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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  • http://twitter.com/Tara_Hamdi Tara Hamdi

    Being a mother of 2 active kids who never tire and have all they want in life, it wasn’t all that good, there were times we were struggling but when kept moving on and on, I was fired from Work first, then my cousin had a tragic car accident and she was my best friend so one has to face life with all his will and power.

    Tara Hamdi

    • BillintheBlank


      My heart goes out to you Tara. My prayers will also.

      As a father of six energetic and creative kids, I certainly can relate to your speed of life. For me, my relationship with my Creator is what sustains me through those intensely difficult seasons.

      Be sure to seek out a mentor in your life, perhaps through church or other organizations so that you have someone who is a little further down the road to offer you a hand through this time.

      You might want to check out a post at my site on “How Jesus Beat Loneliness.” Hopefully, it will provide some encouragement and help with direction.

  • Maco_guyana

    My growth is being hindered by lack of skills and I feel like I am running out of time.

    • BillintheBlank


      The reality is this: we are all running out of time. No reason to panic. Just get busy. Identify the skills you need and start going after them.

      Start. Today. And be consistent. Never underestimate the power of the drip.

  • Timothy Lynn Burchfield

    Eating well is my new (not so new) WALL!  Food in Peru is amazing but time to climb the wall again.

    • BillintheBlank

      You and me both Timothy. The press of the busyness of life tends to push it out. Then we start spiraling out of energy without ever realizing exactly why. Let’s get back on it together!

  • http://www.ryanhanley.com/ Ryan Hanley


    I really like the Get Creative solution.  I’ve found that some of my most Off the Wall but exciting ideas have surfaced when trying to get around or get over a Wall.

    Great stuff!!

    Ryan H.

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  • http://www.christopherneiger.com/ Chris Neiger

    I hit a personal wall yesterday with my writing pursuits. But I started thinking hard about what I really want, and how difficult it’s going to be to get it. My wife encouraged me that all writers are going to get rejected and the important part is to keep going (just like your 5th point). So that’s what I’m doing. All of the experience along the way, including the walls, are part of the process.

    • BillintheBlank

      There is much growth to be had in the process — any process. I would encourage you to get sound feedback to be sure you’re right — then go ahead!

      • http://www.christopherneiger.com/ Chris Neiger

        Thanks Bill, that’s really good advice. I  should have said that I’ve reached out to other writers/editors in the past as well!

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  • http://www.1movers.com/ Destin @ Movers In Md

    Be honest with myself is very important to keep my personality and to deal with people. I suppose these tips will change people’s mind.

    • http://www.BillintheBlank.com/ Bill Blankschaen

      Changing our mind is what it’s really about, right? Questioning our walls means that we take the time to think about how and what we’re thinking. Sure beats pounding our heads repeatedly into the wall.

      Thanks, Destin!

      • Exhaustedinok

        I came here looking for help but found a lot of bibble babble. When I mean a wall, I mean a wall, not writers block, not boredom not frustration, but a WALL. You have to struggle to get your shoes on and get out of the house, you have to find a way to keep from looking for a tree to throw a rope over, kind of wall. Constant pain, constant disappointment, exhaustion, and everyone around you is going through the same thing so you cannot talk about it kind of wall.