Are perceived obstacles in the way of creating what you want?

I was facilitating the first 3 days of a learning adventure last week and as we dived into the various outcomes of the group, I began digging around a bit to uncover any perceived obstacles to the things they want.

Now, I LOVE to find out if there’s any obstacles in the way. Because more often than not they’re not actual obstacles. And if they’re not actual obstacles, then you can get on your way, moving forward towards the things you want a lot faster and often with far more enjoyment.

As I did my thing, pulling out obstacles, I noticed 2 patterns emerge.

(I’ve seen these a bunch over the last 16 years!)

The first pattern is the chickens in bottles pattern. Most obstacles are this kind.

Let me explain.

The Master was always giving riddles and puzzles to The Apprentice to solve.

One day The Master said to The Apprentice

“Imagine there is a chicken in a bottle. Your task is to get the chicken out of the bottle without breaking the glass or killing the chicken. Go.”

The Apprentice went away, puzzling over this. After meditating on this for several weeks he returned to The Master and said

“Master I have meditated on this for weeks! And it simply can not be done”

The Master squinted his eyes and gave a quick nod of his head.

“There. It is done.”

The Apprentice cocked his head to one side “huh?”

“You IMAGINED the chicken was in the bottle. Now IMAGINE the chicken is out of the bottle… and it is done.”

Most obstacles are imagined obstacles. And that’s great!. 

If it’s something in the way you’re imagining, we can get in there and change the way you’re doing your imagining. If you’re imagining things in a terrifying way and as a result you conclude that fear is stopping you, we can get in there and help you to see things differently, transforming the fear you thought was in the way.

Imagine the chicken is out of the bottle – hoorah!

The second pattern is this.

Sometimes we treat something that needs to be in the way, we approach a goal as something that’s in the way. We treat it as an obstacle rather than a need that must be met in the pursuit of the goal.

Sometimes, what we perceive as obstacles are, in fact, essential parts of our journey… needs that must be honoured and integrated rather than overcome.

For example:

I want to go on this wild adventure BUT I CAN’T because spending time with my family is really important to me.

Spending time with family isn’t an obstacle. It’s not the thing that is in the way. The way they’re thinking about it is in the way.

Spending time with family is a need that must be included in the way they go about pursuing this goal of going on a wild adventure.

So the question becomes how can you ensure that you spend time with family as you pursue this? How can you honour that need in such a way as to also allow for wild adventure?


What imagined obstacles stand between you and your deepest desires?

Are they truly insurmountable, or are they simply chickens in bottles awaiting liberation?

And could it be that what you perceive as obstacles are, in truth, important elements, waiting to be embraced and integrated?

With warmth,


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I’m Amy Bell, NLP Trainer & Coach.

For close to a decade I have been exploring, learning and experimenting with NLP. I’ve trained extensively in both Australia and Europe with some of the worlds most acclaimed NLP Trainers.

I’m both intensely curious, and obsessive about my own ongoing development, the creation and delivery of my work and the results I get for my people. 

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