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31 Days to a New Year – DAY 9

December 9, 2011— DAY 9: We talked about procrastination and a willingness to get things done. What if the problem is an obstacle? Overcoming adversity is a major problem for many who are setting goals and attempting to make meaningful changes in their lives.

On a mountain hiking trip I was reminded that nature has an interesting way of dealing with adversity while we remain myopic in dealing with adverse conditions. When something blocks us from our goal, we often either give up or give in. Some of us even sit down, complain a little and then get ready to die right there in front of the very problem that mocks us. But nature offers a different solution to adversity – OVERCOME adversity.

Eastern Tennessee, especially in the Great Smokey Mountains is known for its rock formations and heaping boulders strewn about like some giant angry five-year-old stomped through the forest. Some of the boulders along the path of my hiking trail were impressive in size.

What caught my eye was a large  tree whose root system had wrapped itself around a very large boulder. This tree whose seed, whether by fate or design, found its way into a crevice of the rock so many years ago had begun to grow in what otherwise would appear to be the most unlikely place. Not only did the tree survive but it was slowly overtaking its obstacle and thriving in the midst of unlikely circumstances. As the tree grew, cracks formed in the rock and one day the pressure of the continued growth of that tree may very well split that rock. .

Looking at that tree, I immediately realized that the best way to overcome adversity is to grow from within and then beyond its grasp. From adversity new growth and new promise form for a life beyond what we can possibly see at this moment. If life has you in the grips of a proverbial rock formation, find a way to grow up from it; then around it and finally beyond it. Persevere and one day you will overcome the very thing that tried to overcome you.

Make a list of any obstacles you have faced or are facing now.  Did you grow from them or did they overtake you? What helped you grow beyond the obstacle or what keeps you from doing so?

Once you have written the answers sit for a moment and think about those things that you are facing now. Ask yourself the question what seems to be the most logical next thing to do? Who or where can I go to get help if needed? Identifying your obstacles is part of the battle to overcome them. What we likely do less often is develop a strategic approach to moving beyond what holds us back.


Philip A Foster, MA is Founder/CEO of Maximum Change Inc. Elevating leaders and their organizations to the next level since 2005. Master Certified Coach, Philip A Foster, MA and his associates facilitate effective positive change by helping organizations, leaders and individuals in high demand — design and implement strategies that maximize focus and deliver results. Specializing in Organization and Strategic Leadership.

Email | LinkedIn | Facebook | Twitter | Web | Blog | Skype: philip.a.foster | 615-216-5667

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