5 Ways to Keep Moving Forward When You Hit a Wall

This is a guest post by Bill Blankschaen. He is a writer, thinker, and speaker who also leads in a Christian school by day. You can read his blog and follow him on Twitter and Facebook. If you want to guest post on this blog, check out the guidelines here.

Yawn! When I read Michael Hyatt’s post on taking naps, I agreed. I knew from personal experience how beneficial a quick midday nap could be. But as I pondered how I might actually put it into practice, I hit a wall.

A Man Climbing a Rock Wall - Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/LUGO, Image #1827245

How could I keep moving forward with this idea in an educational role that requires me to be always alert and on-call throughout the school day? The tension between what I wanted to do and what I could do quickly threatened to become crippling frustration.

I suspect I’m not alone in feeling overwhelmed at times by excellent advice, helpful strategies, and enlightening insight. To be candid, sometimes I feel like a deer in the personal-growth headlights. I’m often paralyzed by the possibilities. It’s easy to see where I want to go. It’s figuring out how to get over the walls between here and there that creates the tension.

We usually think of tension as always being a bad thing. It can be. But growth always requires movement. And movement creates tension between where we are and where we’re going. It’s when we hit a wall—or what seems to be a wall—that we can get the wind knocked out of our dreams.

Here are a few ways you can keep moving forward when you hit a wall in your personal growth:

  1. Screen for Excuses. Be honest with yourself. It’s easy to slip in an excuse disguised as an immovable barrier. To be safe, assume all walls are excuses until proven otherwise. Like Neo of Matrix fame, sometimes your best answer will be that “there is no wall.”
  2. Question the Walls. You could try talking to them, I suppose, but that could lead to other problems. Think about the barriers themselves. Are they walls that you’ve created yourself or allowed to be created in your silence? Are you missing the skill sets to get over the walls? Where can you get a reliable third-party perspective on the barriers you face? Don’t rule this out: The walls may be telling you it’s time to grow elsewhere.
  3. Get Creative. As Thomas Edison famously said, “There’s always another way.” If you find a real barrier does exist, start by figuring out your goal. Let your imagination work backwards to see if other solutions present themselves. In my case, perhaps a protected mental downtime without phones or visitors will get me close to the same result as a nap for now.
  4. Take Baby Steps. If you find you can move forward where you are, don’t hesitate to start small. But do start. As Michael Hyatt has said, “Motion leads to momentum.” Maybe you can’t do it all right away, but you can do something. Sit down. Jot down a plan. Take steps, even small ones, in the right direction. Do it today.
  5. Keep Moving Forward. These three words from one of my life leaders Walt Disney sum it up. William H. Murray added this wisdom that I have found true again and again: “The moment one definitely commits oneself … all sorts of things occur to help one that would never have otherwise occurred.” Unlike the rides at Walt’s magical World, we should always refuse to come to a complete stop.

Above all, know that you’ve got a lot of friends here who feel your growth pains when you hit a wall. I can’t be the only one. Let’s cheer each other on. After our naps, of course.

What walls are you hitting at this stage of your growth? How can we help each other over them? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

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