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Secrets of Success

The Recipe for Overcoming Obstacles

Facing an obstacle right now?

It could be a problem with a difficult boss, coworker or client/customer.

It might be a conflict you’re having difficulty resolving in your personal life.

Whatever the situation, there are ways to effect positive change.

Below are some practical ideas.



Get Busy Imagining Solutions

Your ability to solve your problems is limited by little more than your imagination and creativity.

A problem, after all, is little more than a situation in need of a solution. Most of us are problem–solving “machines.”

Throughout the day we solve both large (“How do I tactfully navigate a touchy policy decision at work?”)

and small (“What will I have for lunch?” “What job am I going to do next?”) problems.

We are constantly (consciously and unconsciously) imagining and implementing solutions.



Consider Every Idea or Option

Confidence is a function of the messages we give ourselves about what we believe is doable or possible.

And confidence is, in part, a byproduct of options.

The more options you create the more confident you will be.

The next time you have a problem you’re trying to solve, list ALL your options–even options you probably wouldn’t use.

Just knowing you could do something even if you choose not to will give you a feeling of being in control.


Substitute Curiosity for Limiting Emotions (Especially Fear, Worry and Resignation)

When we have difficulty coming up with a solution, we can become frustrated and reactive.

This activates our lower brain—the part of the brain that protects us and keeps us alive but is

simply not capable of sophisticated problem solving.

For that to happen, we need a little more “brain power.”

We need the upper brain.

Becoming curious triggers the upper brain—the part of the brain that allows us to plan and imagine possibilities.

Become curious and you’ll “turn down” the reactive part of your brain and activate the

responsive, problem-solving part of the brain.


Don’t Assume an Idea Won’t Work

Assumptions cut off options, and options are often the key to success.

To learn more about options, read my June 2016 post, A World of Assumptions


Be Bold

As we age we become more risk aversive.

We avoid the new and unfamiliar.

Overcoming obstacles may involve being bold and trying something new.

Doing so may not only help you solve the problem but will also cause you to stretch and grow as a person.


Ask for Help

Nothing of consequence was ever accomplished alone.

Get input and ideas from others.

Call people you normally don’t call.

Reach out to people you normally wouldn’t consider.

Many hands make light work.

You never know who might have that one great idea you’ve been looking for.


Ask Questions You Normally Don’t Ask.

Asking questions is a great way to stimulate ideas.

In life, you get the answers to the questions you ask.

Sometimes, however, the questions we are asking don’t give us answers.

When that happens do not assume there is no answer.

Ask a different question.


Get All Naysayers and Negative People “Out of the Room” and “Out of Your Head.”

 Negative people do little more than waste your time and drain your energy.

Their doom and gloom scenarios are exhausting.

It takes enough energy to solve a problem without spending time on what would or would not

happen if the problem wasn’t solved.

Move quickly past people who tell you what you can’t do and what won’t work; and don’t talk to

them again when you’re trying to solve a problem.


Surround Yourself with Positive, Solution-Oriented People

 Just as negative people drain energy, positive solution-oriented people energize us.

When attempting to overcome an obstacle surround yourself with these possibility thinkers.

Talk to them if you feel discouraged.

Their positive mind set might be just what you need to keep working toward a solution.


Be Relentless

Remember when you face an obstacle or problem you’re simply dealing with a situation in need of a solution.

Be relentless pursuing solutions.

Go through each idea until you have exhausted your list of options.

If you still don’t have an answer, take a deep breath—and come up with more ideas.

Keep doing this until you either run out of time (which will happen sometimes) or have success.

Repeat any of the aforementioned suggestions as needed.



Obstacles may at times seem daunting, but with the right tools and strategies

they can become opportunities for personal and professional growth.

Some of the suggestions you have read will resonate.

Use the ideas that make sense to you.

Combining some of these ingredients could be just the recipe you need to overcome your next obstacle.

2 Comments to “The Recipe for Overcoming Obstacles”

  1. What a wonderful article…very positive, thank you!

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