The greater the obstacle, the more glory in overcoming it. Moliere
You have to overcome many obstacles to be successful. This is true no matter what endeavor you are pursuing. If you are working on a big goal, I guarantee you that there are going to be problems, issues, and roadblocks along the way. This is not negative, it is reality. Accept it and prepare yourself to overcome the obstacles. Don’t fret about it, just get ready and handle it quickly and decisively. The issue you encounter could be in the form of a technical problem or it could be someone that doesn’t see eye to eye with you. Either way, you have to successfully negotiate the obstacle if you want to move past it to achieve your goal. Here is how I deal with these obstacles when they arise in my life.
1. Troubleshoot and diagnose the root cause
The quickest way to solve any problem is to find its root cause. What is at the very source of the issue? It usually takes some time to determine this. However, the time is well spent because once you know the root cause, then you can address it and move on. With people, they often oppose you out of fear. You need to determine exactly what it is about the action you are taking that makes them afraid and address it with them. Here’s a hint, it usually isn’t the first thing they tell you.
2. Listen to your gut instinct.
I can’t count the times that I solved problems by simply following my gut. For me, This is the nagging little idea in the back of my head that doesn’t really seem logical, but ends up being the solution anyway. In almost every case, I try to dismiss it by reasoning that it couldn’t possibly be the right thing to try. However, once I give in, I find that it leads me exactly to the solution I desired. Listen to your gut. It often knows what to do.
3. Research the problem online.
Generally, if you are having a problem, someone else has already encountered it and solved it. Don’t reinvent the wheel, just find out what they did and try it in your situation. This is one of the fabulous things about the Internet. It is a huge archive of ideas for solving almost any imaginable problem.
4. Recruit the assistance of others.
Get your friends, family, and co-workers involved to help think of ways to overcome the obstacle. Remember, two heads are better than one. Often, these people will have a different perspective on the situation that will lead to an immediate breakthrough. Also, they can serve as champions or cheerleaders to help move you past the present obstacle.
5. Hire an expert.
Sometimes you need to call in the big guns. If the problem is in an area that is outside your expertise and it is particularly nasty, then you should probably bring in an expert. Make sure your expert has solved similar dilemmas in the past. Ask for references and call them to confirm the situation was similar and that the resolution was complete. Document the obstacle in writing along with the exact outcome that you expect. You and the expert should both sign this agreement before any work is done.
6. Change your attitude toward the situation.
Sometimes we are the problem. Evaluate your attitudes and see if a change in the way you are looking at the situation might help to overcome the obstacle. This is especially useful in situations where the obstacle is another person. You might need to change your attitude toward this person in order to get their cooperation. It is going to take some maturity, but the results are often astonishing.
7. Use trial and error.
When all else fails or when your situation is unique, you may need to experiment. Obviously, this isn’t the most efficient way to overcome an obstacle, but it may be your only option. Be as scientific in your approach as possible. Go slow and evaluate each of your trial solutions as carefully as possible. Sometimes it takes a combination of solutions to achieve the best results.
8. Sleep on it.
I have had numerous stubborn problems where I spent hours trying to solve it with no success. Then I gave up, went to bed, and awoke the next morning with a new idea that fixed the situation almost immediately. Sometimes we just need to give our brains some time to rest and work on the issue. It is often hard to walk away, but sometimes this is the best thing to do.
9. Never give up.
Don’t quit! You may have to back up, turn around, or take a completely different approach, but you can never stop trying to get past the present roadblock. Perseverance is what will lead to success. People that attack problems with this level of tenacity as bulldogs. They persist until they find a solution no matter what odds are against them. This is the only way to success!
10. Start over.
When all else fails, start over at the beginning. Maybe one of your foundational assumptions about the obstacle is wrong. Re-evaluate everything. If you are having this much trouble, then it is likely that you haven’t identified the root cause or you haven’t framed the issue correctly. Make sure you understand the problem clearly and completely to get it resolved quickly.