From Obstacles to Opportunities

By: Christa Coletti

On this particular morning, I was sitting on the patio watching the soothing stillness of the water. A boat came by, and I watched the still water become small waves in the boat’s wake and head off into new directions, headstrong in their new paths.

Soon one of these small waves of water came into contact with the guard wall. Instead of making a big splash, it simply went off in another direction until it smoothed out and became part of the still water again. I watched several of the tiny waves made in the wake of the boat gently bump into the guard wall and go off in different directions, sometimes affected by the ripples of other waves or because they hit the guard wall in different places.

As I watched all of this activity in the water, I thought about my coaching practice. Upon discovering the field of coaching, I, as well as many others out there, began with great energy and drive to work with others in a positive and nurturing setting. Like the still water influenced by the boat, we went off confidently in our new direction in life, ready to be of service to others.

However there are guard walls, perhaps unseen until the last minute, throughout life. Hitting one of these can be seriously disrupting and discouraging. How many of you have been disappointed in your practice? Perhaps a lecture you thought was great went over bad with your audience, or your last couple of coaching calls with a particular client didn’t go as well as expected? These unforeseen obstacles can shake our confidence in our abilities.

What if we worked in a mindset similar to the water, where upon hitting the guard wall, we bounced off effortlessly, into a new direction with new possibilities? Instead of getting caught up in the whys about our less-than-successful sessions or ideas, we move into a new direction with a new lesson learned, onto our next opportunity.

I learned a great lesson from the water that morning. I learned to take unforeseen “walls” in my practice as a sign to gently bounce off and try a new direction instead of stressing out and being disappointed. How would things be different if you tried to be like this? How might your mindset change if, when presented by an obstacle, your first thought was, “What new opportunities are provided to me by this situation?” or “How can I view this current difficulty in the context of my life path?”

I request that you play with the idea that current “walls” in your practice are not something necessarily to be broken through or overcome, but perhaps as opportunities that gently guide you to new possibilities.

Christa is a Professional Life Coach and owner of Vivacious Living.
She spent a third of her life in the bustling city of Tokyo, Japan, and focuses on cross-cultural coaching, transition coaching, and coaching those with chronic illnesses.
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