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Hello, obstacles!

Talking To A Brick WallImage by Joriel "Joz" Jimenez via Flickr

Every obstacle introduces a person to himself.

How we respond to obstacles at work is important. No obstacle will ever leave you the way it found you. You will either be better or you will be worse as a result of that confrontation. But keep in mind one important fact about obstacles: every obstacle has a limited lifespan. Many times there are things that we worried about last year that we can't even remember today.

Mediocre leaders tend to be tamed and subdued by obstacles, but great leaders always rise above them. You and I need to be like the leader who, when asked what helped him overcome the obstacles he encountered, responded, "The other obstacles." We should be like a kite that rises against the wind, causing it to fly higher and higher.

What is one of the greatest obstacles that you are facing at work right now?

Lay that obstacle in front of you and take a good hard look at it from a number of perspectives. Flip it over. Turn it inside out if you can. Bring someone else in to look at it and tell you what she sees.

Many times obstacles, given this sort of scrutiny, begin to shrink in size. If nothing else, a number of paths will appear to go over or around or through what might have once seemed insurmountable. And pretty soon, you'll begin to welcome obstacles because you recognize that you're growing in the process of tackling them. Hello, opportunities!

- Shirley Poertner

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