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Lewis Howes

How to Overcome Obstacles

The greatest people are made by the greatest challenges.

I’ve had a huge number of people tell me they enjoyed my past solo rounds and that they wanted more of them.

As a result, I wanted to make this episode for you about the 5 biggest obstacles I have overcome in my life.

I know you’ve gone through your own number of challenges, and you’re probably going through some right now.

It probably feels to you like life is just throwing you one thing after another – and it is.

Every time we overcome something there is always another thing that will come into our path and feel like it’s holding us down.

I want you to know, it’s not a bad thing.

“This is happening for a reason. What is that reason?”  

“Give yourself permission to move toward your dreams.”  

These challenges are what make us stronger. They are the things that help to define us, and prepare us for a bigger and better life.

They don’t have to be giant immovable boulders that make it impossible to achieve what you want, unless you let them.

You can either choose to let them happen to you and become excuses, holding you down from what you want, or you can let them happen for you, and let them be a defining factor that makes you a better person who can contribute more to the world around you.

At any point when I was dealing with these obstacles, I could have let them keep me down. I could have thrown in the towel and accepted a life of mediocrity.

But I didn’t.

Instead, I chose to power through them. I let my course in life change, and I’ve become so much happier than I ever could have if I had let myself become a victim of circumstance.

I know people have been through so much more than I have. In fact, you may have been through even worse things. But, for me, these were defining obstacles I had to overcome.

I wanted to share them with you to give you some inspiration. To let you know how I overcame these things, in hopes they can somehow help you overcome your own challenges, whether it’s now, or in the future.

Listen this episode to learn about the 5 biggest obstacles I overcame, and how I did it,  on Episode 640.

Some Questions I Ask:

In this episode, you will learn:

  • The 5 Obstacles I have overcome to create greatness (02:45)
  • How dyslexia affected my life (7:28)
  • How my mother supported me in school (9:48)
  • Dealing with my parent’s divorce when I was younger (12:10)
  • What it was like for my brother to go to prison (16:24)
  • When I really fell in love with my family (19:04)
  • How I lost my dreams (21:31)
  • What I did to get out of my rut (23:14)
  • How my mother helped my dreams (25:14)
  • My childhood sexual abuse (28:17)
  • What it takes to overcome the past (31:03)
  • What makes the greatest people in the world (34:27)
  • Plus much more…
Connect with
Lewis Howes

Transcript of this Episode

Lewis Howes:   This is episode number 640, a solo round on How To Overcome Any Obstacle.

Welcome to The School of Greatness. My name is Lewis Howes, former pro-athlete turned lifestyle entrepreneur and each week we bring you an inspiring person or message to help you discover how to unlock your inner greatness. Thanks for spending some time with me today. Now, let the class begin.

Ryan Holiday said that, “Failure shows us the way, by showing us what isn’t the way.”

Welcome to another solo round. I did one of these recently and so many of you keep saying, “Do more of these, please do more,” so you guys share what you want, I’m listening, and I’m giving you and delivering. And this solo round is about five key obstacles I faced, growing up. Some of you may have heard some of them, and others probably haven’t heard any of these.

So I wanted to get a little vulnerable, a little real, here, and share a lot of these challenges, because so many people come to me and say, “Lewis, it looks like you’ve just had everything handed to you. It looks like you’ve had it easy to get to where you’re at, and I want to talk about the different challenges that I’ve been through, how I overcame them.

And also, as a Mother’s Day special, talk about how my mom supported me through each one of these challenges. And how I believe it’s so important that we have moms, especially supporting sons, all their children, obviously, but for me, as a man, growing up, it was really key to have a mother, like my mom, to support me going through these challenges, because I don’t know if I would have been able to get through them as gracefully without her.

So, love you, Mom! Happy Mother’s Day! Make sure you guys send some love to your moms as well.

And, you know, it’s easy to think that you can’t achieve greatness, because your challenges are too big, or the things that you’re going through in life are too hard, but the truth is, a lot of us face big obstacles. In fact, some of the greatest individuals in the world, face the greatest obstacles, and they’re the ones who are able to create extraordinary results. So what is it that they did and how can you apply that in your own life?

In this episode, again, I’m talking about the five examples of obstacles that I’ve faced and overcome in order to pursue my dreams. In order to get to where I’m at now, and to keep pursuing the dreams that I have. And, again, a big thank you to my mom, who I’m going to be reflecting on, and how she guided me and supported through each instance and the lesson I learned from her.

