Regardless of ‘rightness’ or ‘wrongness,’ I have never met an entrepreneur who didn’t run into obstacles on the way to fulfilling his or her purpose. And honestly? Often the bigger the obstacle they face, the result they achieve is the most amazing.

Obstacles (aka challenges) are what boosts our mental, emotional and creative muscles

They help us perfect our products, our systems, our teams. Yet one of the worst mind traps we can fall into is how we think about obstacles – as something to be avoided or overcome as quickly as possible! We see them as signs that we’re on the wrong path, that we should consider doing something different. But these perspectives will only leave us stuck.

One of my biggest obstacles in business and in life is OCD. Not Overly Creative Disorder which I’ve mentioned before, but the real deal: Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. I blamed OCD a lot for how my life was going, or should I say, not going. This inner struggle went on for many years. But when I stepped back and took a look, it actually kept me unstuck in a lot of different ways. It made me focus more when I talked to people, so I became a terrific listener. I also had so much compassion for what people were going through. I was clear that I had no idea what was happening for them over in their worlds because no one had a clue about what was happening for me in my world.

When I stepped back, I began to see my OCD as a gift, an opportunity to make a difference; rather than being a problem, the obstacle is my destiny.

People who really play the game of life, who remain unstuck, learn to relish obstacles

Obstacles don’t have to be as dramatic or as big as OCD. They’re anything you THINK is standing in the way of you achieving what you want. We face obstacles every day. We can choose to give up, or by staying in the present, we can choose what is most important to us, and get ahead.

An obstacle is not to be feared, but embraced

Here’s a sports analogy to make my point. (I know, I’m quite impressed that I can come up with a sports analogy.)

Our Wasabi Publicity team is made up of a bunch of adrenaline junkies! How cool is that? Shannon, our CFO, may be the craziest.

He has several hobbies that a ‘normal’ person would deem as insane. Kayaking tops the list. He paddles class V rivers – and for those of you who don’t know what that means, basically it’s the equivalent of throwing yourself off a waterfall. When he’s kayaking, the river is full of obstacles where he could get stuck. Some rapids are full of rocks and hydraulics (which is a technical term and I don’t know what it means either) that can beat up even the best of navigators. The way he looks at the river and the way that a new kayaker would look at the river are completely different – because for Shannon, the obstacles for the new kayaker are opportunities for him.

When we feel trapped and things seem impossible, there is no freedom and all our focus is on the obstacles. We try to avoid them. But what we resist, persists. If you plan to get back into the flow of the river, you have to adopt a new mindset and approach all your obstacles like Shannon does, as an integral and exciting part of the whole adventure!