Using Obstacles

Discipline Series #1

September 16, 2021

Hey everybody is Sam with National Sports Overtime podcast. For those of you who took the time yesterday to the E + R = O System article. I know it was long and after talking to both sounding boards in the article I probably should have cut it at least in half. It may have been too much to digest at one time. Another friend told me that he felt like I was repeating myself. Well yeah, I was…on purpose. It’s a habit that I’ve had for a while. It takes six times before an adult learner truly remembers something and learns it. They usually need a refresher on it within 6–9 months with yearly refresher. Your players may need to hear it even more. I definitely need more because I don’t remember Trig or even regular math much anymore. Oh well.

The main point I wanted to get across was that you can’t control an event like an injury, a bad referee call, a hurricane or someone dying. You however can control how you respond or your behavior to that event. How you respond to that event determines your outcome. Whether you get better or get better faster, how you react to the call, how quickly you get to safety or how you go through the grief process. So see this isn’t just used in sports. It can be used in life.

For now we are going to call this The Discipline Series. If you can think of a better name then let me know. Not sure if it will be daily. I want to keep these rather short and impactful. Sometimes they are going to be about discipline and sometimes may be stories to use to emphasize something we’ve discussed previously. I may just need to reiterate how an event and your response to it can lead to different outcomes. We may need to explore if we use this reponse here could be the outcome, but if we use a completely response then how we could get a completely different outcome. No, sometimes no matter what your response is you may not win the game. You have to determine your own definition of a win or what is successful.

Let’s discuss obstacles. I was talking to a friend on Facebook and he was going through something difficult right now. I thought about that and even commented back to him that it’s seems like fall start a lot of people’s struggles downhill until winter hits or is even over. I never thought I would be writing this on September 15th, but it IS pumpkin spice season already. We aren’t going to talk about that because I don’t need my inbox full of arguments. (smile) Also the upcoming holidays can either change things for people where they enjoy getting into the holiday spirit with Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas. They get excited and start looking forward to the new year coming up. Then again sometimes the holidays are almost too much for some people. They start looking back on their year and what they haven’t accomplished. It gets them down because they only look at what they didn’t do and what expectations they didn’t make. Then people miss loved ones that they’ve lost and it hits them extremely hard. I learned that one on my own since my dad died suddenly and unexpectantly the day before my birthday. It hit me hard for years, but then I realized that it was an obstacle in my path. I thought back to my mentor in high school then later in coaching and how he discussed obstacles. 

See sometimes obstacles are put in your path in order to make you better. You have to learn to feed on the obstacles that are put in your path like a fire does. Think about that for a minute. What does a fire do when it comes upon an obstacle? If a fire starts in your living room and it comes upon your end table. What does the fire do? Quit? Sit there and cry to itself? No, it finds a way to devour it and use that end table to grow and advance. Fire doesn’t become overwhelmed by obstacles in its path. It really doesn’t. It doesn’t have those kind of feelings to deal with. Yes, we do, but how we CHOOSE to respond to our event of coming upon an obstacle determines our outcome. Fire figures out what it needs to do with that obstacle. We have to also. However, we may not have success the first time. We may have to try again or try something else to get through that obstacle or even ask for help with an obstacle in our life. A fire can’t grow or advance without obstacles in its way. Can anyone? Think about the people you respect. It may be because they are the best in your field or for your players it’s the stars of whatever sport they play. Research them. They all had struggles and obstacles in their path that they had to figure out the right response.

Fires are like us. They all want to get bigger, better, faster and stronger. Remember it wants to grow and advance. It has to find a way to make it through the obstacle in its path. Different obstacles that are put in your path are not things for you to resent. Challenges are just opportunities for you to build yourself up and accelerate forward. So the next time you are going through something difficult and feels so overwhelming, you have to remember to be like a fire. Find a way to use your obstacle. Find a way for it to make you better, so that you can grow as an athlete or even as a person. Think maybe you have this obstacle in your path so you can show others how to respond to this event. To teach them now as a role model or to teach them later as you help them grow.

You can write me at or tweet me at @NatSportsOT. Yes, the DMs or PMs are open. I hope to have more short articles for all of us to learn from and hopefully get us better. Let me know if this is making sense and if it’s helping. If it’s not then I need to respond differently. So I’ll be writing to you soon and hopefully someday to see YOU down the road.

This series is to help create effective leaders, strengthen your culture and to impact people. Hopefully this helps if you are going through something difficult that feels overwhelming. We want to discuss how to become like fire to those obstacles that are defeating you.

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