So, the five obstacles I’ve overcome to create greatness, I’m going to share with you, right now, what they are, and then we’re going to get into each one in just a second.

One: Being dyslexic and struggling in school, my entire childhood.

Number two: My parents fighting and going through divorce, what that was like.

Number three: My brother going to prison, and during that four-and-a-half year window, of him being in prison, I really didn’t have many friends. I wasn’t allowed to have friends during that time.

Number four: Getting injured and losing my dream of playing professional football.

And number five: Acknowledging and working through childhood sexual abuse that I faced.

So, I’m going to talk about each on of those, break it down, and the lesson I learned from my mom on that. And the lessons that I learned in general on how to overcome these challenges. Now, listen, some people have faced far greater challenges than these, but, for me, they were extremely daunting to overcome and it felt like life was always going to end at certain times.

At least, that’s the story, the fear I had built up in my mind and in my body that life was over, when these challenges were happening. So, we all go through challenges, and I want to break down how I went through mine, and how I continue to go through challenges today. Because it’s not like the challenges have stopped, now that I’m at where I’m at.

But before we dive in, I want to give a big thank you to the Fan of the Week! Again, so many great, positive reviews come through every single day over on iTunes. If you haven’t left one yet, please leave us a review, it helps us spread the message of greatness and our mission is to continue to inspire and impact the world, to help people overcome their challenges, their obstacles and live their greatest life.

And this one’s from Juan The-Fit-Dad Montoya, who says, “Lewis, The School of Greatness Podcast needs to be a course offered in high schools. I wish I had something like this to listen to back in grade school. Your podcast is part of my morning routine. It keeps me focussed and reminds me of my purpose each day and I am always excited to learn from each episode. I am addicted! And I want to thank you, man, you have changed my life! You’re awesome!”

So, Juan The-Fit-Dad, thank you so much for the review! You’re the Fan of the Week, my man! I appreciate you very much. And, for me, this is the stuff that I wish I would have learned in school. Math and Social Studies and all these other classes were really challenging for me to pay attention, and I wish they would have started teaching some of these things in school.

Leadership, emotional intelligence, about nutrition, about relationships, about wealth generation, all these things we talk about, I wish we were taught this. And that’s why I began the podcast, over five years ago. Because I wanted to create the thing that I needed the most in my life, and that I wanted to be in the world.

A big thank you to our sponsors, ZipRecruiter. If you are hiring, if you’re looking to grow your team, your business, you’ve got to have an A-team with your company, and posting your position to job sites and waiting around and hoping for resumés to come in, for the right people to see it, it’s exhausting. ZipRecruiter knew that there was a smarter way, so they built a platform that finds the right job candidates for you.

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Businesses of all sizes trust ZipRecruiter for their hiring needs and right now, my listeners can try ZipRecruiter for free. That’s right, you can go there right now and try it for free. Just go to ziprecruiter.com/greatness. Again, check it out right now, for free, at ziprecruiter.com/greatness, because it’s the smarter way to hire.

And this episode is also brought to you by designcrowd.com/greatness. You guys have heard me talk about this time and time again. You need a great team to build your business, but you also need great design. To separate yourself from everything else in the marketplace. With everyone having products and books and websites and graphics out there, you’ve got to stand apart from the rest.

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Alright, guys, I want to break down these five obstacles I’ve overcome to get to where I’m at in my life. And number one is being dyslexic and struggling in school. For me, dyslexia wasn’t something I was even aware of until later in my life. I just knew I sucked at reading, at writing, at speaking out loud and reading in public. It was the most terrifying thing.

And even today, you know, I’m thirty-five years old, and reading a teleprompter in front of people is still challenging, but I’ve been preparing myself more and more and more. And I used to feel like the dumbest kid in the world. Literally. In elementary school, and middle school and high school.

I remember when I went to eighth grade, I went to a private boarding school in eighth grade and they tested us for a bunch of different things, math, reading, writing, all that stuff, and I pretty much was horrible at everything. I don’t know how they let me in to eighth grade at this school, to be honest, because they said I had a second grade reading level when I was entering the eighth grade.

And I remember feeling just so insecure, so unsure of myself, so uncertain, wondering why I was so dumb. I was like, “Why me? Why am I this? Why can’t I read? Why can’t I write? Why don’t I understand what people are saying with these words?”

