Hitting Roadblocks

Churchill-painting-at-the-EaselEver find yourself trying to get momentum on a project only to be continually foiled by hitting roadblocks? I do. Lots of things can get in the way.




Fear (of failure, of success, that there’s not enough money, that people will laugh)



Poor planning

Lack of skill

That voice that says you can’t do it

Did I mention fear yet?

I struggle with each of these demons. A recent issue for me is what I call bandwidth. I notice my ability to think shuts down long before my body does. When I was writing my dissertation it was difficult to do all the things I needed to do in the office. Right now, we’re in a busy season at the office. That makes it challenging to give myself to other parts of my life—family, my spiritual life, continued learning.

It’s a reminder to me of our limitations as human beings. I like having multiple irons in the fire and moving from one thing to another. I usually read multiple books simultaneously. I often have projects within my projects in each sphere of life I inhabit. The danger in all this is the potential failure to acknowledge the opportunity cost associated with taking on so much at one time. It’s obvious that time limits our ability to complete projects. We all know our skill, experience, education and talents affect what we can accomplish within a given time frame. What we often neglect to consider is the capacity of our bandwidth (you might call it your mental energy, ability to think, or other things) for a given type of task and overwhelm ourselves in one area. (I’ve heard that Winston Churchill liked to paint and do brickwork to relax and get a break from the meetings and reading and writing he did.)

I’m learning to re-prioritize my time such that I establish Sabbath time, priority time and response time each week. Honestly, this way of approaching my life is a new thing. But it’s revolutionary. I no longer feel guilty for taking the time I need to recharge and re-energize. I also don’t feel guilty for closing my door, turning off my email and working on the things that matter most—FIRST. Now, when I am in response-mode, I am free to give myself to others and their needs. This is new, but I’m excited and will keep you posted!

What do you do when you hit roadblocks?




  1. What a great post, Stephen! I’ve been reading through your blog (thanks to a link from your lovely wife from twitter,) and I have to say, it’s refreshment for the spirit. I especially related to this topic. I’m still trying to figure out what to do when I reach those roadblocks, but I have a better idea now of what to try: the idea of ‘shutting the door’ and turning off that outside connection, if only briefly, should help the recharge process. (Especially, I think, if one is an introvert.) Thank you again for sharing your thoughts!

    1. Sosae, Thanks for your thoughts! I agree, shutting the door can go a long way to help regain focus. I’m an extrovert and need a lot of contact with people. Still, there are some things that require us to close the door, turn off our phones, disconnect and focus. Thanks for your comment!

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