“Obstacles are detours in the right direction.” – Gabby Bernstein

Roadblocks—challenges that prevent forward progress at work or in our personal lives—can hit you like a ton of bricks. They can stop you from reaching your goals and feel like a weight pressing on your shoulders.

Often, we don’t even realize we’re encountering a roadblock. We simply feel… bad. We’re tired and frustrated and irritable. We chew at a problem, ruminating over it without coming to a conclusion about how to move forward.

But, roadblocks are also opportunities. They provide the chance to evaluate our habits and learn more about ourselves. As the quote from Gabby Bernstein points out, roadblocks can point us in the right direction.

The Be Team has outlined a process for identifying roadblocks, below. Give it a try the next time you encounter a challenge.

  1. Name the feeling. As we mentioned above, we often don’t realize we’ve encountered a roadblock until we’re already feeling the effects. The first step to recognize you’ve run into a challenge is to name the feeling—whether it’s being stuck, frustrated, or exhausted.
  2. Write a situation synopsis. Once you’ve named the feeling and accepted you have encountered a roadblock, open a journal and free-write about the challenge. Just let the pen flow and fill up as many pages as you can. You may surprise yourself with what you write. This process will help you put all the cards on the table in a way you may not have before.
  3. Bullet points. Now, condense the situation into bullet points. Try to be as unbiased as possible and cover the following: current situation, hang-ups, and desired outcome. By organizing your thoughts, you’ll start to see the situation from a new perspective.
  4. Brainstorm actions. This is the longest part of the process. Now that you have your bullet points, think through actions you can take to navigate each bullet point. Make a list. Create options. If nothing comes to mind, meditate or give yourself a day free from worrying about your current roadblock. Once you’ve given yourself a breather, take another look at your bullets. Take your roadblock to a friend or mentor. Be patient and compassionate with yourself and understand this is a process.
  5. Try and try again. Working through these bullets could take a few days or weeks. You might have to try several times before you make progress. Don’t be discouraged; keep trying. Keep an open mind and don’t be afraid to work through the steps again for a new perspective.

Roadblocks are a fact of life and if we train ourselves to see them as opportunities, rather than weights, we can work through them faster and reach a greater state of contentment.

Other helpful reads:

Creativity blocks
How to cultivate resiliency 
Tips to calm a wandering mind