Saturday, 27 July 2013

Overcoming Obstacles to Success


Monika Shaw

Has this ever happened to you? You begin a program, a project, a task or even a diet with the best intentions telling yourself that this is the day you will begin to achieve your goal, then - Pow! An unforeseen setback, roadblock or obstacle hits you that you did not see coming.

We never see these "accidents or obstacles" that come into our lives as anything positive or helpful. We look at them as detours to take us off the path we have committed to be on. It happens to almost everyone at some point in our lives; setbacks, obstacles - whether career, financial, or health-related, obstacles are unavoidable and we find ourselves out of sync with our goal. How do we stay on track? How do we overcome these inconvenient and untimely obstacles that appear unannounced and attempt to keep us from achieving success in the goals we have set?

I have found that the first and most common obstacle that most people can identify with is that many times, there is no clear definition of a goal. This alone can cause you to sabotage your road to success before you even begin. Without a clear goal, a destination to direct your efforts and energy toward, you find that you have created your first obstacle to keep you from achieving success. Clarity of goal is difficult to identify in a few short sentences if you really have no idea what it is that you want to achieve.

Right now, before you continue reading, do this exercise; Think about what it is that you want to achieve. What is that burning desire, that goal you want to achieve? Set your mind to addressing and answering this question. Take the time to write it out, then edit, edit, edit so that you own it in your mind, and can say it clearly in a few short sentences. Doing this forces you to be specific and will remove a lot of external "sidebar goals" that can draw you away from your main focus or objective.

Next, recognize that you may be an obstacle to your success. Do you tend to whitewash some of your negative habits as 'that is just the way I am'? Be honest and realistic with yourself. Identify these habits so that you can watch and recognize them as you set out on your journey toward your goal.

Most people, if you were to ask them would readily agree that fear and doubt are two of the major obstacles that keep them from pursuing their dreams, desires, or their goals. But let us focus beyond that and get more specific.

To help you identify your habits, here are some common obstacles that people face:
  • Lack of focus 
  • Unclear goals 
  • Not knowing where to begin 
  • Procrastination 
  • Interruptions 
  • Lack of self-esteem 
  • Inability to let go 
  • Hoarding (hanging on to everything) 
  • Negative thinking or Negative Self-Talk
Perhaps you may find your habits in the above list, or have different ones - only you know for sure. But is that really true? Sometimes, it is wise to seek outside help from people who truly care about your well-being and success. Ask them to be honest with you and help you identify negative habits, traits, characteristics that impede your ability to achieve your success. This can be difficult if you have a sense of pride, low self-esteem, or think you have all the answers. However, it is also important to make sure that you ask only those individuals that you trust implicitly to give you honest answers.

Once you have identified your list of personal habits or obstacles:
  • Write them down then suggest at least three possible solutions to help you overcome them.
  • Flip the negative trait to find a positive trait or characteristic and begin to train yourself to think and act to implement and reinforce that positive habit.
  • Finally, accept the fact that achieving your goal properly and with successful results will take time.
Overcoming obstacles that have been deeply etched in your life patterns are not going to change overnight. Do not allow negative thinking or negative self-talk to keep you from achieving your goal. Maintain a clearly distilled focus to overcome the identified obstacles will empower you to achieve your goals with success. Keep in mind also that an obstacle can sometimes be the very thing that rivets your from mediocrity, complacency, or the "Freeze Zone" as I call it. When you use an obstacle as a tool to help you overcome a negative characteristic, negative self-talk, or even self-sabotage then it no longer can be your enemy to defeat you. This is a powerful weapon you can utilize to disarm those hindrances that attempt to rob you of your successes. You are a winner and you have everything within you to reach your goal.

About the author:

Founder & First Lady of The Winning Woman Network, Monika Shaw; a CEO over a multi-million dollar company, Entrepreneur,Public Speaker, Trainer, Coach, Breast Cancer Winner, and a mentor to women.

Her passionate vision is for women to be empowered, equipped and released into their talents and gifts to become the success they can be - by giving themselves permission to do so.

From her personal and business experiences, she shares rich wisdom, encouragement and refreshment to the spirits of women who need to hear that they can be who God designed them to be - a Winning Woman! 

An Author, Speaker, Coach, and Mentor to many women over the years, she brings a message of hope, empowerment and the tools to make real the potential each woman has within to be a Winning Woman!

For more information on inviting Monika for Speaking Engagements at your company, convention, retreat, radio or television shows, and training events go to


  1. I don't know what to say, I feel so guilty right now. It's not been easy struggling to overcome procrastination and inability to let go. I'm going to read this over and over again as it's quite helpful and educating. Thank you Graham for this great article!!

    1. I am glad you have found this helpful, Sandra. Keep working on achieving your goals and I know you will get there!

  2. I'm wondering what to do about writing my goal.

    I know I want freedom, independence and prosperity/wealth. I don't know whether it is better to leave this goal as is and possibly have the plan or direction for my life play out on it's own?

    Or should I have a career in mind even though I'm not sure of the plan or outcome? The career would be a dream from when I was a child.

    But maybe life has something much bigger in mind for me?

    1. I am also just starting to write down my goals and I think it helps to be very specific.
      What is your definition of freedom?
      When will you say "Ok now I am free."?
      Prosperity: Is it a number of a salary that you want to achieve?
      Also put a date on it. So it can be measurable, so you can plan actions behind it. If you don't get it on the targeted date you can measure how far you've come and plan another date.
      I don't if it was Graham or Brian Tracy who said: "There are no unachievable goals just unrealistic dates."

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. Hi
    Nice article, congratulation.
    I was wondering what 'hanging on to everything' means here. And how it can be an obstruction to success. Thanks

  5. Great article,
    The hardest thing for me is procratination. And also making time for family and friends. Friends and family have priority over all other goals, but maybe I should consider it. Because I think that sometimes I just have to say no, to become a better me so I can become a better family member or better friend.