By Gina Mullis, Stride Career Prep Success Coach
What is the first thing that comes to mind if asked the following question: What obstacle is most holding you back from reaching your dreams and goals?
For some, low grades or a low GPA is creating a barrier. Maybe finances are holding you back. But, what about lack of knowledge or just not knowing what steps to take or where to start, is that delaying you in meeting your goals? For many, it is fear that is the actual obstacle standing in the way. But no matter what answer you gave, there are ways to rise above and live the life of your dreams.
The first step in overcoming barriers between you and your future, is recognizing those barriers. Think to yourself, “What is it that is truly standing in my way?” This is not always an easy task, and it often requires you to be brutally honest with yourself and willing to adjust and make changes within your life. The result, however, proves it all worth it.
Obstacles may be very obvious or more difficult to identify. They may be materialistic or hidden within you. For example, a common impediment to teens is low self-esteem or poor body image. Believe it or not, such things can hold a person back from actively chasing goals. Other obstacles might include:
- Family Obligations: Teen parents, caring for siblings or other family members
- Bullying: Stress or struggles brought on by experiencing bullying
- Peer Pressure: Influential peers can work to push you in a direction opposite your own goals
- Negative friends/peers: Can cause you to second guess or talk yourself out of your own set goals
- Discrimination: Experiencing discrimination can discourage you from pursuing your dreams
- Academic Setbacks: Failing classes, not getting accepted at your choice college, or not graduating on time
- Work/Financial Obligations: Needing to work part or full time
Once you recognize what is holding you back, you can begin working to rise above it. So, how do you overcome those challenging situations and circumstances? All you have to do is want it. You have to want your goal and your dream life enough to work hard to overcome whatever is stopping you. There are several steps you can take to start rising:
Seek a Mentor
Find someone you can openly talk with and seek guidance from. This may be someone like a teacher or counselor, a Stride Success Coach, a person at your church or community organization, or a family member. Having a mentor is a great leadership development tool. You can talk with them, but you can also observe how they behave and communicate and start to mimic that in your own life. Mentors can provide great motivation, emotional support, and guidance on your journey.
Develop a Support System
This may include your mentor, but it may also be friends and family who are positive and actively support you in your goals and desires for life. Your support system should be made up of positive people who encourage you and motivate you to keep pushing even when things get tough. You don’t want negativity or pressure from your support group, so be sure you actively talk with the positive and supportive people in your life. If you do not have a strong support system, find one! Join a community group or school club or activity with people who have similar interests. Many times, you can find life-long friends and great support in these types of groups.
Self-care is any action you take to help yourself feel good. For instance, things like hygiene, working out or staying active, good nutrition, positive self-talk, and partaking in healthy hobbies and interests are wonderful examples of self-care.
Become Your Own Advocate for Change
You can and will overcome obstacles by directly recognizing and addressing the obstacle. For example, put sticky notes around your room or make a goal or dream board reminding you daily of your goals. Whatever those things are holding you back don’t be afraid to address them, dismiss them from your life, or adjust them to fit into your goals.
Remember, an obstacle is just that: something in the way. It isn’t an end to the dreams you have in mind for yourself. You may need to change your path some, but your goals and objectives are still there for you to achieve. If you are having trouble getting started on that path and working to overcome obstacles, schedule a session with a Stride Success Coach*. Even if you aren't a Stride Career Prep student, you can still tune in weekly to our IG Live Coaching sessions to ask questions and get help you on your journey.