The Friday News Minute!


A weekly gem of information you will be using on Monday!


Published by Andrew Sanderbeck

Managing Partner of The People~Connect Institute

Success Begins when People~Connect!


This week in our Friday News Minute we look at overcoming obstacles in our lives. We'll focus on the 4 main challenges that we face in our obstacles, how to identify how each affect us and the actions to take overcome the challenges. 

Sometimes it seems like life is preventing you from achieving your goals. You define your goals right, you make them aligned with you values, you plan the time to work on them and then … something unexpected happens.

This can be anything. Life can be very creative in throwing obstacles on your path. I’ve come to believe that these obstacles are actually a gift of life to you, because they are trying to tell you something. All we need to do is listen, before we go on.

In his famous book The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho touches on this topic as well. One of my favorite quotes from this book is:

Whoever you are, or whatever it is that you do, when you really want something, it’s because that desire originated in the soul of the universe. It’s your mission on earth. And when you want something, the whole universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.

And as true and inspiring as this is, Coelho also says that before you can reach your dream, you will be tested by the very same universe. And besides that test right before reaching his dream, there were many obstacles on the way of the shepherd Santiago as well.

How can we learn from obstacles?

First you need to look at obstacles as tests. They are not there to prevent you from reaching your dream or from achieving your goals. They are there to teach you something about yourself. It is important that you adopt this belief!

I think there are four main challenges in the obstacles we encounter.

Challenge 1: The dream test

Man is so made that whenever anything fires his soul, impossibilities vanish. Jean de la Fontaine

One of the first tests you’ll encounter is about the question whether you are really following your own dream. It happens that we sometimes are fooled by ourselves. We define something as a dream, but in reality it’s not entirely our dream. And when we’re not following our own dreams, whose dreams are we pursuing instead? Right! Someone else’s dreams … either in whole or in part, bot someone else’s dreams nevertheless.

If this happens though, life will throw obstacles at you in a staggering pace. Because life wants you to pursue your own dreams, and will make sure that it does what it can to get you back on track. And it does so by making the realization of the false dream very hard.

How to identify: Ask yourself this question: “How would I really feel if I never accomplished this in my entire life?”. Would it leave you hurting and is this too hard to accept? (hint: You have found the dream, or are very close to it) Or would you accept it, and just formulate something else? (hint: Life’s teaching you a lesson)

The action to take: Reconnect to your personal core values, your personal mission statement or your personal mantra. Visualize your future and redefine your dream. This challenge helped you to uncover another piece of it, now fill in the blanks.

Challenge 2: The priority test

I’ve learned that no matter what happens, or how bad it seems today, life does go on, and it will be better tomorrow. Maya Angelou

If you manage to get past challenge one, you get to the next round: Priority testing. Life has a way to show you how to see your dream and goals in perspective, by showing you what else you need to factor in. If you put your dream as an ultimate top priority, it will throw obstacles at you, related to health (mental or physical), love, family, friends and so on. These are important as well, and can be higher up the priority list.

These topics are often overlooked, partly because they’re ’soft’ and hard to translate into goals, or maybe because they are taken for granted a little bit too easy. Life is trying to teach you that you should pursue your dream, but not regardless!

How to identify: Whenever you’re pushing to get to that goal, something happens. You get ill, your spouse or your children get ill. You lack the energy to get the job done. You suddenly get anxiety attacks.

The action to take: Set your priorities straight. There’s more to life than accomplishing your dream. You need to be fit for purpose to get it done anyway. So take your time to be healthy and relax, take the time to have a family and social life. Living your dream is hardly ever done alone.

Challenge 3: The skills test

Identify the major obstacle that stands between you and your goal and begin today to remove it. Brian Tracy

It may also be that you don’t have the right skills yet, to fully pursue your dream. The obstacles that will arise are those that will call for these skills specifically. Life’s pretty smart when it comes to obstacles.

It’s okay to find out that you don’t have the skills yet. Just don’t give up, but make another plan. What you need to remember here is that learning an essential skill to reach your dream, is working on accomplishing that dream too! You may feel like you’re working on something else, or losing time, but in fact you are setting the stage for success later on.

How to identify: You know that the task at hand is essential to achieving your dream, but you are unable to do it. You’ve thought about other ways to get around the problem, but keep getting back to that skill your missing.

The action to take: Learning a new skill might feel like a mountain to conquer. But my experience is that if that skill is necessary to get closer to fulfilling your dream, learning the skill is not that bad after all. The trick is to get started, so take the first step to learn that skill!

Challenge 4: The commitment test

It is a rough road that leads to the heights of greatness. Seneca

This is the true test. You’ve got it all going: It’s the right dream, you’ve got your priorities straight and you’ve got the skills you need. But…are you ready to do what it takes? Because that’s what life is going to test right now.

It’s going to set a stage where you need to show endurance and perseverance. It’s going to make it hard on you, to test wheter you are man or woman enough to deserve to have your dream fulfilled. This is the time to bite yourself into the matter and push on!

How to identify: You’re certain that you’re not dealing with any of the other three challenges, but there’s a challenge nevertheless. You’re not progressing as fast as you had hoped or planned. Or you find that you may need to take another approach to accomplishing it. Or you may need more funding to take the next step. Or … well any step that needs perseverance actually.

The action to take: Persevere! Make a nice visualization, either imaginary or by creating something that will help you visualize. Make small cuecards that help you remind you what you’re trying to accomplish. These will help you stay focused, when endurance and perseverance are called upon.

Identify the challenge and take appropriate action

Life’s up and downs provide windows of opportunity to determine your values and goals. Think of using all obstacles as stepping stones to build the life you want. Marsha Sinetar

These four challenges have their own lessons to teach. But it is essential to identify what challenge you are dealing with. Only with the right action can you pass. You don’t want to push on (action for challenge 4), when you’re not really pursuing your own dream (challenge 1). And you don’t want to redefine your dream (action for challenge 1), when you find out you don’t have the right skills yet (challenge 3). If you take the wrong action, you are not moving closer to fulfilling your dreams. But if you take the wrong action, most of the time Life will just keep on pushing obstacles on your path.

So when life decides to pull you a trick, and place an obstacle on your path, be grateful! It’s an opportunity to learn something about yourself, and you can consciously choose how to deal with that obstacle. Remember that life is not the opponent. Life wants you to live your dream, and will help you to do just that. It’s good to know that Life’s favorite trick is to challenge you. All we can do is listen and learn.

Author Unknown


Andrew's "The Power of Asking for What You Want -- Jimmy's Secret" Book is now available!

How can a little five-year-old boy change your life? In the book The Power of Asking for What You Want – Jimmy’s Secret not only does Jimmy show you time and time again how a child asks for what he wants, but he also asks for his sister and his mom when they’re afraid to ask for what they want for themselves. The story is set in an undisclosed small town in the Northeastern United States and centers around Jimmy’s family which includes his ten-year-old sister Cynthia (don’t call me Cindy) and his mom, Lynda Chamberlin.

Click to order Andrew's book for yourself, your family and friends and your library collection! "This book will one day be a Hallmark television movie!" - Mario Parra, V.P. Peace Bookstores


See you in California! Andrew Sanderbeck is the featured presenter for the Library Instruction Roundtable (LIRT) at the 2008 American Library Association Conference in Anaheim. His presentation will be on Sunday, June 30th at 10:30 am. in the Anaheim Convention Center, Room 204C. Please stop by and say hi...and stay for his program on How to Avoid Burnout!!