Sometimes minor irritations grow and become actual obstacles to progress and you cannot shrug them off. There are occasions where a bigger problem occurs. Something that is large enough to give you pause or stop you in your tracks for a while e.g. network goes down, mother in law announces surprise visit, regulation stands in your way, contractor hold-ups.
With these obstacles it’s best to stop and give some time to considering them. Assess their size, importance and the delay they may cause you in your bigger objective.
Overcoming obstacles such as these requires that you step back; banging your head against this proverbial brick wall is not the solution. This is not the time to charge ahead regardless. Unlike minor annoyances these obstacles go deeper and crashing through them or trampling them underfoot won’t work.
Overcoming obstacles by looking at every angle
Treat these obstacles with respect and try to mentally hover around them considering their gravitas from all angles. Look at them almost as a 3D object or boulder and work out how best to get around them. It may be that you have to adopt more than one strategy in order to get around them but always appreciate that there is a way around you just have to figure out what that might be.
Usually problems have a number of aspects to them: time-people-money tend to be the top areas to consider. With enough time you can usually figure out a solution, but time may be at a premium. So, are there others who can help? Maybe with enough people and support you can overcome the obstacle. If there is nobody available to help, then money comes into play- can you pay for help? Is there an expert solution available?
You have to think outside of the box – this obstacle may not simply go away of its own accord and considering its potential impact on your business or life has to form part of the strategy. What is the opportunity cost of NOT overcoming the obstacle?
I tend to set 2 or 3 strategies off in dealing with these types of problem so that if one proves not to work the others might. Sometimes all 3 converge and then the results are usually much better than I expected.
Thinking is time worth spent when overcoming obstacles
When faced with a bigger problem that won’t go away, you need to think it through. The worst case scenario is rushing into implementing a solution – it will normally be half baked and unlikely to succeed. It’s a bit like blowing up an obstruction in a cave and causing an avalanche outside. Your rushed solution may remove the immediate obstacle and cause chaos elsewhere.
Think it through, enlist help and examine the time, people and money implications. Which is the most critical factor of the problem? By analysing how not solving it will impact your business and/or your life, this often gives you clues to the way around it. There are always alternatives if you allow yourself time to think them through.
Don’t be afraid to change course
The obstacle in your way may mean you have to divert slightly from your original path towards your objective- not drastically, just enough to find a way through and then you can get back on track.
Christopher Columbus famously said
By prevailing over all obstacles and distractions,
one may unfailingly arrive at his chosen goal or destination.
Perhaps you have to employ another person to help that you hadn’t originally budgeted for or shelve another part of a project while you deal with this.
Overcoming obstacles is simply problem solving, not a disaster. Often your solution opens up a better way to your objective and is a lesson to learn for the future.
Life and business are rarely smooth sailing. To be honest, if they were, don’t you think they would be rather boring?