A friend of mine likes to raise and show dogs. He and his wife like to take them to dog shows, where prizes are won for the best looking dogs. Preparing the dogs for this event involved training them from birth through their later years, from potty training to doing whatever dogs do at dog shows. I asked him one day, “Lawrence, how do you potty train dogs?”
I’ll never forget his answer. He thought it over for a minute and then said, “You don’t give them a chance to fail.” He went into details then about how he takes them outside very often while potty training them, so they are spending ample time outdoors where they can empty their bowels. There were more details as well, and it occurred to me that he’d put a lot of thought into his method, and that his forethought had resulted in great results: potty trained dogs.
Be the Dog!
I thought over his answer for sometime because it had never occurred to me that you could ever have the option of removing the possibility of failure. Furthermore, the implementation seemed remarkably simple!
Just remove the obstacles and expect success.
Whatever your goal is right now, you know there are obstacles in your way and you know what most of those obstacles are. Sure, new obstacles you hadn’t considered may creep up from time to time, but you already know what the majority of your obstacles are. The great part about this is that, although you may not have realized it, you also know how to overcome those obstacles.
But what if you could just remove those obstacles?
Some obstacles can be removed entirely, making your path to success much simpler. For example, if you are trying to lose weight and an obstacle is choosing a healthy place to eat during lunchtime, you could just pack a healthy lunch. If you insist on going out to eat, you can also insist on going to specific restaurants where you know some healthy meal can be ordered. There are always options.
But what about MY goal?
The key to discovering as many obstacles as possible as well as their possible solutions or ways to remove them altogether is through brainstorming.
What are your obstacles? Do yourself a favor and open either a word document or pull out a sheet of paper and list 20 possible obstacles in your path. If you easily name all 20, add another 10. Chances are that the first five or ten will be simple, but the last few will make you really think hard, and this is where the most difficult and surprising obstacles can be found.
What are the solutions to your obstacles? You can either remove an obstacle or prepare yourself to hurdle it. Your first attempt should be to remove it, thus clearing your path.
--Removing an obstacle
Let’s play “20 Ways” (Just a name I threw out there) once again. At the top of a sheet of paper, write the title of one obstacle. You’ll do this for all 20 of your obstacles (or however many you could discover). Now write 20 ways you can remove that obstacle from your path.
--Preparing to hurdle your obstacle
If you absolutely, no matter what, cannot remove an obstacle from your path, THEN you should be interested in preparing to hurdle it. Again you’ll play “20 Ways.” Again write the title of an obstacle at the top of a sheet of paper, and this time write down 20 ways you can overcome this obstacle.
Those of us walking on a path to accomplishing a goal know how littered some of those roads are with obstacles. Removing obstacles will make your path a bit smoother. Providing yourself with the preparedness to hurdle the obstacles you can’t remove will make you unstoppable.