Walls. Hoops to jump through. The glass ceiling.
Whatever you call them, there always seems to be barriers and challenges in life. Earlier this week was International Women’s Day, which cast a strong spotlight on the success many women have had in facing down these challenges, as well as the challenges that continue to present themselves. I won’t go political on you and delve into the conversations that have made up much of Hillary Clinton’s platform, but I will admit that the stories that overtook social media this week had me further contemplating some of the challenges I have faced and my means of getting through them.I mentioned in my last post a story from HubSpot that described finding inspiration in unlikely places. That was a timely read as soon after posting I was facing a creative block on a project at work. I sought out inspiration, tried “thinking outside the box,” and bounced ideas off colleagues. Yet, nothing compelling fell from the creative tree. I left work frustrated with myself and feeling a bit defeated. It wasn’t until got home and took a long run that I was able to clear my head and finally find the inspiration I was searching for. In letting my thoughts roam and relax I was able to open the floodgates. What I really needed was to take a step back and remove the pressure I had placed on myself to come up with a great idea. Becoming hyper focused on any one task or goal can often cloud your vision and make it harder to accomplish anything.
Now, a creative block is different than a glass ceiling and many other barriers we face, but the same tactic of taking a step back may be what we need to overcome them.Giving yourself a break or approaching an issue from another perspective can make all the difference in not only accomplishing your goal but putting yourself in a positive mindset to move forward. It is easy to get drawn into frustration, anger, or jealousy when it seems that our goals are being pulled further away. We can feel it when a subject in school does not come easily to us, when career advancement stalls, or when we are unable to find a solution to an issue. I have faced each of these and many others and am guilty of submitting to my own frustrations. In each case, my way back to progress started with a step back and a deep breath. It doesn’t always happen right away, there have been times where my frustrations have affected me for weeks or months, but as I have grown I have become better at recognizing the need to relax and refocus. I am a full proponent of taking charge of your path and making things happen, but I also realize that there are times when I need to be patient and accept that there are things I cannot control. I have set ambitious goals for myself and I will never stop trying to achieve them, but I will also do my best to make sure that I maintain a healthy and happy life with as little self inflicted stress as possible.
My decision to go back to school was rooted in the desire for career advancement, as I feel that my MBA will help me reach the positions I am aiming for. While I am in class I know that I will feel the stress of tough subjects and papers, and I am sure I will have more moments of frustration at work. My personal challenge will be remembering that I am working to see my goals through and that despite setbacks, I am getting closer. I hope that you are able to remind yourself of the same as you face your own challenges.