Obstacles

Articles about Accountability and Focus and Big Rocks are all well and good. It’s great to draw a line in the sand and say, ‘hey, enough of this garbage, I’m going to do this and go on and succeed!’ But there are things out there that can keep you from your goals. Sometimes life throws up roadblocks and the Universe conspires against you and your progress gets off track. How do we cope?

Last week I wrote about 4 goals that I was pursuing; this site, my web design business, fitness, and travel. I also listed a checklist of things to expect from me this next week. I am sad to say that I did not deliver. I could say that I demanded too much of myself, that I tried to do too much, that there was no way I was going to finish all of these and I could wax poetic about how stretching for the stars is virtuous in and of itself. But I won’t. Instead I’ll try to do something a bit more proactive and see if I can learn from this last week.

The next several paragraphs will be my update. That’s the journal part of this blog and, if you don’t particularly care for it, you can skip to the bottom summation on overcoming obstacles. If not, keep on, happy reader.

This Past Week

By all accounts, it sucked. My Cubicle Work, where I spend most of my time, sucked. That drained a lot of energy from me and blinded me a bit from my overall goals. I need to come up with a better way of leaving the office at the office so I can remain productive in my other pursuits.

My website design business took a small hit. I had three leads and one verbal agreement for a site last weekend. As of this past weekend, everyone disappeared. I’ve remained in contact but the reality of my massive amount of upcoming travel in the month of September diminishes the chances that I will work on these at all.

Real life also intruded on my house and this website as my cable went out entirely. Very difficult to keep a site up and running when your internet access is out. Or, for that matter when your rental condo’s HOA has pipes leaking down the common area wall turning your wall into a latex paint covered water balloon. Even better when the AC cuts out on your tenants in the middle of a hot August Friday night. However, it is not impossible to update a site when you don’t have access to the Internet. Dealing with the HOA and my cable company should not have been as difficult as it was, and I need to address that with a quickness.

The rest of my frustrations revolve around not getting my free car fast enough – man I am tired of my clunker! – and other necessary evils like dentistry and waiting on others.

All of this bitching and moaning typed, it wasn’t really such a bad week now that I have perspective on it. Not like I’m going hungry, suffering from disease, or anything like that. This weekend was great starting with Poker night on Friday, continued with boating for half the day on Saturday, and I spent Sunday writing future articles. Not a bad weekend! And I am making progress on all of my goals, just not in the manner in which I thought. I’m even sitting out on my back deck with a Victory Cigar enjoying 75 degree weather while I type this. Let’s review.

Cubicle Warrior Goal

While I am late (2nd week in a row!) for my deep, pillar Monday night post. I did make progress. While I had held out hope of getting my internet back and writing a targeted post, I did write 3 long essays on last year’s Israel / Palestine trip. All 3 of those, plus one more I will finish tonight will round out the first day of an 17 day trip! To be fair, that day was on of my favorite in 31 years of living so it does take time to tell it. I did figure out last week how to upload and host mass quantities of pictures so I will be posting those along side them. Those articles will be posted while I am on vacation and traveling for the bulk of the next 6 weeks. This is a happy mitigation on keeping this goal going, if not how I expected.

One major hang up I have is whether to run this site under my real name or keep it anonymously as Cubicle Warrior. There are many, many benefits to being anonymous on the internet. For example, you can write anything you want! But it would be much better to endorse this site with my own identity. I believe it would add credibility and thus make it easier to promote. I wouldn’t have to worry about ‘slipping’ with my secret identity either. The down side, of course, is how easy it would be to make Career Limiting Moves. As I mentioned last week, people can get fired from their cubicle jobs for being too outspoken in their blogs. I’m not ready to sever my employment at this time so this is a real consideration. More thoughts on this over the next few weeks.

In the meantime, I have several outstanding items to work on to build this site up:

  • Technical – StumbleOn, Facebook links, software upgrades.
  • Writing – Finish the CrossBay Swim series, 2 pillar articles and 1 Friday Video per week, Complete the Israel series so new content keeps coming out while I’m traveling.
  • Manifesto – This is tied up with the secret identity decision but much more work can be done.
  • Release – I had a big goal of releasing this site to the public right after coming back from vacation, but that will have to wait for now. All in all, this is not terribly important. Though it would be nice to be writing for a larger audience and getting more feedback!

