Clearing Your Own Path – Just Be Sure You’re Not in the Way

 Here’s the thing about roadblocks, they often seem to be more familiar than not.

If there’s a bad winter storm, we tend to know where the roughest patches are going to be on our drive home. In business, this is equally the case, and like driving, a little focus, courage and prowess behind the wheel won’t just get us through it, but begin to clear the road for the future.

So what are the most common roadblocks for business people and what can we do about them?  

This is a fantastic question because the answers can go in several directions and I’m asked this often. For now, let’s look at the top 4 items typically in the way for most people, regardless of their position in a company.

#1 – You – Yup, that’s right. Our views and attitudes are always the most limiting factor in business. We wake up every day with our paradigm, context, lens, etc., that shape our experiences. If we think we can’t do something or create a given outcome, we won’t do it. If we think we can, we will. We will place blame everywhere and with everyone possible, but in my experience, the issue is we can’t see or get past the box we’ve put ourselves in. Why do you think performance coaching & mentoring has become such big business from startups to fortune 100 companies? Because it works, and enables us to reach the full potential of our resources and opportunities.

#2 – Distractions – Endless blogs, podcasts and books are dedicated to identifying the distractions we face and what to do about them - email, texts, phone calls, unnecessary meetings, desk drop-bys, web surfing for news or social updates, you name it. Listing every potential distraction is much less important than being aware of how much of your day is gobbled up by interruptions. Some are in our control and some are out, so first we need to identify which are the ones stealing the most hours from your day. Grab a legal pad at the start of your day and just start keeping track of everything you do, with start and stop times. It might sound extreme, but it works. When you start to reach for the mouse and head to Facebook, you will look at that legal pad and rather than mark down the time to start a Facebook binge, you will get back on task.

#3 – Lack of a daily practice and routine to set up the day – Most of us start the day with some sort of routine – hitting snooze, making coffee or jumping in the shower. What most of us don’t do, is create an intentional daily routine that sets us up for success. Anyone who’s listened to Tim Ferriss’ podcast has heard time and time again that about 80 percent of the high performers he’s interviewed have some sort of consistent and focused daily routine that sets up their energy and focus for the day.  Personally, I wake up at 5 a.m. and dive right in to a guided meditation and then build my schedule for the day that is based on the meetings I have and the most important tasks for the day. By 6 a.m. the focus and intention for the day is set. Then it’s up to me to stick to the plan.

#4 – Elephants not getting addressed – Every business has people elephants and business elephants that are not being addressed. They hang out every day in the office, everyone is aware of them, but there is often a lack of courage or knowledge about how to address them. These fundamental roadblocks are most clear to newcomers or third parties that can see them easily since they have a fresh perspective. Time and time again, my team has breakthroughs with clients since we look for these issues and address them early. Check out our recent blog post on this subject to gain more insight on steps to start identifying and solving yours. Your business, resources and career will thank you.

This just scratches the surface, but just being aware of these common roadblocks is the first step. Each one can be addressed, and as long as you are willing to explore beyond your current frame, can be controlled. It takes a bit of courage, but once you pick up the gauntlet and forge a new path, you’ll find yourself quickly cruising to your destination, and starting to look ahead to the next one