Every day we are faced with obstacles or obstructions to our path. Sometimes these obstacles are small, maybe the bus is a few minutes late, or you spill your coffee and have to clean up the mess. Sometimes they are more significant. Someone lets you down and your project misses a deadline, your car breaks down, or even worse, a relationship breaks down.
At this point, it is easy to give in to frustration. These obstacles can be annoying at best, emotionally devastating at worst. But hiding from them or allowing frustration to govern our decisions makes a difficult situation worse.
No matter the crisis, big or small, one thing remains - how you choose to react. And it is a choice. How we display our emotions in these situations is a choice we make every day. Whether directed outwards at someone or something, or inwards towards ourselves and our very character. Negative emotions, like frustration, anger, contempt or just annoyance make things worse. But it is important to realise that you are not your emotions, and you are not at their mercy.
Choose to see positivity in the obstacles in your path. Choose to see the opportunities they deliver. The bus is late? This means a few minutes more of fresh air in the peace and quiet before entering the hustle and bustle of the commute and then the office. Missed a deadline? This is an important learning opportunity for yourself and your team for the next deadline. Relationship break down? Choose to see the situation from the perspective of love and forgiveness, rather than anger and regret.
What obstacles have you experienced today? This week? How did you deal with them? Changing your mindset around these doesn’t have to be difficult. Being prepared is the best defence. Start each day by thinking about what obstacles you might face, and for each one think about how you would like to deal with them. When an obstacle is placed in your path, take a few deep breaths before taking any action. Recognise the emotions you are feeling. Then think about the problem from a different perspective. Ask yourself what positive things can come about from this. And more importantly, what opportunities can arise through dealing with the obstacle in a calm and positive way.
These obstacles are gifts. They teach us resilience. As human beings, we can only be negatively affected by them if we allow it. Face your obstacles and see them for what they are - fuel to your Wonder Women fire!
“Our inward power, when it obeys nature, reacts to events by accommodating itself to what it faces - to what is possible… it turns obstacles into fuel. As a fire overwhelms what would have quenched a lamp. What’s thrown on top of the fire is absorbed, consumed by it - and makes it burn still higher.” Meditations, Marcus Aurelius.
The Obstacle is the Way: The Ancient Art of Turning Adversity to Advantage by Ryan Holiday
Meditations: A New Translation (Modern Library) by Marcus Aurelius
We Are All Wonder Women is an international movement for female conservation professionals to be inspired, connected, and empowered to create an authentic, fulfilling and happy career.