3 Ways to Change Roadblocks into Valuable Tools
Our initial reaction when hitting a setback or a "roadblock, whether it be during an important project or even just trying to finish a task, is usually one of frustration or the thoughts of "Why does this always happen to me?" or "why doesn't anything ever work for me?". Roadblocks can be valuable though. Here's how: Roadblocks can be an indication that we need to stop and take a step back in order to look at the big picture. Take the time to re-affirm the original goal and see if you're still on the right track or if you've somehow gone down a path you never intended to in the first place. Sometimes, we get so caught up in dealing with the day to day issues that we don't realize that we are now suddenly somewhere we didn't plan on going. Take the time to re-focus on where you want to go and you may find that you've just saved yourself a lot of time and trouble on something you don't want to be involved with anyway. Roadblocks can also be an excellent opportunity to brainstorm. Maybe when the plan was created in the beginning, all of the potential options weren't considered. There may be far more efficient or cost effective opportunities available if you take the time to do some research.
For example: say you want to publish a "How to" book. You get it all set up and then find out that it's going to be too expensive to get it printed. You could just give up on the idea or you could brainstorm. For example:
- could you create an e-book instead?
- could you print it off yourself?
- could you simply alter things to make it cheaper (ie. Less colour pictures, use only 2 colours, etc.)?
- could you find a technical college which may be willing to do this cheaper as students would be working on it?
- would it be better as a web site?
The benefits of brainstorming like this is you may figure out a far better idea than the one you had originally. You may end up really glad that you didn't go with the original plan. Sometimes, running into roadblocks can also be a sign that you're drained and just need a break. You may find that after you've taken the time to re-charge your batteries and regained your enthusiasm, the roadblocks seem to just disappear on their own.
If you can think of your roadblocks as a challenge then you avoid falling into the victim trap. Your confidence to achieve your goal will increase as you know it can be done. You just need to figure out if there's a better way. Think of them as "silver linings" and you'll be amazed at what ideas you suddenly come up with. Your goal may suddenly become closer than you thought and be an even greater achievement and all because you knew a roadblock could be a really valuable tool. You just needed to know how to use them.
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Catherine Pratt 2005
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