Obstacles Exercise

Even when we have a clear vision of our way forward, we can still find ourselves a little lost or stuck on how to move forward.  If so, this exercise might help you gain insights into what’s holding you can and get you moving again.  Don’t forget, you don’t have to go it alone, and you can always reach out to contact me to discuss how coaching might support you on your journey.

What you’ll need

To give this exercise the best chance of success, you’ll need the following:

  • About 40 minutes of time where you’ll be free from interruptions and distractions.
  • Somewhere that is away from where you normally work – so rather than sitting in front of the computer, move to a different room.   Maybe go outside to a garden or park if it feels safe and comfortable.
  • A pen and post-it notes
  • A timer – use your phone but ensure you put it into flight mode first, so you’re not distracted or disturbed

When ready, get comfortable and let’s begin.

Step 1 (5 minutes)

Set a timer for 5 minutes.  Grab a handful of post-it notes.  Start to write out all the things that you believe might be stopping you from moving towards where you want to go or from what you’re trying to achieve – put one obstacle on each post-it.    Some will be obvious, and others less so.  Also, consider what you might be believing about yourself or your abilities which might be stopping you as well.

Step 2 (5 minutes)

To fully connect in with your head, heart and gut, we want to leverage your breath to access and calm your autonomic nervous system.  Take a comfortable seated position and simply breathe steadily and calmly.  Focus on having your ‘in’ and ‘out’ breaths equal in duration – like a sine wave rising and falling for a slow count of five, breathing in and out through your nose.   Do this for about five minutes until you feel confident you’ve got it.   Try and maintain this balanced breathing throughout the remainder of the exercise.  If you’re losing the rhythm, pause for a moment to reconnect with your breath.

Step 3

Place your hand on your heart and ask yourself, “what is it that my heart truly values about where I’m trying to get to or in what I’m trying to achieve?”.  Take a moment to continue your balanced breathing and let whatever answers emerge naturally.  Don’t force it.  If you notice that you’re answering from your head, gently bring yourself back to your heart.

Step 4

When you feel you have an answer, move your hand to your head.  Feel the connection and ask yourself, “What does my head really think about where I’m trying to get to?”.  Again, take a moment to continue your balanced breathing and let whatever answers emerge naturally.

Step 5

When ready, place both hands on your belly to connect with your gut.  Feel them rise and fall with each balanced breath.  Now ask yourself, “what does my gut deeply hunger for about where I’m trying to get to or in what I’m trying to achieve?”.  Give this a little more time and let whatever feelings emerge naturally.

Step 6

Return your hand to your heart and feel the warmth of the connection.  As you do, once more ask your heart, “What now does it truly value about where I’m trying to get to or in what I’m trying to achieve?”.  Again, allow the answer to emerge naturally.

Step 7

Finally, return to your post-it notes.  Evaluate each one in turn and reflect on some of these questions:

  • Which obstacles did I put in my own way? Which are these am I prepared to remove any of these?
  • Which obstacles can I bypass by going a different route?
  • Which obstacle is stopping me the most? Can I break this down into smaller pieces that will make it easier to overcome?
  • What’s the first step that I am now prepared to take it?  What would that look like?  When will I do it?

As you reflect on these questions, rearrange, group and order your post-it notes in a way that feels natural to you.  Use the space around you lay out the post-its. Notice any patterns or common themes.  Remove any that are no longer relevant and adjust any that you can chunk down.

When done, create a new post-it for the first step you have chosen.  Place this somewhere visible such as on your bathroom mirror to remind yourself of the first step you’ve committed to taking.

This is simply a starting point; depending on how you got on, you may have gained greater insight into the obstacles getting in your way and identified the first step to moving forward.

If you’d like to explore it further, why not use the contact-me button at the very top of this page and arrange to talk with me today?  With a clear vision and a plan to move forward, you’ll be able to avoid looking back with regrets, having taken back your control, and start to live the life that you so rightly deserve.   What are you waiting for?

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