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Turning Obstacle into Opportunities

Dr. Nikki Martinez, Lead Contributor

Turning Obstacle into Opportunities

There are many thing that happen in our lives that veer us of the course that we were on. Obstacles that would cause many to slow down, experience stress, or give up completely. What we do not realize is that sometimes what feels like major set-backs and obstacles in our lives, can turn into transformative opportunities if we allow them to be.

Sometimes obstacles actually allow us the opportunity to reflect on how we could do things differently, and to examine what did and did not work right the first time around. Obstacles can also open up time and opportunity that we did not once have. Time to decide on goals, time to learn a new skill, or time to complete tasks that you feel like you never had the time to do prior to this obstacle coming into your life.

The concept of how obstacles can open new doors and help us achieve goals we had for ourselves came to me when I experienced my own medical set-backs in my life. I went from a successful and busy position, to be so ill that I had to start working from home. To have no set job was a terrifying thought initially, but these are the times that we need to muster our strength and regroup to meet our needs.

Most of us do not have the luxury of not working, and the thoughts of building from scratch is if course initially frightening, but can then be exciting when you think of all the possibilities that are in front of you. There are so many things that we all want for ourselves that we want to accomplish, but we just can’t seem to find the time. Sometimes, it seems, the time is found for us.

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Turning Obstacle into Opportunities

What have you always wanted to do? What have you not had the time to accomplish before? In my own case, I wanted to keep practicing psychology, I wanted to teach graduate level students in the field, and I had wanted to be an avid writer for so long. Did those opportunities exist remotely, as a matter of fact that did.

I could work through the modern technologies of telehealth, I could teach online for a number of schools, and I could write to my little hearts content. It might seem odd, or even impossible, that I was happier than ever, and accomplishing more than ever, from the comfort of my own bed. However, that is the complete truth.

I make my own hours that work around my physical well-being, I have numerous positions that not only let me continue the work I love, but allows me the time to do the work I always wanted to do. My stress was reduced, which reduced flares of my illness, and I genuinely felt more successful and happier than ever.

Another amazing opportunity that obstacles allow us are the gifts of reflection and hindsight. Did a project that we were working on just not seem to work? Did we test run a program or workshop, and received some difficult to hear, but important to know, feedback? Obstacles and stumbles allow us to go back to the drawing board and rethink how things could have gone differently.

What was it that went wrong? What was common feedback that I received that people did not like? These are obstacles, not failures. Things did not go as planned, but you received the rare gift of being able to see and hear what did not work. You now have the chance to go back to the drawing board to make this product, this program, this presentation, everything that people wanted it to be. The end result may be something that is hugely successful, where the starting product may have been met mediocrity.

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One of the greatest gifts of obstacles and set-backs is the chance to do things you may never had made the leap to do otherwise. Have you been laid off and have time on your hands, are you chronically ill like me, or were you passed over for that promotion that you were putting in extra hours killing yourself to get? This new free time in your schedule, or new reasons to finally consider your options is such an opportunity for you. Take the scary leap and branch out on your own in your profession.

If you have weeks of time on your hand, take that training class you have been dreaming of doing. Not only does it build your skill base, but you may learn something you love. Take this time to set some challenging and exciting goals for yourself for this coming year, or coming 5 years. This is your chance to really think about these things on a level that you may have felt unable to before. Why is this all possible, because you chose to embrace your obstacles as opportunities. The possibilities are endless.

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