When you have an idea to accomplish something, what stands in your way? Is it someone else or is it you? Do you defeat yourself before giving yourself a chance?
Well, today I was listening to Brooke Castillo's podcast from the Life Coach School about obstacle thoughts. I want to share it with all of you because it is a perspective that may resonate with you. She emphasizes the point that even before we embark on bringing an idea to fruition, the brain starts by considering all the reasons we won't be able to fulfill that possibility. The brain even goes so far as to find evidence to validate what she terms, obstacle thoughts. An obstacle thought is a thought that produces a result that is contrary to what you want.
For example. in order to start my business, I need to set up an online store. The brain starts listing reasons why that can't happen. I'm not good at technology. I've never done it before. I don't have the time to learn. I don't have anyone that can help me learn. The reasons can be many.
After these obstacle thoughts arise, we then seek evidence to validate those thoughts. I look at someone else's online store and identify the complexities of it and conclude I am right, this is too difficult to do. Rather than challenging myself to produce a solution for the challenge(s) I may face in accomplishing my goal, the obstacles block the will to be solution oriented. Self-defeat is the result.
We are our biggest obstacle in many cases; Castillo says nobody doubts us more than our own brain. It's true, right? No one is sitting around thinking about you as much as you are, let alone the possibilities and details of you reaching your own goals.
When the brain goes into that mode of listing the reasons why something hasn't happened and why it can't happen, those obstacles need to be given some consideration to ground us in reality. She points out that alternatively to not consider the challenges and obstacles of an endeavor can leave us living in a fantasy. We don't want to do this either. Disregarding the reality of things won't help us to achieve our goals.
In order to accomplish a goal we have to overcome the obstacles that stand between where we are now and where we want to get to. In the process of bridging that gap, her point is, you don't want to be the one that hinders you from crossing the bridge because of your own thoughts. We all know we can be products of our own thinking.
So what's the solution to this all too common behavior?
1. Write down the obstacle thoughts. This isn't a process that can be reasoned in the head because the brain is the problem so we have to see it external to the thoughts and recognize we are not wedded to it.
2. After you see it on paper, turn the thought into a strategy that counters the negative thinking (i.e. a solution).
3. Keep revisiting the strategy and the new way of thinking to achieve the result.
Castillo emphasizes that you can't get new results without changing your thinking.
I've found through initiation that all the inner work needed for self-transformation, like changing old habits, especially perspectives and ways of thinking, is some of the most grueling work. It is also some of the most rewarding work when you start to see how your perspective shift brings new outcomes.
Just as my initiation taught me, Castillo also speaks of change being the path of greater resistance. Embracing things that are difficult is not necessarily desirable or comfortable but is needed for positive growth.
This is the first time I listened to the Life Coach School podcast so I can't testify to the value of her podcast in general but here is the link to this particular podcast on obstacle thoughts that I found very helpful. Check it out!: