Overcoming Obstacles

< Back to Engineer Executive – Jessica LaFond

Overcoming Obstacles (2:52)

“You’re going to make mistakes. It’s how quickly do you learn from and act differently based on those mistakes that can help you actually pursue something. And so an obstacle is just an opportunity for you to learn how to do it better. If you’re really going to get to this end goal, then everything in your way is just something you got to step on or push to the side or use to your advantage in some way.”

Role models in order of appearance: Myra Jolivet, Lee Ann Kim, Aisha Krieger, Noelle Bowlin, Charisse R. Lillie, Linda Strause, Ph.D., and Alexandra Drane.

Video Transcript

I’ve learned that obstacles are what we consider roadblocks or, let’s say, somebody is in your way for what you want to do. Those things are lessons.

We deal with obstacles every day, right? And you have to make a decision. Either we can deal with it straight on. You can bring other people to help you in dealing with this obstacle. There are different options. And I think that life experiences help you decide which way to go.

I overcome obstacles by setting a goal and then breaking it down to task level because sometimes the goal is overwhelming. Sometimes overcoming an obstacle is more than I can think about all at once. But if I break that obstacle down into bite-sized pieces and just handle a little bit at a time, it makes it so I can overcome it.

I try to tell myself it’s just a challenge because my initial emotional response – this isn’t a logical response; it’s an emotional response – is to feel that fear and anxiety and nervousness, and that’s all natural, and there’s nothing wrong with that. And I tell myself, “Don’t get down on yourself for feeling scared. There’s nothing wrong with that.” But then you need to take a moment and say, “What is it that I have to do to try to attempt to overcome this obstacle or challenge?”

I think that you have to be very realistic about what you can do. There are some things that you have control over; there’s some things that you don’t. And so part of overcoming an obstacle is really trying to understand what is it that you have control over, and then how can you use those things that you have control over to make whatever this situation is better?

Sometimes as young girls, we create our own obstacles, right? And we create more drama than is necessary. I think keeping it simple is is easy and never forgetting to ask for help. We can’t always do it alone.

You overcome obstacles by looking to yourself and saying, “I can do this,” and by not being afraid to seek advice, help, collaborations.

Don’t let the obstacle change you. There’s a time to speak up; there’s a time to let things ride because sometimes things do resolve themselves. If you change, you’ve gotten off your path.

What’s really a true test of how badly you want to overcome the obstacle is how badly do you want the item on the other side of the obstacle? So you persevere. Life, it’s not a sprint; it’s a marathon.

You’re going to make mistakes. It’s how quickly do you learn from and act differently based on those mistakes that can help you actually pursue something. And so an obstacle is just an opportunity for you to learn how to do it better. If you’re really going to get to this end goal, then everything in your way is just something you got to step on or push to the side or use to your advantage in some way.

Discussion Guide

Independent Learning Guide: This all-purpose guide can be used by educators, parents, and mentors to jumpstart a lively discussion about overcoming obstacles.

Classroom Lesson Plan

Classroom Lesson Plan: This step-by-step lesson plan is available to guide a more in-depth “before, during, and after” learning experience when viewing the video with students. This lesson plan is also suitable for use in after-school programs and other educational settings.

Empowerment Activities

Use Empowerment Activities as a fun way to reinforce the video topic and build community with your students.

Fun Page Activity

Fun Page Activity: Sometimes obstacles are all in the way you think about something. Practice turning limiting thoughts like “I might make a mistake” into empowering messages to yourself. (Everyone makes mistakes, and I can learn from mine.)