• Steve Boatwright

"Ouch" I hit a...

Hitting a brick wall means we have come across, or it seems we have come across an insurmountable obstacle. We become stuck or unmotivated. Maybe you have been working hard on achieving a goal you set for yourself and you cannot find the information to progress any further; you are stuck. Perhaps you have been trying to resolve a conflict and since you are not moving forward; you feel stuck. It may be that you are overworked, tired, and bored, all of which can make you feel like you have hit a wall and cannot get past it.


I believe it starts with something called acceptance. Accept that, in life, we all experience that wall. You are not alone at the wall. Your wall may be relatively short or appear to be as high as a skyscraper. Do not ignore or avoid it, the wall is just a starting point.


It is also useful to consider if there are any triggers to you hitting the wall. Do you notice a time of the day or year when you feel like you are veering toward the wall? Does another person trigger you? Does the weather or a season trigger the "wall"? What you are doing by identifying any triggers is becoming more self-aware and conscious. The more self-aware you become of your thought habits, emotions, and behaviors, the better the opportunity to work on what thoughts, habits, and behaviors you wish to project.


If you hit a brick wall, ask yourself what your thoughts were five minutes before you hit it. Write these down. Notice where the ideas come from. Is your inner voice realistic? Is it tiredness or is someone or something else creeping in? Notice how you feel about these thoughts. What emotions come up for you? Notice if the wall is real or perceived. Notice if there are alternative ways to keep you on track. How has your energy changed? Notice that hitting a wall is typically temporary and that you are not always up against the wall. Reflect on when you are not at the wall - how is your energy then? What keeps you motivated when you are not at the wall?


Ask yourself what you would be capable of doing if you had a higher level of energy and recognize what helps you feel more active and energized; if you need to take a break, take it. I lay back in my chair and put some relaxing instrumental music on and rest for 20 minutes or so. With a clearer mind, you will focus better and observe more.


Acknowledge what is possible at the time you hit a wall. Reflect on when you did push through to accomplish something. Better still, prior to hitting the wall, put in place steps that you can really take to support yourself at that time without guilt. Likewise, learn to understand what motivates you. When you hit the wall, think of what can you do to motivate yourself enough to climb over it, or better yet, knock the wall down, and with your head held up high walk right on through it!


Speak to someone you trust, like a friend, a family member, or a colleague, or consider speaking to a third party such as a coach, someone who doesn't know you and won't judge you.


Finally, trust in yourself that by owning your thoughts and behaviors, and by talking doubts or concerns through, you can eventually minimize experiences of hitting a wall. Motivation and action lead to great results. It is crucial to address any triggers that lead us to hit a wall and to be honest about its reality. We may not always be highly motivated, but we need some level of motivation to accomplish the results we each desire.

"The brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something." Randy Pausch

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