Note: Following these five strategies is a different kind of content sheet…a word search puzzle. Locate the words listed in the puzzle by following the directions. You will find words that represent many more strategies for breaking barriers you encounter along your success journey.
Your success journey. We travel along our “road to success” throughout our lives. Just what does this mean to you…your road to success? Its meaning is unique to you. I cannot define your journey to success. I cannot define what success looks like or is like or means to you. Only you can make that determination. What I present here are five strategies for breaking barriers you may encounter on your journey—whatever that journey may be.
1 – Determine your motivation.
One of the worksheets I have you complete in my goal-setting workshops asks the motivation behind each goal you define. Defining goals is a first step for your success journey. Determining why the goal is important to you is another step. Only you can motivate yourself to achieve your goal. You must determine what is your motivation in order to motivate yourself. While this may seem like a “duh!” concept (a very obvious concept), many goal-setting seminars that I’ve attended overlook this step. When you reach a barrier along your success journey, you must be clear as to why you are on your journey. Very clear. If you lack clarity about your motivation, you will be easily distracted from overcoming that barrier. You compromise your forward movement on your journey.
2 – Ask for assistance.
Now that global positioning systems (GPS) are commonplace, we no longer stop for directions when we are lost. Yet there is seldom a GPS for our success journey. Every step of our journey is manual rather than automated. When we encounter a detour along our way, we have to make our own determination as to our next step. Sometimes the next step is not so obvious to us because we are too deeply mired in our situations. We need support networks to help us throughout our success journey. The people in our network encourage us, challenge us, tell us things we do not want to hear yet need to hear, offer alternatives, and otherwise assist us when we ask. As difficult as it might be for some of us to do so, to overcome barriers, sometimes we just have to ask.
3 – Improve your ability.
An oft-quoted success mantra is “when you put your mind to it you can do it”. I say that ability also fits into the equation. My father used to encourage me by telling me I could do anything I wanted to do. I learned that this was not as simple as it sounded. While his intent was to keep me from limiting my thinking and myself, I also learned that hard work—and many times, a lot of learning and skill building—went into my being able to do anything I wanted to do. Occasionally I had to admit that while I COULD learn to be a surgeon, being squeamish about blood and guts other than what I see in horror movies just might inhibit me from that goal even if I pursued the required training. For the goals that ARE “limitless”, however, the more I learn and grow in those areas, the more I improve my abilities to perform, take alternative paths, and still achieve my goals. When we continually improve ourselves, we knock down barriers that threaten to stop us on our journeys.
4 – Prepare and practice.
How does a person become a champion in her or his field? Preparation, and practice, practice, and more practice. Stretching before exercising. Hydrating before hiking. Learning before doing. Tuning before playing an instrument. I could go on and on. The most vivid example of preparation and practice to overcome obstacles is that of rescue workers. A person trained to perform dangerous rescue maneuvers actually performs such maneuvers a small fraction of their time. Their remaining time they spend waiting. They “wait” by preparing themselves with every detail imaginable, and then they practice what they trained to do. Repeatedly they fine-tune their preparation and they practice their routines. When it is time to jump to action—to face the emergency (or problem)—they do so “without thinking”. Facing and overcoming situations is part of their very being because they hyper-prepare and practice for the situations. The lesson we can take from rescue workers is to prepare ourselves—with knowledge, skills, and success attitudes—and to practice implementing all that we prepare so that when we face barriers along our journeys we work through or around them…“without thinking”.
5 – Keep taking action.
Every now and then, we hit that barrier that seems insurmountable. We know our motivation. We ask for help. We improve ourselves. We prepare and practice. Yet that barrier is just large enough to stop us in our tracks. It seems we are just not destined to reach “that” goal. Then what? What alternative do we have other than quitting? Well, perhaps “that goal” to be achieved in “that way” in which we first determined is not to be. Yet if we adjust our goal and / or the path we must take to achieve it, we just might get close enough to “be successful” anyway. Our biggest challenge is to keep at it; to keep taking action. I don’t mean blindly continue to work at something. I mean analyze what stops us, make adjustments, and intelligently take action. When we stop, we have little chance to succeed. When we keep taking action, we move ahead. Sometimes it means moving sideways; sometimes a few steps back; yet overall we make progress. Detours still get us to our destinations.
Your Success Journey
Define your destination—what is your success journey? Understand your motivations. Enlist your support network to help you through your journey. Engage in life-long learning and self-improvement practices. Prepare yourself and practice the success strategies that will get you to your goal. Evaluate your results along the way and adjust your strategies and actions accordingly. Keep taking action. Rest at times, but don’t stop. Barriers arise to be broken.
CLICK HERE (or on the barrier) for the PDF version of this article PLUS the word-search puzzle!