Do you ever find yourself reflecting with satisfaction on how smoothly things are running, when bang-crash, a new irritating road-bump comes flying in from nowhere? Unless we lock ourselves away from the world, the predictability of unforeseen problems is going to be as much a ‘given’ as breathing is.

As common as these professional or personal hindrances are, we’re not often trained in techniques for managing them, and when they occur, it’s easy to get lost in their distracting whirlpool of stress.
The good news though, is that these annoying interferences can serve as gifts in disguise if we choose to shift our perception of them.

Here are 7 tips for viewing obstacles through new, empowered eyes – in fact, to play them like a chess game and win.

  1. Anticipate

    Complications throw us off kilter, more so when they blindside us – so instead, expect their appearance. Be at the ready, prepared to welcome, accept and embrace whatever it is that pops up. When it does, our response has a better chance to be one of objectivity and solution-focus and less of annoyance or anxiety.

  2. Reframe

    I love this coaching term – it refers to putting a more constructive spin on a situation. Instead of perceiving the issue as an obstacle, we can view it as an opportunity for positive change.
    Shifting your thinking will dramatically transform the quality of emotional energy around the problem and you’ll move more quickly into strategic fix-it mode.

  3. Leverage

    However we choose to ‘perceive’ the obstacle, there is no doubt that its existence will throw a significant amount of emotional energy into our day, but the frustration we may initially feel, can be tapped in a productive way. Use it as a driving force to explore the issue and as fuel to create an effective resolution.

  4. Envision

    One of the most powerful ways to create a happy ending is to take time, up front, to imagine the very best possible end result – to become crystal clear about what we want to see as the outcome, so that we have something specific to move towards. See it as if you’re watching a movie directed by you.

  5. Plan

    Working off the back of this vision, we’re ready to reverse engineer from the ideal end result. Using our imagination again, what were the things we did to get there? What decisions did we make along the way? Who did we involve? What were the actions we took? From this vantage point, you can create a strategic plan and prepare for real-time implementation.

  6. Take action

    Depending on the nature of the specific obstacle, action steps may be quick and easy or long and involved. Either way, we need to hold on to our plan like we would a flagpole in a strong wind. It grounds us to objectivity and outcome and keeps us from spinning emotionally. Keep your vision for the ideal end result in mind and continually recalibrate your plan as needed.

  7. Bask in the glow

    And now, relax in the glow of your success and the rewards of your envisioning, planning and action… to be repeated, again and again. Life is good, even with the constant nip of obstacles at our heels.