I don’t usually sit at my computer allowing my mind to dictate keystrokes into the words that become a story about us. Today is different because I was inspired by another writer. I recently read "How to Become and Overnight Success", My five-year journey from "nobody" to "somebody", written by Ayodeji Awosika.
That’s a thought-provoking title. Don't you think? It caught my eye. You see, I’m on a new journey myself. Let me catch you up from the past to now. I resigned from Corporate America in March of 2018 and opened my own business. I studied at Duke Integrative Medicine to become a Certified Integrative Health Coach. My goal is to help people achieve the best version of themselves in health, life and work.
Before a coaching session, you would fill out a questionnaire and decide on your key focus area. There are several sub-categories. But the three key categories generally fall into health, life and work. Clients often focus on nutrition, weight loss, relationships or their professional lives. Sometimes clients get stuck in traffic; proverbial traffic jams. They can't seem to get where they want to go because of obstacles.
That’s what I’m doing now. Sitting in a traffic jam of to dos. It's easy to get frustrated and it's not easy to know if you should exit or stay on course. What do I do first? Blog? Set up supporting social media posts? Finish the course content? Build customer relationships and email lists? Hone target markets? How would "I" find the time to fill out a questionnaire about my well-being, let alone take the time to pick a key focus area? I’ll tell you how, prioritization.
We all have so many things to do and roles to play, but we need to take care of ourselves first. That's how we get and maintain the energy to supercharge the rest of our lives.
What does this have to do with Ayodeji Awosika's story about how he went from "nobody" to "somebody" in five years? Everything.
He didn't state the obvious, but his life continued while he was honing his writing skills. In other words, he likely got stuck in the well-known traffic jams of life many times over. Imagine all the back-staging tasks required over that 5-year period. Ayodeji was overcoming obstacles and learning from his experiences for 1,825 days to his success.
We all continue this thing called life while simultaneously trying to accomplish our goals. And frankly, life can get in the way. What do we do when challenges impede our progress? How do we navigate obstacles? We embrace and persist.
Let's talk about embracing first. I don't mean run up to the challenge like it's a long-lost friend. It's difficult to embrace obstacles in that way. We want them to go away. The problem is most of us don't carry around magic wands. For the most part, we all plod through our obstacles. Adding resistance only makes the journey more treacherous and exhausting.
Embracing and accepting obstacles doesn't mean we like that they are in our lives. It means we are aware of their presence. We are aware of the impact they have in our life. We devote time and energy into that awareness and invest in ourselves to weather the storm.
People skilled at this continue to move forward despite challenges. Yes, they might get stuck in traffic, but they don't leave the car on the highway. They stay with it. They persist. They sit still, often not moving an inch. They may get concerned about running out of gas. They might be uneasy about not reaching their destination. But they sit, they wait, and while they wait, they make good use of their time. In the end, the traffic jam clears, and they return to driving at a normal speed.
Building a business or honing a skill, like Ayodeji described, is much like sitting in traffic. We jump in the car and speed off to our destination only to get stopped dead in our tracks. Frustrating, right? I have a few questions for everyone. What if we spent our time rechanneling that frustration? What if we listened to a podcast? Could we learn something new? What if we reflected on the positive things in "that" moment like cherishing our alone time? If we changed our mindset when we got stuck in traffic, how would that feel?
It might feel like making the most out of a traffic jam.
In the end you know that you will return to a normal speed. The highways of life don't stay jammed forever. When you find yourself facing a big obstacle give it a hug and stay in the driver’s seat. After all, you've been stuck in traffic before and you still made it home. It is part of life. Learn more about navigating obstacles in my course, Overcoming Obstacles: Build GRIT, Resilience & Mental Toughness.
Kim Sheldahl, Certified, Integrative Health Coach
Overcoming Obstacles. Build GRIT, Resilience and Mental Toughness