KarenPery.com | Overcoming obstacles is as easy as …
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Overcoming obstacles is as easy as …

This week, my Into the Fire partner Gary Mahler and I spoke with incredibly accomplished women who want to join our upcoming surf retreat weekend.

As we spoke with each, we learned about her courage and bravery, her fears and failures, and what it takes to break through the obstacles that keep us from having exactly what we want.

Through these conversations, I’ve discovered something huge!  It boils down to this:

1. knowing what you want
2. believing you can have it
3. committing to do and be whatever it takes to create what you want

Let me illustrate this with my personal surfer girl quest.

Karen Pery surfs at Into the Fire Sessions 8/25/12

#1 I want to surf solo. Since I first stepped (goofy) foot on a board in 2012, I’ve had a lifetime of micro-moments that build my enthusiasm and stoke for surfing along with injuries and setbacks. At this point in my journey, my passion far exceeds my skills and talents.

#2 Because I keep going, I am making progress. I’ll get there eventually. The injuries and setbacks are not inconsequential, nor are the fears that I will keep repeating them (or worse). I continue to inch towards my goal.

#3 I also keep going back for physical therapy, acupuncture and massage. I work out, take lessons, try new equipment, teachers, and techniques, receive feedback, fall down, get back up, read, watch, and keep learning about the sport and what I need to do to improve. Here’s why.

In every wave I’ve caught, there is a moment of pure connection. I can feel the energy of the wave behind me, and I know exactly when it’s time to pop up on my board. I move from paddling to surfing in less than a blink of an eye. The ride, no matter how long or short, is timeless. I am completely immersed. I am one with all that is.

In the world of psychology and neuroscience, this experience I describe is called being “in the zone” or flow.

In my world, it feels like magic.

“The best moments in our lives are not the passive, receptive, relaxing times… The best moments usually occur if a person’s body or mind is stretched to its limits in a voluntary effort to accomplish something difficult and worthwhile.” – Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience, 1990, p. 3)

Increasing the aspects of life where I create and experience flow, I am happier, more productive, find more value and meaning. If that wasn’t enough (it is), when I am filled up and stoked from within, I can give and share more with others.

Professionally, I begin work with people (individuals and organizations) on their #1. Somewhere, deep down they have a strong sense of #2 (otherwise we wouldn’t have a #1) which we cultivate intentionally. #3 is where we spend most of our time.

Number 3 is a really big deal.

Committing to do whatever it takes means…being willing to let go of control, giving up perfectionism, being selfless, being selfish, breaking cultural taboos, rewriting the stories you tell yourself, potentially looking foolish, taking risks, making plans, changing plans, having regrets, trusting, listening, having uncomfortable conversations, being honest instead of nice, being willing to get hurt, giving up the past, not worrying about the future, asking for help, receiving help, letting people down, letting people in, saying yes, saying no, being responsible for all of your choices, being dependent on others, it’s not how you were raised, sacrificing something important, making yourself vulnerable, being judged, forgiving yourself, forgiving your parents, spending more, spending less, working harder, you don’t know enough, you know too much, letting it be easy, setting boundaries, being clear, failing, dealing with the unexpected, succeeding…I could go on, but I think you see my point.

It’s no wonder we’re scared to change. You have to dig through a lot of fertilizer to make your flowers grow. 

There are a million reasons how and why life gets between you and what you want. Identify them one by one, test if they are true, seek new experiences to gather new data, and as you eliminate each uncertainty and variable, I bet you find yourself closer and closer to realizing your dreams, goals and visions and the future begins to look different than it does today.

Don’t examine the obstacles, and you’ll experience what Harvard’s Robert Kegan describes in Immunity to Change, trying to move forward with one foot on the gas and one on the brake.

I’d love for you to discover this for yourself at Into the Fire (our website is updated with all good stuff – interviews, photo galleries, podcast, event details!). The women’s retreat begins Thursday, August 25, and space is available.

One more thing, if you haven’t seen the story of Rockin’ 1000, spend six minutes of your life watching a dream come true.

Live life with all you’ve got.

1Comment
  • LeeAnne Berlinsky
    Posted at 11:27h, 18 April Reply

    Karen,
    You continue to be an inspiration to so many people – me especially. Keep doing what you are doing!!!

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