4 Steps to Overcoming Obstacles

posted in: Job Search Strategies | 0

Who hasn’t heard those voices of doubt in their head when trying to reach a goal? Worthwhile goals take time and persistence to achieve them. You WILL encounter obstacles. Like climbing a mountain, achieving goals require some kind of fuel to keep you going. Good old fashioned raisins and peanuts, or GORP, is common fuel for climbers and there is an analog for career design. This GORP will also sustain you when your energy flags and it feels like too much to go on: review your Goals, envision the Outcome of achieving your goal, acknowledge your Resistance or the Reality of your situation, then create a Plan to overcome your resistance. This is a variation of Gabriele Oettingen’s WOOP process, specific to career designers.

The 4 Steps: Goal, Outcome, Resistance, Plan

This is part visualization and part planning, so have a pen and paper at the ready. Start with three deep breaths, with long, slow exhales. Making any significant change in our lives activates our fight-or-flight impulses so slow, deep breathing calms this down so we can think clearly.

  1. What Goal are you trying to achieve? Just spend a few moments thinking about this goal and getting it clear in your head.
  2. Imagine how your life would be if you were to achieve your goal. This would be the Outcome of your career design. Experience this completely, using as many senses as possible. When we imagine things vividly, our brains experience this as if it were really happening. This starts to re-wire our brains to be more open to this outcome. However, if we stopped now, our brains would assume that we already experienced our outcome and research shows that this can diminish our motivation.
  3. What is your internal Resistance to achieving your goal? Think of how you might keep yourself from achieving it, like “I’m too busy” or “I don’t have the skills to do what I want to do” and not external factors like racism, ageism, sexism, or cultural factors. Focus on the things you can actually control. Write down one statement that seems like your biggest internal obstacle to meeting your goal.
  4. Think of a Plan to help you overcome that obstacle. What can you do to overcome your resistance? Ask for help? Schedule time on your calendar to work on it and guard this time with your life? Take a class? What’s the very next step you can take to overcome your resistance? When can you take that step? Whenever you can find the time, remind yourself to do it then and give yourself a nice reward when you’ve completed it (this, perhaps?).
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