I remember I would read a paragraph in a book, and it was like my brain couldn’t comprehend, or I couldn’t focus and I would just read it over and over and over again, and I would get through about a page and a half, within fifteen to twenty minutes, of a book. And I remember nothing. I literally would remember nothing. It would make me feel so defeated, that I was just, like, “I guess I’m broken. I guess I’m always going to be this way, and I guess there’s something wrong with me.”

One of the things I did is, I said, “Okay, I’m going to focus my energy to build confidence in something else. Since I’m not good at this, I’m going to get good at something.” Early on, that was video games, in elementary school, but then, as I developed I put all my energy and attention, and really all my pain and frustration, into sports and being the best athlete I could be.

But, to bring this back into Mother’s Day and my mom’s celebration, of how amazing she is. I was the youngest of four, and she was working multiple jobs with my dad and helping him build the business that they were building, and she saw me struggle early on. And she would come into elementary school.

They put me into these special needs reading classes and she would come into school for months at a time, to support the teacher in this other, special needs class. There were probably four or five of us who were struggling the most, and they would send us off to this special class, to learn how read and learn how to write and my mom would come in to support me.

Now, we weren’t making a lot of money then, but she took the time off to show me how much she cared. And she was so patient and so loving and really helped guide me through, just overcoming that insecurity and that fear. And that was really empowering for me, to know that someone was there for me, that someone did believe in me, and was willing to work with me for a long time and help me get through it.

And I really love and appreciate that and look back on it and realise that I was beating myself up more than anyone. I was constantly beating myself up, but it was so nice to know that my mom was there to support me during those challenging times, and it got me through it. As opposed to just giving up.

She wouldn’t let me give up. She might have realised that it was something I struggled with and I wasn’t that good with, and that I may never become great at. But she wasn’t going to let me give up and she was going to be very patient with me.

So, for me, having my mom support that, and me also putting my energy and attention and focus on something that I am excited about and I’m passionate about. You know, I wasn’t passionate about reading, writing or school, but I was passionate about sports, and becoming a great athlete.

So, if you feel like you’re struggling with one thing, that you’re not good at, find something you are good at, and put all of your energy and attention and time into that, and just work towards that. Now, if you’re in school right now, that might be a challenge. You’re going to have to go through classes and pass them. Be patient and give your best, and find the thing you are passionate about and put your energy in that.

So that was the first thing. The second thing I want to talk about is my parents fighting and divorcing. For as long as I can remember, my parents are very loving people. They loved all of us kids, and I’m sure they loved each other. They would always take time to tell us how much they loved us, things like that.

But it seemed very stressful, growing up, there was a lot of arguing, a lot of fighting, a lot of screaming, a lot of passive-aggressive energy throughout my entire childhood. And eventually they got divorced when I was, I believe fifteen or sixteen, which was probably long overdue. But they were doing their best, they were figuring it out, so no blame or harm to them, it was just the situation it is and they were doing their best.

And they did a great job, but them going through the divorce and the fighting, I remember, feeling at peace, like they finally were both happy, separated and apart, and there wasn’t going to be this tension any more, which was nice. But I also felt uncertain.

I left to go to a private boarding school, and one of the reasons was to just get away from some of the struggles I was facing personally as a young boy, growing up in a small town in Ohio, and really didn’t have many friends, and I’ll get to that in the next point. But, didn’t have many friends, and the kids I was hanging out with were stealing all the time, they were smoking cigarettes, they were just not doing positive things, not doing the things I wanted to do.

So, I remember feeling a little bit uncertain. And I said, “Mom, why don’t you come out here?” I was living in St. Louis, Missouri, at the time, in the boys’ dorm. So I was living with a hundred other guys. And I said, “Mom, now that you guys are separated and divorced, why don’t you come out here and live with me. We’ll get an apartment, I can be a day student, so I don’t have to live in the dorm any more.”

And she, literally, within a few weeks, packed up everything, moved her life, a seven and a half hour drive from Columbus, Ohio, to St. Louis, Missouri. And she didn’t have a job, she didn’t have any relationships or any network there. She didn’t have, really, anything. She had the desire to create a new life for herself, she had the desire to build new relationships and community, and she hustled.

