Byron's Babbles

Obstacles Vs. Barriers

Posted in Uncategorized by Dr. Byron L. Ernest on October 30, 2019

Today at the 2019 iNACOL Symposium I got to thinking about the terms obstacles and barriers because a speaker mentioned we need to recognize they are not the same. Many times these terms are used interchangeably. As leaders, however, we need to look at these mutually exclusively. An obstacle is something that impedes or stands in the way of progress. Barriers are structures that block/bar passage.

In other words:

  • if it slows you down it is an obstacle.
  • if it impedes or stops you, it is a barrier.

Think about this: most of the difficult situations and circumstances we are presented in life are difficult because they present us with a difficult choice. We need to notice where we, or our organizations get stopped. Then distinguish whether you are confronted by an obstacle or barrier.

As long as you have options, your difficult circumstance is an obstacle; regardless of whether you use the options or not. Obstacles, most generally, require a change. Sometimes this involves a change we ourselves need to make. These can be tough changes. In the future we need to begin to notice where we get stopped and start taking time to distinguish whether we are being confronted by an obstacle or a barrier.

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