Author, Dr Sarah Edelman in Change Your Thinking, 2012, says that when we look at the obstacles that prevent us from getting what we want, they fall into two main categories- psychological and logistical.
These stem from the realities of the situation
For example :
- Limited time to do all that is needed,
- Insufficient funds,
- Low energy as a result of stress, illness or lifestyle,
- Needs of others such as family or work commitments,
- Conflicting goals that require us to prioritise goals even further,
- Lack of skills or experience.
These stem from our thoughts, feelings and attitudes
- Unclear of what the we want from a career, or poorly defined goals,
- Fear or can’t deal with or embrace uncertainty,
- Complacency and natural tendency to maintain current routines,
- Lack of self discipline leading to frustration when things don’t go as we planned,
- Loose site of goals and get side tracked by other demands,
- Low self efficacy and lack of confidence,
- Poor planning leading to an inability to achieve goals.
“Psychological obstacles, such as lack of confidence, fear of failure or criticism, inertia and low frustration tolerance, are often the most challenging of all. In addition, we need to confront logistical obstacles, such as other people’s needs, and lack of time, money, energy or skills. Although different, the two types of obstacles are interrelated. Confronting our psychological obstacles can clear the way for solving logistical problems.”
Once we’re clear about what’s stopping us, we need to plan strategies to overcome them.
Logical obstacles require us to think about what’s in the way and work out strategies that can enable us to move forward. Most of these problems will have a possible solution and our approach will depend on our circumstances and available resources.
What solutions can you apply when exploring logical obstacles to a side project or our careers more generally?
· What can you live without to save money for your side project?
· What new routine do you need to find time for your side project?
· Who do you need to gain agreement from to undertake a side project?
· What do you need to do differently?
· Which goals do you need to prioritise to make the side project happen?
While it may appear that the solutions to obstacles are the hard part, for many of us, follow through and persevering through the obstacles is the most difficult.
Psychological obstacles require us to look deeper at the underlying reasons for our resistance to change, or our approach to risk and fear. As with many of the themes explored in the Career Redesign Program, observing our inner state will provide an answer to why we behave as we do. In some cases we may need to challenge our thoughts and beliefs, particularly those that limit us and keep us stuck.
Dr Sarah Edelman believes “when we look at negative cognitions, we can often see the lack of logic in our thinking, and the beliefs that can be challenged. Our next step is to write statements that directly challenge our limiting beliefs… The process of writing and reading over these statements helps to increase motivation by challenging the cognitions that keep us stuck”.
Write a To Do List
If you’re stuck starting on your career design side project or the next steps, start with a weekly ‘to do list’. Include in this list the tasks that you plan to do each day as part of your side project. See how good you feel when you begin to cross off items each day.
Make the tasks realistic and create sub goals when the task requires breaking it down into chunks to make it more manageable. If you don’t achieve the goals, reflect on the reasons why and go back and re-examine the obstacles and your approach to overcoming them.