The Journey of Overcoming Obstacles

By , SparkPeople Blogger
“The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.”~Lao Tzu
A few weeks ago a colleague sent me a link to an article from the Times NewsFeed regarding Canadian Jean Béliveau's 11-year walking journey and the lessons he learned along the way. She asked if I would be willing to blog about it. After reading the article I sat on it trying to find a common thread as to how I could relate this man's journey with the journey so many of us have taken.

When Jean Béliveau begin his journey 11 years ago he had no idea how long it would take to get to his goal. He started out running, but soon resorted to walking. He struggled with many obstacles, such as falling ill in Algeria to being mobbed in South Africa. And while he did consider giving up on his journey, his girlfriend encouraged him to continue on, which he did.

After 11 long years what started out as a journey to achieve a goal to walk around the world, he learned much more than he ever could have imagined when we took his first step. He came back with a "wealth of knowledge and understanding." While most of us will never embark on a journey of this magnitude, I think we can find a commonality between his journey and that of our own.

"Obstacles don't have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don't turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it."~Michael Jordan

That commonality is that our life is a journey. We all have expectations and when our expectations fall short, it seems so much easier to give up than to push ahead. We plan, we take the steps to move us closer to our goals and for some reason, when we are confronted with an obstacle, this is what can cause many of us to turn away from our goals. After all life is so much easier when everything goes as planned. But it is truly the obstacles and how we overcome them that allow us to embrace the knowledge and wealth of living.

We are going to make mistakes. We are going to have obstacles that make reaching our goals even more challenging. We are going to have things pop up in our life that we have no control over. We are going to feel like giving up. We are going to feel empowered one day, only to find the next day we no longer feel we have the strength to carry on. We are going to feel hopeless. We are going to feel like giving up because that is much easier than carrying on. But all these things don't have to keep us from reaching our goals.

Just remember in our journey we always have choices. We can choose to face the obstacles in our life head on OR we can elect to give up never allowing ourselves the opportunity to feel that sense of accomplishment, no matter how big or how small. We can choose to learn from our mistakes OR we can dwell on the mistakes which will never allow us to move forward. We can choose to travel the journey alone OR we can reach out to others to hold our hand to help us through this journey. We can choose to embrace the journey with all its trials and tribulations and know that we will be more knowledgeable in the weeks, months and years ahead OR we can elect to remain stagnant.

"Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome while trying to succeed." Booker T. Washington

For me every obstacle allows me to learn. They allow me to grow. They allow me to let down my guard and be vulnerable to others. They allow me to lean on others for help and guidance. They allow me to change. They allow me to be human.

So when you feel that the journey is not going quite as planned, now is the time to dig in and find the strength you have. It may have been suppressed over the years, but it is still there. And if you still can't find it, allow others to help you find it. It would have been so much easier for Jean Béliveau to give up and head home, but what would he have learned? Where would he be today if he allowed that first obstacle to turn his goals into just another dream? Would he have the knowledge today to know that he is and was stronger than the obstacle that crossed his path?

While none of us have a crystal ball to see what our future holds, one thing I do know is that I only have one shot at life, and every time I fall, having the courage to get back up allows me to be the me I was meant to be.

"Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in getting up every time we do."~Confucius

What obstacles have you had to overcome in your own journey? Have you allowed yourself to lean on your SparkPeople friends to carry you through some of these obstacles? Do you have more wisdom today than when you first started your journey?