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Posted March 8, 2022

The word is: OBSTACLE

Definition: Per Merriam Webster Dictionary: “something that impedes progress or achievement”

My Story on Obstacle:

The focus of this week’s story was staring me in the face while I was taking a walk last week. I hope the message behind the word “obstacle” inspires and motivates you.

About fifteen minutes into my walk, I noticed, coming from the opposite direction, four mini packs of twelve to fifteen-year-olds on their way home from Middle School. They were equally poised, walking single file with their heads down and focused entirely on the glow of their cell phone screens. This being 2022, I assumed they shared a sense of urgency to consume every morsel of whatever emails, Instagram messages, TicTok videos, or calls they had missed while at school that day. They seemed oblivious to anything around them, including me.

Further assessing the situation, I acknowledged the likelihood that two people walking towards each other on a narrowly plowed sidewalk (the result of an eight inch snowstorm just days before) would surely collide. Put another way, there was no swerve room on this sidewalk and only a slim chance that any of the pack were going to look up from their phones, in time to avoid bumping into me. The decision fell on me to change course or absorb the consequences of a minor head-on collision. I could have crossed the street, but curiosity got the better of me, so I kept moving forward to see how this would play out.

Whether it was the sound of my boots on the pavement or the other person’s sense that something was closing in on her personal space, I found myself face to face with a member of the pack. To my surprise, I was met with a genuine sense of remorse from this young woman, as she looked up from her cell phone and uttered the words “Oops, I’m so sorry”. My curiosity was satisfied and a collision was averted.

This was, for all intents and purposes, an innocent example of an “obstacle” of daily life, that carries the message that although we can’t control other people’s behaviors we can control how we respond to them. We can hit them head-on or change course and navigate away from them. In hindsight, I could easily have crossed the street to avoid the possibility of contact, but maybe by not changing my behavior, I inspired this Middle Schooler to change hers. Think of it this way, had I changed course and crossed the street, her next collision might result in serious or even grave consequences. Imagine this young woman face down, lost in her cell phone screen, while driving in a car and this time not looking up in time.

Obstacles aren’t always recognizable. We tend to fall into habits and behaviors and accept that certain obstacles are just a part of life. We may believe that the way things have been is the way they will always have to be. What I would encourage you to do is allow yourself to step back, see how a certain obstacle is impeding or holding you back from achieving your goals, and consider how best to change course. You could remove yourself from the situation or you could see if your behavior might affect a positive change in someone else. It takes time and effort to make a change. If it’s something you truly want, the time and effort taken is well worth it. My message is to make informed choices, remove any obstacles in the way of your progress or achievements and metaphorically, to always do your best to get home safely.

If you have an obstacle stopping you from progressing or achieving in life, it might be time to talk to a Life Coach. I hope you’ll reach out to me. Thank you for reading my blog and for checking back in next week when the word will be BREATHE.

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