Common Obstacles and Strategies to Overcome Them
By Kimberly Lynch
As many of us were able to celebrate Easter in person this year instead of via a live stream, it seems fitting to reflect on the year that forced many of us to change course. The buzzword is “pivot”, but what do you do when you change direction and only see a mountain standing in your path?
Nearly three million women have left the workforce since the pandemic hit, and all for very good and noble reasons, many of which include caring for family. As this NY Times article from the fall explains, “women are the shock absorbers of society.” On a more individual level, it’s not easy to shift a lifestyle while the rest of society is simultaneously adjusting to ever-changing mandates. Nevertheless, even if you’ve had to make major adjustments to accommodate this societal shift, you don’t have to give up your dreams and goals pre-pandemic.
Here’s the thing about obstacles: they are not a case of “if”, but “when”. The path of life is full of obstacles, and the overcoming creates resilience, strength, and character. In other words, you need to be prepared mentally to face such challenges and navigate the curves.
Here are some common obstacles and some strategies to overcome them:
I have no time.
When the sudden shift to manage school from home eventually led to my decision to homeschool, I had to grapple with the time limits that come with that lifestyle change. Schooling my kids is a full-time job, and my writing goals had to be adjusted. So I did a time study. I sat down with my weekly planner, and chunked out Monday through Friday down to every hour. In doing so I found 45 minutes here, a half-hour there...when I had totaled the chunks of time I could devote to writing, I had enough to equal a part-time job. I didn’t find a magical chunk of 8 continuous, uninterrupted hours, but finding hours in the cracks helped me to organize my other daily tasks and forced me to work industriously during the small windows of time for writing.
I don’t know how to do that.
Many industries have faced devastating hardship on account of government shutdowns, but there are also just as many industries that have boomed. The trick is figuring out how to learn new skills. In terms of my own blog, I started out being completely unfamiliar with Wordpress. I had little knowledge of social media strategy; I wasn’t even on Instagram. It took networking with other writers, a few online courses, and yes, even simple Google searches and YouTube tutorials for me to feel comfortable with publishing my words on the web. There is so much information available to us in this day and age. Especially during this time of COVID when online learning has burst wide open, you can find ways to teach yourself new skills. If you don’t know how to do something, you CAN find an answer. And if the answer you find reveals a bigger time commitment or a more complicated process than you anticipated, there are just as many ways to find someone who will do that task for you. Whether you learn for yourself or find someone who can take care of it for you, you no longer have to feel helpless because you don’t immediately have the answer.
I’m not ___________ enough.
Stating that you are not at a desired point in your journey is actually a sign of true self-awareness, honesty, and maturity. However, it can also become a paralyzing statement that is rooted in perfectionism. First and foremost, relying on a growth mindset takes practice. Secondly, and more practically, consider hiring a coach or mentor who will teach you new strategies and who will help you stay accountable. If you can’t hire a coach, find a trusted friend or colleague who will serve as an accountability partner. I continue to write because I know it’s going to help me grow. I’m learning how to network, I’m practicing a useful skill, I’m exploring different platforms to share my words. Even if I don’t publish a NY Times Bestseller, working towards my goals is always worth it. Because I WILL make progress. Doing anything is better than nothing. But more importantly, I will have learned, and that’s far more valuable than hiding behind an unattainable perfectionist anxiety.
This is the time to take a chance on your dreams, to listen to the whisperings of the Holy Spirit. If there’s a flame in your heart, fan it! It may not look like you had originally envisioned, but it can still generate light and warmth in a dark world.