I mean, she was calling cousins and third-cousins and friends of people she knew and was just relentless in doing whatever it took to find an apartment that we could live in. I remember we lived with someone for two months, we found an apartment of a guy who was leaving in a couple of months, and she said, “Well, we need it now, so can we have…”

It was as two bedroom apartment, and we slept, like, I slept in the living room, she slept in the other room and there was another guy, who was a chiropractor, who was moving to another state or something. It was his apartment, and we moved in.

She showed me resourcefulness, and she showed me that no matter how hard a break-up might be, or how hard ending something might be, a relationship, that it doesn’t have to define you, it doesn’t have to own you, it doesn’t have to destroy you and that you can get back up by being resourceful and hungry to create a new life for yourself. And that really taught me a powerful lesson, for my own stuff.

When I’d been through break-ups in the past, they were challenging for me, but I was able to lean on that resourcefulness, that hunger to create something new for myself, that desire to have a new vision for my life. The old me wasn’t working, or that relationship wasn’t working, so what’s the new vision of a relationship I want.

And I would always create these new visions, these new ideals. As I would learn and grow, I learned how to do that better. So, that was a great lesson my mom taught me, going through the divorce, that it doesn’t have to define you and own you. And your past doesn’t have to be who you are now, and moving forward in your futur. So that was really powerful and insightful for me.

The third thing that I’ve overcome, of the many things, but third that I’m talking about here, is my brother going to prison. Now, we did a couple of episodes on this, we’ll have this linked up in the show notes if you want to go to lewishowes.com/640, we’ll have both of the episodes of my brother talking about his prison journey, what that was like, how he overcame, it’s an incredible story, and what he’s done with his life since.

But, for me, at the time, I remember I was eight and my brother was in the courthouse. My mom had told me, after it happened, that she was devastated, the whole family was devastated, and, as the youngest of four, you kind of hear things last, you get told things last. They don’t really tell you much when you’re the youngest. So, I was always curious, like, “What is happening in the family? What’s happening in the world?” I felt like I never knew anything.

But I remember asking my mom, and we were in the car and she was heartbroken and I asked her, “What’s going on? What happened to Chris?” And she said, “He’s going away. He’s going to jail.” And it was a number of years, we didn’t know how long he was going to be in. It was like a six to twenty-five year sentence, so he could be in there for six years, or twenty years, we didn’t know.

And I remember, for me, during that four and a half year span, he got out in four and a half years on good behaviour and he transformed his life and he’s done amazing things, now the number one jazz violinist in the world, he’s just done amazing things. But, for me, being in a small town, a lower middle-class, suburban, predominantly white neighbourhood, news travels fast. And when someone goes to prison, that typically doesn’t happen in those types of neighbourhoods, you just get looked at, you just get judged differently. Whether it’s you or you’re a family member of that person.

So, I remember, I really didn’t have many friends already, before, because I was slow in school, I was a tall kid, gangly, goofy, and I was just kind of awkward, very awkward. So, I really didn’t have friends, except for my next-door neighbour maybe a little bit, he would hang out with me, because he had to, because I would just walk over, and whatever.

But when my brother went to prison, I remember, the kind of friends that I had, they were like, “I can’t hang out with you any more because my mom won’t let me, because your brother’s in jail.” And I remember just being like, it sucked even more. As a lonely, insecure kid, I struggled with it. I just wanted a couple of close friends, that all I really cared about.

Now, I don’t blame my brother or anything, it’s just what is. And the lesson I learned about that is, my mom and my dad, we would go visit my brother, what felt like every weekend, when we could. There were some weekends when we missed, if we were travelling, but it felt like every weekend we would go and visit him.

And the lesson I learned there, was that I felt like it brought us together, closer. When my brother had this challenge and he went to jail, it was like it brought the family together, closer. So, as opposed to it breaking us up, we committed to going to visit my brother, and that was the time we actually had the most real, intimate, vulnerable conversations, when we were in the waiting room, or the visiting room at the prison.

We would sit there for three, four, five hours and connect and talk and really talk about things and share stories and that’s when I fell in love with my family at a deeper level, because I got to connect with them and learn. And they didn’t say, “Go over there, Lewis,” they let me listen, to everything that was happening and I was just fascinated. I was just, like, “Wow! This is crazy!”

And to see my mom have that grace and make sure we all stayed together and continued to be the best mom she could be to me, and focus on my two older sisters and guide us through our schooling and everything that we were going through, was inspiring. So, shout out to my mom for doing that.

And, for me, how I overcame it was, again, I really struggled in my early childhood. I had just the worst inner demons, and inner battles, and I don’t remember ever really feeling secure, ever. I just felt very uncertain of myself. And the more challenges that arose, the more insecure I became.

