Obstacles are inevitable. In fact, the reality is that it is only through the obstacles of life that we become who we were designed to be. There is an old Zen Parable that states, “The obstacle in the path becomes the path. Never forget, within every obstacle is an opportunity to improve our condition.” Obstacles can often be the best thing that can happen to a leader or even to an organization. Obstacles demand that the leader and the organization grow and develop to overcome and move forward.
Every leader should seek to become obstacle overcomer. Obstacles are dangerous because they have the possibility of derailing the leader. Leaders must be shrewd to learn how to use obstacles to propel them forward and not get them stuck or cause them to fall back into past patterns and behaviors.
4.5 Steps To Become an Obstacle Overcomer.
Step 1. Recommit and Keep Working.
A fundamental truth of life is to keep going you must keep going. The key action is to take the first step after an obstacle is faced. Real leaders do not stop because others are hurling insults at them or they face opposition. In fact, it when obstacles occur that we have to work with all our heart. Henry Ford was famous for saying, “Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goal.” Sometimes a recommitment is the most important aspect that you can do. There is too little recommitment in today’s marketplace, and a leader is always calling on their people to recommit to the task that is essential for success.
Experience Question: What have you given up on that you know you need to complete because you faced an obstacle?
Step 2. Reexamine a Plan to overcome obstacles that you know you will face.
Leaders are planning people. Barriers can help the leader to prepare for the future. People need to know that their leader has a plan. Grand plans must be examined and reexamined before they are executed effectively. When an obstacle is faced in life and business, it is a time to work “on” the business not “in” the business. The development of a good plan that moves the organization forward is worth every hour spent developing it. When a leader prepares for potential obstacles, people become empowered. They are confident that whatever obstacles are difficulties that they might face can be defeated and overcome.
Experience Question: When is the last time you and your team went away for a retreat to plan and prepare for the future of the business?
Step 3. Recall the “Why” that led you to begin the Task.
Obstacles refocus our objectives. To effectively overcome an obstacle the original purpose needs to be rediscovered. The original “why” of a task or a project can be a great motivator to overcome current setbacks and obstacles.
Experience Question: How often do you remind your team of the original reason that you started your business, a task, or a project?
Step 4. Don’t Try To Complete The Task Alone.
Many people fail to achieve a vision when they face an obstacle because they have no support encouraging them to keep going. Accountability and encouragement are two main advantages that strengthen a person’s resolve to move past barriers to success. Obstacles remind the leader to find their source of strength and support. Some people get strength from the vision they have created. Some people get strength because of the need that they know they are going to be able to alleviate. Some people get strength from the benefits or payoff of the completing the task. Some people get strength from the support of others. Obstacles successful overcome done when we have the support of others.
Experience Question: Do you have a team around you that encourages you to complete what you have started?
Step 4.5. Remain committed to Finishing the Work.
The finish line is the best motivation to overcome an obstacle in the path. Obstacles should help a leader regain their resolve to complete the work that they started. When a team sees that a leader has resolve, it increases the resolve of the team. This is an essential for overcoming obstacles. A leader must have the belief that an obstacle can be overcome and the resolve to complete the task in spite of any obstacle that might be faced.
Experience Question: What task is currently in the balance of not being completed that needs the resolve of a leader to move it past the obstacles that are being faced?
Obstacles are inevitable. However, obstacles also can be the most significant and defining moments of success for the leader and the organization. Albert Schweitzer once stated that “One who gains strength by overcoming obstacles possesses the only strength which can overcome adversity.” He js correct. Leaders are defined by the obstacles that they overcome. Every leader should have the goal and the vision to become an obstacle overcomer.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Ken Gosnell serves as the CEO of the C12 Group Maryland, the largest Christian CEO Roundtable in the United States. He has worked with hundreds of corporate and nonprofit CEOS and their leadership teams to enhance their strategic, operational and people accomplishments. He is a leader, writer, coach, and strategic partner with CEOs. He is married to Shonda, and they have four children. You can find out more about the C12 Group at http://www.c12group.com