It's 7.55am on a Sunday morning. I have a lecture at the FILEX fitness convention that begins at 9am and I NEED to catch the 7.56am train in order to get there on time. As I park the car and run up to the train station I see the train pull up. My stress levels rise and I run to the ticket booth to purchase my ticket. My hands are shaking as I fumble around in my wallet trying to find the correct money. I finally receive my ticket and the station guard announces "stand clear, doors closing". My heart races. I sprint down the stairs. I am only half way down and the train doors begin to close. "Stop!" I cry...but it was too late. The train takes off and I am left there, standing alone on the train platform.
I looked up at the monitor and the next train is due to come in another 26 minutes. 26 minutes! The lecture only goes for an hour - this means that I would arrive half way through. My blood was absolutely boiling because of this. This is a convention I invested many hundreds of dollars into and I was going to miss a lecture because I missed a train by a matter of seconds! But then I stopped and took a step back. I thought about the situation - I was not going to let a train that I missed stop me from arriving at this lecture on time. Then I asked myself - HOW can I still make this lecture? Hang on a second, I still have an hour to make it there. I can drive there in 40 minutes! All of a sudden a sense of relief came over me - I jumped in my car and actually arrived there 10 minutes early.
Obstacles are everywhere in life. From missing the train to our everyday fitness endeavors, we are bound to come across bumps in the road from time to time. They come in many shapes and forms. But just as every pancake, no matter how flat, has two sides - similarly every obstacle can be seen in two ways - as a challenge or as a set-back. Whilst I am not here to trivialize the challenges we can face in life, often it's a simple case of a glass half-empty or half-full - we are all ultimately responsible for our own actions and how we tackle such incidents.
During my BodyBlitz challenge I faced a number of obstacles. One very common one seemed to be others trying to discouraging me from achieving my goals. I remember announcing that I was going to get a six-pack and ultimately win the BodyBlitz competition. You would not believe the responses I would receive - anything and everything from sniggering right through to people outright telling me that I'm dreaming. Such a situation can be seen in two ways. Firstly I could have seen this as a set-back, been discouraged by what these other people thought and continued my old lifestyle because others didn't believe in me. Ultimately had I have done this, I would have been a sheep, following the leads of many other people just because of their own inability to achieve their own aspirations. But instead, I treated this as a challenge. It didn't matter to me whether or not they believed in me - it only mattered that I believed in myself. So this was "fuel for the fire" so to speak. Every time I even remotely considered slacking off I reminded myself that I was going to prevail - and that's exactly what I did.
Now more recently I came down with a gastroenteritis bug and had to stick to sipping on Gatorade for a couple of days - simply because I could not stomach any solid food. Most of us will get sick at one time or another, often not at the best of times. Particularly in the fitness industry, getting sick can be very frustrating and can lower our fitness levels that we have worked so hard to establish. So as a result of this sickness, I was completely out of action for 3 entire days. But apart from that, I practically starved my body for 2 days straight - imagine the amount of strength and muscle mass I could have lost, not to mention my decreased cardiovascular fitness levels! Again, the obstacle is two fold. I could treat this as a set-back - I could become very frustrated, throw the towel in and ultimately be responsible for my own demise. But think about the big picture - it's only a relatively minor sickness - in the grand scheme of things is it really going to matter? Of course not! Instead, I took these 3 days off and completely relaxed both mentally and physically. This was a legitimate reason for me to take a break and so I embraced it. By looking at the obstacle from such a positive angle I now feel more motivated to get back into my life and approach it with more passion and motivation than ever!
I think many of us don't use obstacles to our advantage. I know that I for one never used to. A perfect example was my chronic fatigue back in my teenage years - I would always use this as an excuse not to perform to the best of my ability. But if we want to be successful in our lives and be the absolute best we can possibly be, we need to learn how to approach these barriers in our lives and absolutely blow them out of the water. Below are some critical aspects to consider:
Always plan your goals. Make them very specific. Very importantly, make them realistic - but ensure that they present a challenge to you so you don't lose interest. If you know exactly what you want to achieve by a particular time, this will keep you on track and accountable.
PLAN AND RE-PLAN
How are you going to achieve these goals? Now that you have them all written down - make a plan. When your plan is all down on paper, follow through with it! Most likely obstacles will come in some shape or form. If such an obstacle is going to affect your current plan and goals - modify them!
Our world is not a static place. Change is always occurring. You need to be flexible in your way of thinking. If an obstacle presents itself to you - adapt to it. Work around the obstacle - not against it!
ASK HOW - NOT WHY
Don't dwell over challenges in your life. Yes, you could cry in a corner asking why this had to happen to you. But instead you could ask yourself how you are going to tackle the problem and emerge victorious.
YOU ARE IN CONTROL
Always remember that you are in the drivers seat of your own life. Obstacles will appear - but obstacles don't control you - you control those obstacles. By doing this you will become a stronger person and realise that you ultimately hold the power to your own life.