5 Common Obstacles to Success

When troubles surround you, it feels like everything is going wrong. If you choose, you can turn those obstacles into opportunities. You don’t have to be Pollyanna or Jiminy Cricket to see the silver lining in whatever cloud is hanging over you.

Here are five strategies you can use to turn that sapping energy of difficulty around and make it work for you.

1.     Stay calm

It’s easy to panic when things aren’t going right. It can seem like there’s no way out, or that it’s all too hard. If you keep a cool head, you’ll be able to work your way through to success.

Staying calm will help you stay in control and see things rationally. If you’re calm, you can think logically and make a plan to overcome whatever it is that you’re facing. Keep breathing, tell yourself you’re on it, and get working.

2.     Think outside the box

Sometimes the solution to your problem is outside what most people would call ‘normal.’ It might take some lateral thinking or a different perspective to be able to see where you can make progress.

It might sound simplistic, but going for a walk can help clear your head and allow all those neurotransmitters to fire and get problem-solving. Ever noticed how sometimes the answer can come when you're driving or in the shower? You need to step away from the tense anxieties of your challenge and let your brain get to work.

3.     Think outside the rules

Unless you’re actively breaking the law or your company’s policies, you don’t have to be restrained by the rules of ‘business as usual.’ Try a different approach; maybe try face-to-face instead of emails. Try having a team meeting outdoors. Shake things up a bit to get better results. Get people thinking outside their usual boundaries and see what groundbreaking ideas you get.

4.     Work out a worst-case scenario

Also called negative planning, if you’re facing a tricky challenge, think through what the worst-case scenario might be. Could you bankrupt the company? Maybe lose your job?

Fear of failure can often be paralyzing. Once you’ve looked at the worst thing that can happen, you’re free to get on and deal with your challenge.

5.     Embrace reality

Whatever your challenge is, you can only start to overcome it when you have accepted it. Acknowledge whatever the problem is, work out a strategy, and get on with making success happen.