But going to the prison and connecting with my brother more, and hearing these stories, for some reason it just made me stronger. It made me stronger because I felt like I was learning something that most people never learn, and I felt like I was going through something that most, almost every kid I knew in school had never gone through. And that gave me this sense of confidence as well. It gave me this sense of, “I know something that other people don’t.”

I’m not saying I wish I knew these things. I wish I didn’t have to go through this, but it was kind of like, “Okay, I’ve been through something, family stuff, that most people haven’t.” And it kind of gave me this inner strength as well, even though I was feeling this insecurity.

So, that’s point number three. Point number four. Getting injured and losing my dream. Most people have heard this story when I was… Man, I broke three ribs in college, my senior year, in a football game. Had to sit out the next eight games. Came back, my redshirt senior year, broke the same three ribs in the same game. Sat out two games, had an incredible healing, came back and played the rest of the season, became an All American athlete.

Then went to the Ohio State combine and football, working my way to the NFL, had a couple of NFL try-outs. Didn’t make the NFL, the National Football League, did make the Arena Football League. Played my rookie season in Arena Football League, broke my wrist in the second game of the season. Decided that I didn’t want to have surgery then, I taped it up for the next twelve, thirteen, fourteen games, and played with a broken wrist.

Now, this broken wrist was the thing that ended it all. Ended the dream. I went to go have surgery after it all, and they took a bone out of my hip, they put it into my wrist, and I had ten staples in my hip, I had cast on my wrist and my whole arm for about six months.

And then it took a year to recover, to get my elbow to open up, to get my wrist to bend. So it was about a year and a half of recovery. And my dream was over. Dream was over, I felt like my life was over, because this was the only thing that I cared about.

Now, what did I do to get through this? Luckily I had my sister, Catherine, who let me crash on her couch for about that year and a half to recover, and I said, “You know what?” about two months of being in a pity party and watching TV almost all day, I was just like, “I need to put this pain into something that’s going to bring me pleasure.

“I’m going to need to put this pain into an energy that is a force for good in the world. And I’m going to develop my mind, I’m going to develop my body, I’m going to develop new skills that are going to make me more valuable than I’ve ever been in my life. And this football thing is going to be a thing of the past, because I’m going to train myself, and acquire skill sets that add value to humanity.”

And I don’t know how that came to me, but I think I was just so devastated and so defeated feeling, that I was just, like, “This is not going to be my legacy. This is not going to be who I am, which is the has-been football player that relives the stories of the glory days from high school, college and Arena Football.”

Yeah, I didn’t even make it to the top level, so there wasn’t much to even relive. And so I just knew, I told myself, that this was happening for a reason. Whether it was and whether it isn’t, I just said, “This is happening for a reason, what is the reason?” And that became my journey, the journey of figuring out who I am and what my reason is for being alive and moving forward.

And as I acquired new skills, I learned things that I loved. I started salsa dancing, I started doing public speaking classes, I started trying all sorts of different things. I was reading books for the first time. Books that I found fascinating. They’re weren’t text books from school, they were books that I was interested in.

I started just exploring, I started travelling to different business events and networking events and meeting people from all walks of life and just started asking questions. I found mentors, I did an internship at an invention shop and started inventing products and inventing ideas and doing design work and going to trade shows, and I just said, “I am going to acquire as many skills as possible, to become the most valuable human that I can potentially be, with the gifts that I have, being given to me.” And that’s what I did.

And to bring it back to the lesson of my mom, because this is a Mother’s Day Special. What she did is, she got out of my way. I think one of the greatest challenges our parents do for some people that I’ve seen, is they get in the way. They get in the way of people’s dreams, of their kids’ dreams. Sometimes. And I see this, and it pains me.

And the thing my mom never did is, she never got in the way of my dreams. She maybe didn’t understand what I was doing, or the process of certain things, but she never said, “You can’t do that,” like, “You shouldn’t do that,” or, “I’m scared for you,” or, “That doesn’t feel right to me,” or, “That doesn’t feel safe,” or, “I don’t know, you should maybe just go get a job and just figure it out that way.”

She never once did that. She just would smile or would say something, or be like, “Okay, that’s interesting,” but she never, she never got in my way. And that was the key, for me. My parents, in general, never got in the way. They always said, “Do what you want, just make sure you’re making enough money to live and be safe and provide for yourself.”

