As a business owner, you already understand how difficult it can be to keep heading in the right direction for your success and your personal fulfillment. The world of business is fraught with obstacles, and every victory can seem like it’s hard-fought. However, one of the number one mistakes I’ve seen in my decades of coaching business owners is a complete aversion to obstacles. Rather than looking on the positive side of these hurdles, some people fall into the trap of treating every challenge as a battle. Not only is this attitude exhausting to keep up—it can actually lead to completely missing the hidden benefits of these obstacles.
There’s no debate that business obstacles can be tough, frustrating, and sometimes downright painful. Obstacles are what stand between you and the success you’re looking for, so why would you embrace them? This question is why I always emphasize the distinction between embracing obstacles and allowing them to get you bogged down.
Sometimes when we become too focused on tackling an obstacle, we lose sight of our main goals, and get stuck in the details instead of keeping our eyes on the prize. On the other hand, by embracing obstacles, we welcome them as what they are: learning opportunities. If you already knew how to handle an obstacle, it wouldn’t be an obstacle. That means that to overcome these challenges, you’ll need to learn and adapt, and you’ll come out stronger on the other side.
To be successful in anything, you have to overcome your fear of obstacles. It’s just as true in business as in anything else: we have a natural tendency to want to avoid them at all costs, a method which usually leads to us compromising on our goals. With all this in mind, what kinds of business obstacles should you start embracing?
1. Getting set in your ways
Few things are more frustrating than being self-aware enough to know you’re not doing things in the ideal way, yet not knowing quite how to fix the problem. This is especially common for business owners, who have usually gotten to where they are with a specific set of routines and procedures. The common saying ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ is sometimes good advice, and yet it’s also sometimes a trap for us to fall into.
When we stick to the same old ways of doing things as they’ve always been done, we run the risk of getting complacent, which is the enemy of forward progress. If you’ve been feeling like your methods are getting stale and out of date, don’t let it throw you for a loop. Instead, acknowledge it as the opportunity that it is. This is your chance to learn new skills, and adapt to our ever-changing world in an effort to keep things as efficient and effective as possible.
2. Making mistakes
No matter how many times we’re reminded, knowing that everyone makes mistakes never seems to be much comfort when it’s you who’s made one. Every successful business owner has made mistakes, probably more than they could count. What sets them apart from people who aren’t as successful is the way they handled that mistake after the fact. It’s frighteningly easy to get down on yourself after making a mistake, particularly if it was a costly one that affected your business.
However hard it seems, the best thing you can do for yourself and your business is to think of mistakes as opportunities for learning and improvement. Take comfort in the knowledge that you learned from this experience, and allow yourself forgiveness. The next time you’re in that type of situation, you won’t make the same missteps. Why? Because you’ve grown as a result.
3. Managing motivation
For business owners, almost everything comes down to drive and motivation. Without that strong internal desire for success, you’ll never wind up where you want to be. With that said, motivation is never a guarantee, and it tends to come and go. That’s why relying on motivation as the sole driver for your business is rarely in your best interest.
Don’t let a lack of motivation lure you into thinking you’re not on the right track. Usually, all you need when that drive vanishes is to replace it with discipline. Forming strong habits and routines—things that get done no matter what, is a great way to manage your business whether you’re feeling motivated that day or not. By doing this, you take advantage of a major obstacle to strengthen your business even more, which will propel you and your business towards your goals.
4. Losing perspective
When you’ve spent a long time working hard at something, it can be easy to get so deep in the weeds that you lose perspective. If you continue to push too hard when you don’t have that insight on your situation, you run the risk of burning out completely. I often see this with highly ambitious and hardworking people. They have a select handful of clear goals, yet they’re so far in the future it feels like they haven’t had a win in years.
This is why I always advise business owners who are beginning to get tunnel vision to stop and take stock of their goals. You can leverage a loss of perspective to become an opportunity to reevaluate the milestones on the way to your main objective, and allow yourself opportunities to celebrate the smaller victories.
5. Identity crisis
When a business has been established for a long time, their brand’s identity sometimes begins to slip. In a competitive environment, there’s almost nothing quite as dangerous to a business’ success as a generic or murky brand. Sometimes business owners even lose sight of their brand identity completely, and this often results in one of two things: either they continue to complacently let the brand’s identity fade away, alienating their client base and staff alike, or else overcorrect with a major overhaul of the brand, which risks separating the business from what made it unique in the first place.
Embracing the obstacle of a brand identity crisis can help you take a more nuanced approach to correcting your course. If you notice your brand lacking that something special, take stock and see what you need to do to realign the business with your values. Considering that obstacles around branding and identity are some of the most difficult to tackle, embracing this particular challenge rather than avoiding it can be an invaluable way to breathe new life into your business.
As I mentioned before, every single business owner will run into obstacles big and small on the way to their goals. Embracing these challenges wherever possible will always lead to more success than avoiding them altogether. With that said, it’s sometimes hard to know how to embrace these difficulties, or even to see them in the first place. That’s why working with an experienced business coach is one of the best things business owners can do for their success.
With years of experience as a business coach, I’ve helped countless people identify, embrace, and ultimately overcome all kinds of obstacles, from the most overarching and abstract, to the most niche and nuanced. No matter what kinds of challenges you’re finding yourself up against, I can help. If you have more questions about embracing business obstacles, overcoming professional challenges, or anything else about the route to your own personal definition of success, please contact me today.