Obstacles, challenges, barriers, you name it. Are you ready?
Mario Di Bernardo, Corporate Trainer
I get so frustrated and irritated when things do not happen the way I expected. And believe me, I am not a “control freak” type. In fact, most people probably perceive me as relaxed or even negligent in terms of conducting my businesses. During corporate training, I gave to The Lisbon MBA and other corporations, I had the opportunity to meet several human beings that were ten times more demanding that I am in terms of planning and preparation. I cannot imagine how they feel when things get out of their control. And this is the subject of this article, obstacles and how to deal with them.
Nobody likes obstacles, but if we see clearly, obstacles teach us a lesson for future ahead. It is up to us to learn the lesson or repeat the same mistakes. It is good to remind you that when I write or talk about obstacles to a group during motivational training, I am speaking to myself. I fail every day, and even after identifying personal obstacles that I can change or avoid, for whatever reason, I come back to the same mistakes. This is what a called the “zombie state”. Most of us during the daily life come back to some sort of automatic pilot that brings the bad habits to life again. So remember, try to avoid the “zombie state”, especially when making important business decisions.
In practical terms, there are two types of obstacles: outer obstacles and inner obstacles. Outer obstacles are external factors, such as the economy, Donald Trump, gas price, change of legislation and other many things that can affect the course of our businesses. We cannot control their existence, but we can decide how to feel and behave when they come to life. On the other hand, inner obstacles are internal factors such as fear, lack of self-confidence, procrastination, laziness and many others we all know very well. We can control or avoid them and change for the better. But changing is hard. Of course, it is hard. Evolving is supposed to be hard. Therefore, only the persistent and creative will succeed. Ask any successful entrepreneur, and for sure these soft skills should come among the top five on their list of skills. On average our obstacles are divided into 20% outer and 80% inner. So, we are much more in control than we ever imagine. In other words, we are the biggest obstacles to our success. I guess that is good news for us.
Here it goes my advice if I can give any. There are two essential mindsets that we must practice when dealing with obstacles — positive attitude and consciousness. We need a positive attitude towards obstacles that we do not control, and we need to be conscious of our issues to avoid them and change.
Let’s exemplify to get a better picture. Let’s think of a subject that irritates greatly any business person, which is a change in legislation. It happens all the time and here in Portugal right now is all about the “short term rent boom” derived from the success of Airbnb and Booking platforms. There was a recent change in legislation that gave local authorities the competence to decide over the issuance of licenses for short-term renting. So what happened? Some local authorities just cancelled the issuance of any licence. So if you were renovating your house or just bought a house with the intent of short-term renting in that area, your business is over. Can we control it? No. So do not bother getting stressed. What do we need? A positive attitude: accepting, learning and adapting. For example, I assume renting rooms for students in the long term does not qualify and the legislation is not applicable in this case. However, if there is no viable exit, then we should assume it as part of the risk of the business, account for the loss and move on.
Regarding inner obstacles, the right mindset is being conscious. Some human beings do not even know they have a personal issue that represents a major obstacle for their success. They complete ignore it. That’s why it is mandatory to get conscious of our inner obstacles so that we can develop and overcome them. How do we get more conscious? I would say that spiritual retreats, coaching, meditation, yoga, mindfulness are ways to get there. Remember, getting conscious is just the beginning. The real deal here is changing our behaviour. This is much easier said than done. It takes a lot of discipline, effort and sacrifice to let the old and bad habits go. So the stakes are very high for all of us. Being pragmatic, focus on the goal and see through the obstacles, then we may run over them like parkour.
“Choose the positive. You have a choice; you are master of your attitude, choose the positive, the constructive. Optimism is a faith that leads to success.” Bruce Lee.
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