The way of obstacles… | Lisa Steingold

The way of obstacles…

And why shit happens

If you got to read my last blog, you’ll appreciate how learning Spanish and living in a new country really scrambled my brain. BUT it also enabled me to see life from a whole new perspective. One of the things I’ve realised and have been realising is how to navigate obstacles in such a way that they become either null and void or the actual stepping stones to success.

It’s been in this time of seeming obstacles that I’ve learned a whole bunch about what I want in life, about what I need to do differently and how to set the platform for the future I want to create.

Shit happens, no doubt, but too often we say “shit happens” when in actual fact it’s something else entirely. It’s the same here in Spain. There’s a saying “Es lo que hay” which means it is the way it is. But often it isn’t the way it is, we just make up that crap to make ourselves feel better so we don’t have to change anything.

Here are a few reasons why shit happens and why things sometimes are the way they are;

  • Our inner beliefs and narrative are running the show or even because maybe we think we deserve it. Or we say crap like “it’s the way it is”
  • We’re out of alignment with our own values or truth
  • We’re being pushed to adapt to a new way of being or to see something in ourselves
  • Or shit happens because sometimes it really just does

We human beings are pretty amazing creatures. And sometimes pretty stupid too. I include myself in that list and right up there mind you. When we encounter a problem or an obstacle, we typically take one of two routes; ignore it until it goes away or wrestle it to the ground. Ironically both of these leave us feeling pretty exhausted (Yes my next book is called “The Burnout Diaries”) and generally going nowhere slowly. We’d do much better mind you if we learned how to flow around them or dare I say, even use them to our advantage.

When an obstacle or problem occurs, there are a few EASY (yes life CAN be easy if we choose it sometimes) ways to shift it;

Check the inner belief

This is NOT a whole process, it takes literally just a minute. Oh wait I believe “I don’t deserve for life to be easy” – how’s that working out for me? Laugh and carry on. As you were soldier.

But seriously what you believe means that you actually seek out evidence to support that fact and then you get to say “see it’s true”. We all do this everyday. Pastries make me fat. I’m just not made to be a xxx (ballet dancer, entrepreneur or other xxx). I’m just meant to be single. I’m just not good at that. I don’t have what it takes. It’s not the right time. Blah blah blah

The thing is much like when we’re shopping for a new car, we tend to see that car all over the place, so it’s true with these beliefs. When we subconsciously have a story going on, we tend to see the evidence everywhere! So is there a button to just change this belief? Yes actually there is but if you can connect with me in a coaching session for this:-) If you wanna skip that though, you simply change where you focus. As they say in cycling, where you look is where you go. So if you decide to look for evidence to the contrary e.g. I’m super successful, you’ll actually begin to see it BUT FIRST it’s important to acknowledge how you feel because…

The truth will set you free

What’s my truth here? Sometimes the truth is that we’re avoiding a feeling like feeling afraid or hurt or powerless or ashamed. If we just accept how we are feeling, we can move through it quicker. Or maybe it’s not just about a feeling but rather about what you really think about a subject. E.g. I actually hate my job or I need to try something new in my life or I want to meet new people etc. Even if you do nothing about it, the truth will set you free my friend.

Go through the doors that open because sometimes we’re being pushed in a new direction

My genius friend Nic from Veldskoen Shoes (please buy a pair if you haven’t already) gave mt this advice and it’s never failed. Go through the doors that open. Even if the only door that’s opening for you today is tea with a friend, do that. If a new job door is opening, do that. It’s a little like that movie “The Adjustment Bureau“. Rather than focusing on the obstacle (which is incidentally very human-like – just ask any golfer with a tree in the way), rather focus on the open doors. This is NOT the same as positivity. Positivity is pretending. This is quite the opposite; this is going “Okay I don’t know why life is hard at the moment (BELIEF) and I feel like life royally sucks right now (TRUTH) but I’m going to write this email (OPEN DOOR) or send this proposal or apply for this job or go out on a date etc.

I remember in 2016 I took on a new role as Head of Marketing. I didn’t want the job. In fact, I cried every day for a month before starting. What happened? It ended up being the best job of my life. I loved it! I met a ton of new friends, I drove my dream car, I took overseas trips… It really rocked my world and opened my eyes and totally gave me a new lease on life.

Last stop …. compassion because this is NOT about getting it right.

“Shit hits the fan
so fertilizer
can rain.”
― Jackie Viramontez

It’s often in chaos, not calm, that change happens. Sometimes we have to stop trying to get it right and let the chaos open new doors but to do this we need a good dose of compassion.

We’re not great at compassion as a society and in a way it’s understandable. We’re good at pity and self loathing and feeling sorry for ourselves but not great at compassion or self-compassion. We often instantly react to how someone else treats us or we treat ourselves badly. Compassion is a way of being with ourselves, or others, in the same way, we would be with someone we loved dearly. Sometimes it means getting a nudge in the right direction and other times it means allowing for a hug and some downtime. When we’re trying to get things right, there is a pass and a fail but in a new game, a new way of being there’s only curiosity and joy that yields more of the inner and external results we want I.e. to feel better or to get more money or to feel more loved or whatever it is.

How it works in real life?

The other day I went cycling with my mates here. I felt like shit. I really did! (That’s the TRUTH). I kept telling myself “I hate this sport, it’s too hard” (BELIEF). Then I thought “Okay Lisa, this is shit and you don’t feel good.” (TRUTH) I told the guys and of course, they told me to relax and just enjoy myself. Believe it or not, this is an almost impossible instruction for me to follow. What do you mean enjoy myself? I felt they were speaking Japanese, not even Spanish!

Anyway, long story short I relaxed, I forgot about the time and I had a great ride. (OPEN DOOR) I arrived home smiling. Ya’sta – that’s it! No drama, just fun.

But sometimes as we know, it just isn’t that easy.

Sometimes shit happens

You may think “well that’s all well and good with cycling but I can’t afford to feed my family or I’m battling with cancer or my business is dying” but it’s the same story. Sometimes it takes longer than 20 minutes. And sometimes we have to grieve what we’re leaving or recognise our fears, which takes time. Be compassionate with yourself – you got this!

One of my favorite poets, David Whyte, once said “sometimes God closes one door, and then slams another. Sometimes it’s like that. So you have a big cry (TRUTH) and then a cup of tea (OPEN DOOR) and you come back for another round, a bit like Mike Tyson tomorrow.

Sometimes my friends, shit happens and you just have to pack it all up for the day, grab a hug or climb into your bed and try again tomorrow. As my dad always says “Another day, another chance to F*ck it all up again”

“There is always somebody about to ruin your day, if not your life.”
― Charles Bukowski, Pulp

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