Two Obstacles

There are two obstacles. Or maybe at least two categories of obstacles.

Internal obstacles and external obstacles.

Internal obstacles include fear, doubt, our inner voice, regret, commitment, procrastination, and fear (yes I put it on the list twice).

External obstacles include time, resources, location, people, bosses, organizations, regulations, climate, and the entire world.

When we do not accomplish something it is so tempting to blame the external obstacles.

You didn’t have the time.

You didn’t have the resources.

The organization got in the way.

Those people derailed you.

The weather didn’t cooperate.

In reality, our internal obstacles play a larger role.

You were afraid.

Your inner voice reminded you that you are an imposter.

You thought you might fail.

You were afraid.

You didn’t commit.

The genius of the internal obstacles is that they convince you to look elsewhere. To look outside.

Internal obstacles hold up a magnifying glass and convince us that the external obstacles are large. Larger than life.

We forget that a magnifying glass, although helpful in viewing details, is a distortion of reality.

This distortion convinces us that we have no power to move forward. The external obstacles are too large, too menacing, too much to overcome.

The internal obstacles get off easy by blaming the external obstacles.

Next time, don’t let them off so easily.

Put down that magnifying glass, and take that first step.

Fear not the obstacles in your path.

(I can no longer type or say OBSTACLES without thinking of this movie scene. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do. However, now all I hear is “OB-STACK-ELLS”)

“I cannot tell you how long this road shall be, but fear not the obstacles in your path, for fate has vouchsafed your reward. Though the road may wind, yea, your hearts grow weary, still shall ye follow them…”

Blind Seer in O Brother, Where Art Thou?

Obstacles and Turkeys



(Image Courtesy of

Morning run.

Quick pace.

Few remaining training runs. Next race looming.

Crest the hill. Narrow path. Chain-link fence gauntlet.

Strange unnoticed prints.

Obstacle. Turkeys. Wild ones.

Dead center of the path. Confined by fences.

Freeze. Assess.

Turn around? Move forward?

Fight or flight?

Fear. Vulnerable. Exposed.

Faster than me. 25 MPH. Being pecked.



Loud voice.

Louder voice.

Cautious steps.

Pace resumes.


Observant. Aware. Alert.

Goal achieved.

Lessons learned. Head up. More aware.

Looking for signs.

Next obstacle?

Better prepared.


Ask or Act


(Images courtesy of and

Two simple choices. Ask or Act.

If things were only that easy.

As I learn more about our “fight or flight” reaction in our brains, there is another “f” reaction that seems to take hold.


The state where we become paralyzed to take any action. The Freeze could be fear of making a mistake, or letting someone down. The Freeze may be a product of our own insecurities and self-doubt. Whatever the cause, the Freeze holds us back from taking action or accomplishing our goals.

I am sure this Freeze came in handy when a ferocious animal was spotted and remaining motionless prevented an attack. However, except for the occasional dog off the leash in my neighborhood when I am running, or the unsuspecting garter snake in my garden, there are not a lot of animals that cause me concern.

What should we do when we find ourselves in a state of Freeze?

Back to the two choices. Ask or Act.

If you are not sure what to do, Ask someone. Ask for clarification or direction. Ask for more details or better guidance. Ask yourself what is the worst that could happen if you make a mistake. Ask for help. Ask yourself what is causing this fear.

If you have an idea what to do, Act and accomplish the task. Act in a way that gets you closer to the goal and moves you forward.

Hopefully these two simple choices help you the next time Freeze takes over.