Roadblock! The Five Strategies

When the way is blocked, you have several choices: go through, over, under, around or back.

Going through is a power move, it is buying a solution, mandating one or ignoring a person or situation. This is a heavy-handed solution that works best when you know you are right and you are convinced that time will tell. It doesn’t solve the reason for the block, but it will get you past the block this one time and you can fix the reasons later. Or you know the reasons will melt away.

Going over is when you set your sights beyond the current problem and step over it as though it is that molehill, not a mountain. I find that to be the case many times.This usually happens when I feel I must finish one task to take on another and the first task is frustrating. I find when I go on to the next task, the first one turns out to not be so difficult after all.

I find this happens when I am organizing events. Getting speakers to commit and send in all their info is hard to do in enough time to put together schedules and programs in order to start marketing. That’s why you find “TBD” and “more information to follow” on conference websites in the months leading up to the event.

Going under is when you look to the problem underneath the problem – the reason it is there in the first place. A lot of times fixing the underlying problem clears up a bunch of symptom problems.

That often happens with staff. When they say to hire slowly and fire fast – that’s why.

Going around is when you try a whole new way of doing it. You need a fresh view and that usually means bringing in someone else’s perspective. This is where having a mentor or mastermind group is invaluable.

I opened a HUB in my Town and found that people didn’t seem to need the space. The business model is space rental, but in a Town everyone has plenty of room at home. One of my mentors said, “Who else benefits by you bringing business owners into Town?” I looked around and found several other models for how these spaces can be funded.

Going back is when you realize you have hit a dead end. This is pivot time or cut your losses time or chalk it up to experience time. Trying new things is important and we realize they aren’t all going to work out. How do you know if this is a time to persevere and push through or give up? Seth Godin says, in the Dip, if you are making progress, no matter how small, keep going. When you stop making progress, no matter how hard or in how many ways you try, then it is time to give up.

All of these strategies involves stopping and taking stock of where you are and how you are doing. It’s why giving yourself the gift of time away is so important. It’s not a luxury, it is a necessity. It could be your daily meditation session, exercise or other daily ritual. It could be when you walk away from the office to focus on family and friends. It could be immersing in a hobby. It should be regularly scheduled time away. Time apart or away is necessary for recharge etc, but it’s also important to gain those perspectives that come from distance.

What do you do when you hit a roadblock?

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