Boulders and bridges

April 1, 2006
The tombstone of J.R. Green, the English historian reads, "He died learning." These three simple words represent a powerful truth.

The tombstone of J.R. Green, the English historian reads, “He died learning.” These three simple words represent a powerful truth. Knowing that you can always “become more” is one of the great driving forces in life, but two factors can derail you. Even when you have a compelling vision in place, boulders are often strewn along your chosen path of development, stymieing your good intentions. These boulders are roadblocks to achievement, robbing you of your energy, stifling your creativity, and overwhelming your spirit. They form a wall of resistance to potentially impede your progress. Another derailing factor may be that you have not yet built all the bridges along your path of development that lead to your preferred future.

Battling the boulders

Most of us run into a wall of resistance from time to time, but the good news is that the boulders that make up this wall are not permanently cemented in place. There is no one strategy for confronting them and breaking down the wall of resistance, but there are approaches that will help you meet this challenge.

Clarity:Identifying the source of these boulders is your first step. Are they self-imposed, placed on your path by others, or created by the current circumstances of your life? Understanding the source is imperative because this will help you to determine your approach to overcoming them. It also will help you identify the resources you will need to move forward.

Choice:You don’t have to destroy every boulder to break down the wall! Which boulders can you do something about? Don’t take on challenges against which you have no control. Which will offer the greatest payback? You are about to invest two of your scarcest resources - time and energy. Invest wisely. Which boulders can you tackle to provide you with “quick wins”? Momentum from accomplishment is a powerful force, so find the path of least resistance.

Confidence: What have you learned about yourself from your life experiences? What strengths do you know you have on which you can count? When dealing with previous challenges, what strategies worked for you that may be appropriate to your current situation? What hasn’t worked in the past that you want to avoid this time? This approach will enable you to act more decisively and with self-assurance.

Commitment: Commit to bringing your best self forward. Formulate a specific plan of attack. Will everything you do work? Probably not, but don’t let that slow you down. Personal development sometimes requires taking risks. As Henry Link once said, “While one person hesitates because he feels inferior, the other is busy making mistakes and becoming superior.”

Building the bridges

Bridges are the connections that take you to a place of performance improvement and goal achievement - connections that ultimately lead to deeper insights into “becoming more” and to the fulfillment of your vision. Each bridge has a unique design.

Bridges that are serving you well. Some bridges are already in place and accessible. These are constructed of your abilities and gifts, education and experience, values, passions, and the strong partnering relationships which already support your journey. Maintain them well, and they will continue to carry you toward your vision.

Bridges needing reinforcement. Some of your existing bridges may need to be nurtured and strengthened. Identify which ones fit this category and what actions you need to take to reinforce them.

New bridges. When you examine your vision, do parts of your compelling future picture appear to be remote islands that are out of reach? If so, you may have to design and build new bridges by learning new skills and behaviors, adopting new thinking patterns, and forming additional relationships. But once they are in place, these bridges will transport you to these otherwise inaccessible places.

Becoming more

Battle your boulders with the “Four C’s” - clarity, choice, confidence, and commitment. Maintain, reinforce, and build the bridges to a preferred future. Emulate J.R. Green and be a lifelong learner. By doing so, you will avoid derailment and “becoming more” will become a reality.

Doug Young, MBA, and his spouse Marlyn, MCC, have a professional speaking and executive/team coaching business in Parker, Colo. They co-author this column and share an interest in leading-edge business concepts, achieving personal and professional potential, serving patients, and improving how people work together. Marlyn’s insights into people and relationships and coaching skills complement Doug’s motivating and mind-expanding presentations. Contact them by e-mail at [email protected], or by phone at 877-DMYOUNG.

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