are 4 Steps to turn Obstacles into Possibility:
1. Identify a goal/dream
2. Get curious about the obstacle(s) that is in the way
3. Use your creativity to create an innovative way to move through this obstacle (there are many ways to do this, but it usually begins with a shift in perspective)
4. Ask yourself what small and specific action can I take THIS WEEK to support my strategy?
If you want to get nerdy and look at some research behind this - take a look at Dr. Gabriele Oettigen's work.
But I have an instinct that just getting curious about your own process can catalyze flow and progress.
As Dan Sullivan, entrepreneurial expert writes: All those things that oppose our goals are actually the raw material for achieving them.
I'd love to hear about how this resonates with you as you consider:
How might the obstacle in your path BECOME your path?
May you discover new ways of seeing and hidden possibilities.
Here's to your success, and talking sweetly to yourself as you go. I believe in you,
A little book of inspiration, frameworks, and guidance for your next creative project.