And that is one of the greatest gifts I’ve ever been given, is the permission to pursue my dreams. And that means, every time there’s an obstacle or a challenge that we face, always know that you have permission to move forward towards something, even if it seems so audacious and ridiculous and crazy. Give yourself permission to move towards your dreams.

You know, I think my mom had been through a lot at this time. She had four kids, we all had our challenges and stresses, and love and joy as well, but there was a lot of headache, growing up, with each one of us. We all had different things that we went through.

With my brother in prison for a number of years, that was challenging for her. With sisters going through different challenges that I don’t need to get into. With me going through my challenges and then getting injured. Her going through a divorce, you know, there’s just a lot of stuff that was coming up, and for her to say, “You know what? I’m going to support you in your dreams, that was an important thing.

And it’s not like she had to be there for me, it was essentially, she needed to get out of the way. Because I believe that, too often, the people we’re in relationships with, our partners, our husbands, our wives, our parents, too often we are influenced by the people we love, who are afraid for us.

And it’s not their fault. They’re coming from a place of love, but sometimes, people don’t know how to communicate and lift others up. And my mom was able to do that. She was able to lift me up, but getting out of the way. And that’s key.

The fifth challenge that I’m going to talk about today, of many other challenges that I haven’t even scratched the surface on. These probably aren’t even the most vulnerable challenges for me, but they’re the ones I’ve talked about a lot, and thought I’d go over them here.

The fifth challenge is, acknowledging and working through childhood sexual abuse. Now, I did a podcast episode four years ago, I believe, about being sexually abused, and I opened up about it publicly. And I’m going to do another episode as a follow-up to this, eventually, in the next few weeks, where I may republish that, because so many people haven’t heard it.

And I’m going to kind of do something special with that, because this is something that keeps coming up. It’s one of the reasons I wrote The Mask Of Masculinity, and it’s one of the keys to me doing what I’m doing right now, is to continue to help men evolve and overcome the fears and insecurities that hold a lot of men back, from the guilt, the shame that they’ve been through in childhood or young adulthood. One in six men have been sexually abused.

So, when I was five, it happened to me, and, again, I don’t want to go into the story, but you can listen to the episode, we’ll link it up, and I’ll be resharing it here in the future. But, for twenty-five years I didn’t talk about it. And I didn’t think I could talk about it, based on a lot of different factors.

I eventually, when I was thirty, opened up about it for the first time, and then I started telling my family members one by one. I remember telling my mom, and she was heartbroken. She was devastated, she was sad, felt guilty, hurt, because she felt responsible. It wasn’t her fault, it wasn’t anyone in our family. It was something that happened outside of the family.

And I remember talking about it with her and just feeling like I needed to share it with all my family members, just to let them know. I felt like the more I opened up to them, the more I could heal and connect on a deeper level. And it took her a number of weeks to overcome this.

I think she was more devastated about this than anything that I’ve been through, and it took her a number of weeks of feeling sad and remorse and guilt and the things that, I think, any mother or any parent would feel, having known that their son or daughter had been through something like that. And I kind of just gave my mom that space to do what she needed to do, to move through it.

But the thing that was amazing was that she continued to just love me and support me and didn’t make me wrong for anything. She didn’t hold me down for anything, she just said, “I love you, and I’m here for you and I support you,” and again she was really sorry to hear these things. So, big shout out to my mom for supporting me through that big obstacle.

It was hard for me to overcome, I mean, It was hard for me to talk about it. I didn’t talk about it to anyone for twenty-five years, and she really continued to support and love me for who I am today, and not holding on to that from the past.

And how I overcame this challenge. I overcame this by, phew, it was a lot. It was a lot of looking myself in the mirror and breaking down, just years of pain, years of armour, years of walls, insecurities and actually talking about it. I think sometimes we feel like we’re not allowed to talk about certain things.

And when we think we can’t talk about something, we become a prisoner to that thing, the thing that is unspoken. You become a prisoner of the unspoken. When we bring it to life, when we speak it into the world, so that others can hear it, then we’re not a prisoner to it any more. We’re not the only ones, and we can start to break it down, and talk about it, and dissect it, and heal, and mourn, and grieve over certain things.

