Obstacles can vary immensely and yet, at some point, everyone has had them stand in the way of progress.
In the age of social media and its ability to incite constant comparison to millions of others around the globe, it can feel especially upsetting when you’re unable to overcome personal obstacles.
The pressure of having to achieve personal goals, combined with the self-doubt that often accompanies obstacles, can all too often feel impossible to overcome. I didn’t realise exactly how much I doubted my own abilities to overcome obstacles until last year when, during my summer vacation between university years, I applied for a job that involved guiding a bunch of sixteen-year olds on a month-long programme. I had hurriedly applied for the job amid exams and forgotten all about it - until I received an email with an interview time and date. After a tough first year living away from home and having to cope with the pressure of exams, my confidence wasn’t all too great. I had spent the year mostly socialising with a few people on my course and when I wasn’t doing that I was studying for exams. The morning of the interview arrived and I, riddled with self-doubt and fear, decided not to go.
Later that day, my brother returned from work to ask how my interview had gone. I told him that I had decided not to go and he mentioned that I, at one point, had been excited about the prospect of a summer job. I came to the realisation that it was true – that I was letting my own mental obstacles of self-doubt and fear hold me back from doing things that I had looked forward to. I emailed the interviewer and he arranged a new interview date for me. The interview wasn’t easy- it was a group interview which made it difficult to stand out and way more nerve-wracking, but I’d already crossed a few hurdles to get there and made the most of it. To my surprise, a couple of days later I received a job offer and, with my newly found ability to leave my comfort zone, I left home at the start of July ready to face any other challenges that may come my way.
The job itself was challenging, but there were moments, such as when my group told me that they were glad to have me as a leader, that made it memorable and rewarding. After returning home, I realised that I had almost missed out on the month of personal growth just because I feared how things might have turned out if I went to an interview.
It was at this moment that I realised that obstacles are crucial in helping you to learn and grow as an individual and overcoming them can help you to understand what you’re truly capable of.
I still often find myself faced with obstacles standing in front of my goals, but knowing that I did something that made me a little uncomfortable (attending an interview), but ultimately led to an unforgettable summer helps me to understand what I’m capable of.