I’ve used a line many times in my personal and professional life. It is, “To overcome obstacles, one must overcome themselves.” I believe this is a real sign of personal and professional growth.
Before I understood this concept, I would get overwhelmed by the obstacles. I would feel like so many things were beyond my control. I never thought about my response and responsibility during those times.
As I entered the stage of life when I became a business owner, the feeling of overwhelm grew. There was more each day that was out of my control.
I faced the challenge of personal growth daily.
I always thought age would “grow me up.” While it’s true age grows us, it’s not necessarily true that we mature. That’s why you see adults who are out of control -- they’ve aged but not matured.
They never overcame themselves or the things that impeded their personal development.
They don’t give much thought to overcoming themselves because when things go wrong, someone else is to blame.
I had learned about and was aware of growing spiritually, but personal and professional growth was a new idea to me.
I focused on being a better wife, mom, and friend, but I never gave much thought to overcoming myself. This might be because early in my life, I didn’t face too many obstacles.
When I entered the business world, I faced real obstacles! I knew nothing about the corporate environment. My lack of experience was my first major obstacle.
I was facing a real dilemma because my “lack” was huge!
I was in a world that was foreign to me with no preparedness for the task.
I felt like a fish out of water. I guess I can only imagine how a fish out of water feels, but I know that for a fish, being out of water is life-threatening and ultimately leads to death.
When I started a business, my only world up to that point was family and friends.
The corporate world was as foreign to me as could be. There were a few times I thought I wouldn’t survive in that world! (Like a fish out of water.)
There was nothing familiar in this new world I found myself in.
The training I had as a kid was to work hard and love people. I didn’t feel like that was enough to keep me going, but it’s all I had when I started.
If I hadn’t learned how to overcome myself, I would have enjoyed one or two stores and lived a relatively good and easy life.
But…we were made for more! More will never be realized unless we learn how to overcome ourselves.
We limit ourselves by believing we have reached our potential. Obstacles in our lives make us think we can’t go any further, and very often, we settle for less.
Overcoming myself became my motivation because my limitations were glaring!
Wishing I would be “more” wasn’t enough. I had to do the work to overcome myself.
It’s more like running the marathon instead of hoping to run. I’m inspired by watching the runners and amazed at their endurance. To do a race takes mental and physical strength.
To overcome adversity and obstacles takes mental and physical strength as well. It also takes:
- Healthy self-talk
- New information
- Emotional support
Some of the obstacles I faced in my life were:
- Starting a business
- Managing as a mom and businesswoman
- Being in a dual-career marriage
- Managing my time
- Perfecting the product
- Knowing who to hire
- Learning the art of delegation
- Putting systems in place
- Learning the business of franchising
- Scaling the business internationally
- Staying true to our purpose
- learning professional people skills
So how did I overcome?
- I prayed and cried.
- I did personality profiles.
- I hired people who knew more than I did.
- I was never afraid to ask questions.
- I was always willing to admit I was not the expert.
- I went to conferences on management and leadership.
- I learned the art of delegation.
- I read books constantly.
These are just a handful of the ways I learned to overcome myself.
I knew I could not stay at the personal and professional level I started at if I was to build a company that grew by 60+ stores every year.
Overcoming who I was, to become who I needed to be, took hard work and was exhausting! The results, however, are beautiful. They are felt internally and then eventually became obvious in your external behaviors.
What is it you struggle with the most? What are your obstacles?
If you begin to look internally and ask the hard questions, it won’t take long to identify them. Too often, we don’t pay attention to our internal compass and the Holy Spirit, who helps us recognize our needs.
Open up to the truth about your obstacles and begin to work on yourself.
Start with where you feel most annoyed in life. This can be a good indicator that change is necessary.
Instead of looking at the ways circumstances could change in your life, begin to think about how you can overcome your obstacles to change your circumstances.
Oh, and by the way, it’s s lifelong journey. Enjoy the ride.