Fitness Goal

This goal is 100 percent on track. I’ve done some good work keeping to a regular workout schedule and diet and the results are showing. Twice in the last week I was asked if I played football for VT. This is patently ridiculous. To borrow my friend Topher’s quote ‘I’d have to gain 100 lbs to become the kicker.’ But it shows that I’m on the right track. Even Painless more or less told me last night over dinner that my face is becoming much less fat than it has been! Good stuff.

There’s no time to slack in this department. Most of my friends that I will be meeting up with in Maine, Blacksburg, and Germany are in phenomenal shape. Some are even taking their conditioning to a new level. This will increase the pressure on me to live up to their challenge but will simultaneously increase my accountability as we check in with each other. Even though we each have different constraints, goals, and practices, my friends are great inspirations and keep me going when I’d rather not.

I’ll keep steady as she goes, continuing to workout as I can and dieting as best as I am able. I have an ultimate goal that will really stretch me once I get back from Germany but I’ll write more about that when the time comes.

Website Design Goal

While landing and completing a site for a client would have been very helpful before going to Germany, I won’t let it bother me too much. Instead, I will focus on my communication and networking plans for that goal and let what business come that may. I will have a lot of time to dedicate to that side business when I return from traveling. My focus will be to move as quickly as possible when I do. There is a lot of prep work that can be done between now and then.

Travel Goal

All plans are complete I and embark for a friend’s wedding in Maine this weekend. I’ll also get to play Bill Murray’s role in What About Bob as I head to Lake Winnipesaukee for the latter half of Labor Day weekend. Good stuff! Topping it off, my cubicle employer has made it possible for me to extend my VT football weekend. I’ll now be able to visit my friends, go to the first home game (and tailgate) of the season, and then stay Sunday night to recruit future alums on Monday. In essence, I will be getting paid to have a long weekend at Virginia Tech. Awesomeness!

There is still a ton to do to ensure happy trails. Traveling can involve a lot of overhead and I know from experience that the inevitable unexpected issues it can derail the best laid plans. I’ll have to mitigate possible issues, prepare some fall back plans, and do as much pre-work as possible.

How to Deal With Obstacles

  1. Keep a Positive Attitude– Time spent being frustrated is time spent away from your goals. The more you are deterred from your goals, the worse your attitude will become leading to an unproductive downward spiral.
  2. Look for Role Models– Last Sunday I was still frustrated from the week before. I then talked to a bunch of good friends who are luminaries in their fields and excel at achieving their personal goals. Their examples proved to be inspirations. Remembering them, I got all fired up again about my goals.
  3. Do What You Can, As You Can, As Best You Can– I wasted time last week fixating on impediments. I should have been quicker to roll off to work on the next aspect of the goal or a different goal. Even though it wasn’t the highest item on my list, I’m very pleased that I started writing the Israel trip series while my internet connection was down.
  4. Keep the Larger Picture in Mind – Writing this post was an incredibly cathartic experience. While a bunch of little things managed to get me down last week, writing about my over all progress allowed me to step back and realize how much progress I have been making.
  5. Examine What Went Wrong and Mitigate-Nothing makes you feel more impotent around the forces that affect your life than lack of a battle plan. Obstacles will come and go, but there is no good reason to stop your progress. I was able to remain successful in my fitness goals because of previous mitigation strategies of keeping food at my desk, packing backup workout clothes in my car, and accountability. I need look for similar strategies around my rental property.
  6. Prepare for the Future– This is similar to mitigation described above but I think of it as a more positive variation. In mitigation we are trying to avoid known potential issues. This one can be thought of more as avoiding procrastination. Leaving things for the last minute is rarely a good idea. I should have had this post queued up for my Monday schedule ahead of time.
  7. Celebrate Your Successes– Not everything can be doom and gloom. When you’re working with obstacles don’t forget to savor the fruits of your other and previous labors.

How was your week? How are your goals coming? What do you do to get around obstacles?

Comments

  1. Even the best laid plans fall through. Focus on what makes you happy and go for it. Well written CW, does remind you to stay focused on what is important to you and no one else.

    I was thinking in Calc class the other day, when it come to the deffinition of limits, for every E>0 there is a Delta>0. As my instructor was describing this, in very little detail, the basis is, for every point on the x-axis, there is and other point closer to the desired number, when dealing with limits. So even though you think you’re giving your best, you can always do better, will never be perfect, but always closer than the last time.

  2. avatar Cubicle Warrior says:

    Realizing incremental improvements each day is the key.

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