When pursuing your life goals, certain external obstacles may exist that prevent a person from attaining their dreams. These obstacles may include not having sufficient resources, dealing with a family crisis or struggling with an illness. However, there are times when it is people, themselves, who are limitations to their own success. Sometimes pursuing a dream requires a person to move out of their own way.
You may be that person who has dreams but have become your own hindrance. While you may have dibbled and dabbled in your pursuits, you have never really “gone all out.” You have thought of great ideas only to later push them under the rug. You may need to ask yourself: What’s really hold holding me back?
The following are four major obstacles, or should I say, self-imposed obstacles, that hinders a person’s pursuit of their dreams. Identifying these obstacles will allow you to take the necessary steps to overcome them.
I believe the strongest obstacle to a person pursuing their dreams is their lack of belief that their dreams are possible. There are many people who have never pursued anything big, simply because they didn’t believe it was possible.
Nelson Bowel said, “The first and most important step towards success is the feeling that we can succeed.“ It’s all in what you believe. Jesus, who taught a great deal on faith and belief, said, “All things are possible for him who believes.” (Mark 9:23)
It could be your background that keeps you from believing you can accomplish great things. You may have come from a place where you’ve never seen anyone in your circle do anything spectacular. You’ve told yourself that because of mistakes in your past, or because of your circumstances, your dreams are unattainable or too “unrealistic” to ever come true.
One of my favorite quotes is by Confucius who said, “The man who says he can, and the man who says he can’t, are both correct.” Over and over, we have seen and heard success stories of people who accomplished their dreams, in spite of their rough backgrounds. They simply had the courage to believe.
A second obstacle that people face when pursuing their dreams is fear. Fear will literally stagnate you and cause you to give up your dreams completely. The following are three types of fears that people often have when pursuing their dreams.
Fear of failure
“What if I fail?” is a valid question for you to ask yourself when it comes to pursuing your dreams. Unfortunately, failure is a possibility when you step out to pursue your dreams.
However, it should never stop you from trying. In anything great achieved, there is always some level of risk-taking involved. Peter F. Drucker said, “In every success story, you find someone who has made a courageous decision.”
There are many people who have never pursued their dreams because they feared they would fail. Some people have taken risks and went after their dreams, only to be left with disappointment and heartache.
It is important to let your past failures teach you, rather than prevent you from ever trying again. As Thomas Edison said, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
Fear of success
You may be thinking, “Is there really such a thing as a fear of success?” The answer is yes, and many people don’t realize they have a fear of success. I believe the underlying issue of having a fear of success is that you actually have a fear of change and being moved out of your comfort zone.
For example, there are many people who believe that they could succeed, however, they also know that with success comes change, which they may not be ready for. Someone who has dreams of starting their own business may become hesitant when thinking of the amount of time and work needed to run a business. They may continue to settle for being an employee because of the level of comfort and familiarity.
Fear of people
Elbert Hubbert is quoted as saying, “To avoid criticism, say nothing, do nothing, be nothing.” Many people never pursue their dreams because they fear what others will think or say. You must know that in everything you do, you will have critics. Never allow others to intimidate you or talk you out of your ideas. Just because they can’t see it happening, doesn’t mean it won’t. As long as YOU believe in your dream, you should keep moving forward, regardless of how many people support you.
The definition of perfectionism is “the refusal to accept any standard short of perfection.” Many believe that perfectionism is a positive quality to have. However, being a perfectionist can do more harm than good.
Bene Brown, author of The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who you Are wrote, “Understanding the difference between healthy striving and perfectionism is critical to laying down the shield and picking up your life. Research shows that perfectionism hampers success. In fact, it’s often the path to depression, anxiety, addiction, and life paralysis.” Aiming for perfection can literally cause you to become immobile in your pursuits.
A quote by Anne Wilson Schaef states, “Perfectionism is self-abuse of the highest order.” People who want to get it “just right” are extremely hard on themselves and often become frustrated in their attempts. They have a tendency to feel like failures when their projects are not perfect.
It is important to always strive to put out quality work, but make sure your aim for perfection is not taking precedence over getting the job done.
4. Lack of Focus
Not being focused can be a significant barrier to achieving your dreams. One way people lack focus is by attempting to take on multiple projects at once. If you are someone who is driven and has several goals, it is important that you do not become so overwhelmed with tasks that you end up not getting anything done.
Tony Robbins said, “Most people have no idea of the giant capacity we can immediately command when we focus all of our resources on mastering a single area of our lives.” It may help to write out your goals and give yourself timelines, not moving to the next goal until you complete the first one.
Distractions in your life can also contribute to your lack of focus. Distractions can include too much TV, chatting on the phone, or going out too much.It is important to set boundaries for yourself and make sure that nothing or no one keeps you makes you lose focus on what you want to accomplish.
It’s up to You
As you can see, there are many obstacles a person faces when pursuing their dreams. It takes self-reflection to determine if you are the enemy to your own success. Once you identify your obstacles, you can then take the necessary steps to overcome them. Remember, your dreams are absolutely possible, but it’s up to you to believe and so the work to achieve them.
Which of these obstacles have you dealt with in pursuing your dreams? Let us know in the comment section.