And the more I talk about it, the less it owns me. I look at it, like it’s just a story, now. Not this thing that ruined my life, or that consumed me or that made me this angry, defensive person, growing up, but it’s just a story, now, that I went through, that I lived, and I don’t wish it on anyone, but it also doesn’t control me and consume all my thoughts and energy any more. And that’s one of the keys.

When we go through trauma, when we go through any type of heartache, trauma, or traumatic experience, you know? The less we talk about it, the more we just keep it in, the more it’s going to consume our energy and hold us back.

When we can start to talk about it, not saying it’s going to be easy, not saying it’s going to comfortable, not saying it’s going to be fun, and it doesn’t need to be, but just the more we’re able to bring it to life and have those challenging conversations with the people you truly love, about it, without it crippling you emotionally.

Once you get to the place where it doesn’t cripple you, then you’re in control and you claim your power back. And I realised that I didn’t have my power for many years. This instance and my inability to be vulnerable, or to just communicate about it, had the power, and I didn’t have any power.

And so, for me, these five obstacles that I’ve overcome, that I’m just talking about here, and the way I’ve processed them, they’ve all taught me powerful lessons. And, again, so many people, some of you listening, have dealt with far greater challenges than me. This is not a comparison game, we all go through certain battles.

Some are external, some are internal, some are health related, some are learning related, some are relationship related, spiritually, we all go through different stuff, and we all handle things differently, based on our make up, our chemistry, our environment, our belief systems, the way we’ve been raised, the society, the media, everything.

But, for me, I know these challenges were very hard for me, because I didn’t have the tools to move through them. And that’s why going through challenges gives us lessons and tools to move through each challenge. And then, hopefully, we can apply that as we grow and evolve, and at every new level of our life, we are going to face some type of obstacle.

And at a new level you must break through a previous level, so there’s going to be resistance, there’s going to be change, there’s going to be growth, and that’s going to command, and that need for a new you, that shedding of armour, of walls, of limitations is going to, and has to come through if you want to reach another level.

And that’s where the greatest athletes have gone through some of the greatest adversities. The greatest political leaders or world leaders or business leaders, have faced the greatest pressures of all time. And what makes them great is their ability to learn from each challenge and struggle that we face. Master emotional tools, so we’re not emotionally crippled.

Because a lot of the time we get in our head, and then when we’re in our head, it consumes our heart and then we are emotionally in fear, crippled, and we’re unable to move forward. And we just try to protect ourselves, because we don’t want to be in more pain. But pain is the key to getting to the next level. We must break through pain in order to get what we want.

And so, again, these are some of the obstacles I faced, some of the ways that I got through them, how I overcame them and how I continue to overcome challenges now. And also, what my mom did to support me through each one of those challenges.

And, again, a big thank you to Mom, and all the moms out there who are incredible leaders in the world, because you’re doing the toughest job of all which is, raising human beings. And there’s nothing more complicated in the world than a human being, especially one that you evolve over time and all the nuances of an evolving human being.

So, big thank you to all the moms in the world! Big thank you to my mom, for being there for me. I love you, Mom! Happy Mother’s Day! And hope you guys enjoyed this. If you did, please share it out, lewishowes.com/640 on How To Overcome Any Obstacle.

If you want more solo rounds where I share these types of stories, insights, tools, strategies, things like that, then send me a message over on Instagram, just DM me @LewisHowes and let me know if you want more solo rounds, just from me. We’ve got some big interviews coming up as well, every single week, but if you want more of these, I’ll keep doing them.

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Hope you guys enjoyed this one, again, Ryan Holiday said, “Failure shows us the way, by showing us what isn’t the way. Make sure you lean into the challenges, and start to reflect, journal, talk to friends, talk to a coach, talk to a therapist. Don’t just hold on to the pain and [not] share with anyone. Make sure you’re communicating in some form or fashion so that you can process through, learn the lessons and improve your life.

This is what it’s all about. It’s about reaching the next level of our lives, it’s about serving humanity at the highest level, just like mothers do all the time, serving humanity, and it’s about pursuing our dreams. Make sure you don’t get in the way of other people’s dreams, the way my mom never got in the way, or my dad never got in the way of mine.

One of the greatest gifts that my parents gave me was that they never got in the way of my dreams. You’re robbing people of their life, if you rob them of their dreams. Remember that: you are robbing people of their lives, and who they are meant to be, if you rob them of their dreams.

As always, I love you so very much, and you know what time it is: It’s time to go out there and do something great!

Music Credits:

Music Credit:

We were Infinite by Inukshuk

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