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The 3 Mistakes Made When Dealing with Obstacles (and how to avoid them)

Sep 30, 2023

“If you find a path with no obstacles, it probably doesn’t lead anywhere.

                                                                                       - Frank A. Clark


OBSTACLES are an inevitable part of the human experience.  They come in many forms; manifesting as health issues, financial struggles, relationship difficulties and overall roadblocks on our path to achieving our goals and desires.


Interestingly, much of our progress in today’s world is derived from our quest to deal with obstacles and overcome them in the easiest and most efficient ways possible. 


Look only as far as our modern-day technologies from the automobile and airplanes in travel to laptop computers and today’s smartphones in the worlds of business and communication and you can directly follow a path to their development originating as a means to deal with a problem or obstacles in our daily lives.


The irony for me is that although we spend so much time developing strategies, processes, and technologies to deal with obstacles, it is the overcoming of these obstacles that brings us the greatest joy, fulfillment, and purpose in our lives. 


It is my guess that when most of us look at the times in our lives that we are most proud of ourselves and feel the greatest degree of satisfaction is when we, against sometimes insurmountable odds, overcame obstacles and landed triumphantly on the other side.


For over four decades, I have witnessed countless students overcome obstacles to achieve fulfillment and success in my role as a martial arts master instructor.  Seeing a student be confronted by their own personal limitations on their road to Black Belt and then witness their transformation in overcoming these obstacles is an absolute gift and inspires me still in doing my work.


Now, in my work as a professional speaker and life-leadership coach, this continues. 


I believe the lessons learned from these mistakes on the path through obstacles, while sometimes painful, can serve as the most valuable of gifts while on our breakthrough journey.


Here are the three major mistakes that my clients and students (and I) have made when dealing with obstacles and how to avoid them and/or learn from them.




They Don’t Create a Solid Foundation

In martial arts it is said that a Black Belt is nothing more than the "master of the basics".


I have found that following a series of daily positive practices creates a solid foundation from which we can deal with obstacles when they confront us in our lives.  When we follow positive practices before challenges arise, we then have a solid foundation of empowering skills to prepare us for the challenges of each day and fall back on and support us when times are tough. 


For me, the best time to engage in these practices first thing in the morning, when my mind is clear and alert, and my heart is open to intentionally creating the day I want to experience.


Here are six practices I follow each day to support and strengthen my way of being that I call the 6 M’s of Morning Mastery.

  • Meditation - Begin each day taking some time to be in the quiet.  Allow your mind to be still and listen for the inspiration that is always there for us.
  • Mind Treatment - Set the intentions of your day by positively affirming what you want to create for the day and in your life.
  • Mental Imaging - Spend time visualizing what you want to create for the day and beyond.  Don't stop at just the mental picture, but actually feel what it is like to receive what you desire.  Make it positive and uplifting. I always remember what one of my teachers once told me, "if you are going to fantasize, you might as well win."
  • Movement - This doesn't have to be 2 hours at the gym.  It just has to be simple activities that get your body moving like stretching, walking or calisthenics.  Our bodies were designed to move.
  • Motivation - Read something inspirational, positive or uplifting that will set your mind in a positive frequency for the day ahead.
  • Memoirs - Take some time to journal your thoughts.  Ask yourself questions and then allow your mind to flow and provide you with the answers.  You'll be surprised by the wisdom that is inside of you.

What daily foundational routines do you practice each day to make sure you are focused and in your power?


They Don’t Control Their Inner Voice

In martial arts, the “spirit yell” or Ki Hap is used as mean of generating additional focus and power in our strikes.  This explosion of voice and breath helps us to generate power we oftentimes did not know even existed within ourselves.


However, the greatest use of our voice comes in the way of not only our verbal language, but importantly, the conversations that are having on inside of our own minds and what we are continuously telling ourselves.  Most often, these come in the way of our worry, anxiety, and negative inner dialogue.


A study in the book called The Worry Cure, by Dr. Robert Leahy, PhD, found that 85% of things we worry about never happen


I know what you are thinking, “But, 15% did.” 


However, of the 15% that did occur, study participants said that 79% of those times either were a) not as bad as they thought they’d be OR b) they were happy they occurred because they learned from them. 


As a result, 97% of the things worried about either never happened or weren’t as bad as they thought they’d be.  This leads to the questions……..

  • How would you live your life if you knew this to be true?
  • What conversations would you have?
  • What risks would you take?
  • What adventures or dreams would you embark upon NOW? 

What is your inner voice is telling yourself each day to ensure you are your best and most empowered self?


They Don’t Have a Plan to Deal with Obstacles

How many times in your life have you gotten just to the precipice of having a breakthrough and then fell short because, yet another obstacle arose to get you off track?  


This may happen because we lose momentum, hesitate right at the final moment, or create distractions that keep us from facing our fears and moving out of our comfort zones to our desired goals. 


One key to moving through any obstacle is to be prepared for when they occur.  In her book, Rethinking Positive Thinking, author Gabrielle Oettingen shares a four-step process for dealing with obstacles BEFORE they arise, so we are ready with a plan of action when they do.  The process is called W.O.O.P. and stands for………

  • Wish - What is your wish for what you want to attract into your life?
  • Outcome - What would the outcome be in your life if you achieved this wish?
  • Obstacle - What is the obstacle that may present itself that would prevent you from getting what you desire?
  • Plan - Probably the most important part of this process, what is your plan for dealing with the obstacle?

Identifying possible obstacles in advance and having a plan for how to deal with them when/if they do arise, allows us to continue moving forward in the direction of our desire, rather than becoming derailed due to not knowing how to deal with those challenges. 


So, there you have it my friends, there are the three mistakes I see people most often make when they are presented with obstacles on the way to breakthroughs. 


What OBSTACLES are you ready to BREAKTHROUGH beginning today? 


If you feel like you are on the verge of breaking through an obstacle to get to where you want to be, but just need some help in making it a reality CLICK HERE to set up a 30-minute discovery call to explore the possibilities.


There is no time like the present to get started. 



Chris Natzke

Black Belt Leadership Speaking & Coaching


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