It’s a busy time of year. Your to-do list is overflowing. Let me get right to the point — by hook or by crook go read this book.
The nature of coaching is obstacles. Identifying and overcoming them. That’s what we do. What we teach others to do.
- 10 seconds left and you need the ball – obstacle
- 1 week to get 3 recruits for next year’s class – obstacle
- Practice ends at 6:00 pm, your son needs a ride to the doctor at 5:00 pm – obstacle
- A bus costs $750 but your budget only has $109 – obstacle
- You love coaching but you can’t pay your bills – obstacle
The list is endless.
Also endless is the supply of books, videos, podcasts about being successful. However, there are few, if any, resources on turning an obstacle into an advantage. That’s what The Obstacle Is The Way Does.
The author Ryan Holiday writes:
This thing in front of you. This issue. This obstacle—this frustrating, unfortunate, problematic, unexpected problem preventing you from doing what you want to do. That thing you dread or secretly hope will never happen. What if it wasn’t so bad? What if embedded inside it or inherent in it were certain benefits—benefits only for you? What would you do? What do you think most people would do?
Using the philosophy of Stoics as a lever, Holiday shows how to take an obstacle, and make it an advantage.
The Obstacle Is The Way is becoming mandatory reading in the sports world. It’s on the required reading list for multiple NFL coaches and entire teams. Entrepreneur magazine noted it should be on everyone’s holiday book list. And Sports Illustrated did an article on it in the recent December 8th issue.
Holiday has a knack of helping the reading grasp the issue:
Every obstacle is unique to each of us. But the responses they elicit are the same: Fear. Frustration. Confusion. Helplessness. Depression. Anger. … On the other hand, not everyone is paralyzed. We watch in awe as some seem to turn those very obstacles, which stymie us, into launching pads for themselves. How do they do that? What’s the secret?
But Holiday goes further than theory —detailing how to process and overcome obstacles. Everywhere you turn in coaching, there is an obstacle. Which means everywhere you turn is an advantage, an opportunity, a chance to:
- Make a difference
- Learn about yourself
- Do the impossible
- Take unexpected action
As Holiday writes:
So the first step is: Take the bat off your shoulder and give it a swing. You’ve got to start, to go anywhere. Now let’s say you’ve already done that. Fantastic. You’re already ahead of most people. But let’s ask an honest question: Could you be doing more? You probably could—there’s always more. At minimum, you could be trying harder. You might have gotten started, but your full effort isn’t in it—and that shows.
Action You Can (and gosh darn it, you should) Take
Do something nice (and wise) for yourself this season, or share the love with someone else. Whether you get a print, digital, or audio copy of The Obstacle Is The Way (affiliate link), borrow it from your local library (prepare for a wait), or heist your pal’s copy (please don’t tell him it was my idea) — get and consume a copy. You WILL be a better coach, athlete, person because of it.
I hope you find joy and peace during these next few weeks. You deserve it, and I look forward to connecting again in 2016.
Coach well, be well. We need ya!