What’s an Obstacle?
Posted by Trevor on 2 April 2012 | 1 Comment
You decide to start a company. You think you know what you’re doing. But, the very next day, reality kicks your expectations to the curb and you see nothing but challenge upon challenge along your road to success. How do you see those challenges? Are they obstacles or experiences?
I don’t believe in obstacles; not in business and not in my personal life. “Obstacle” is an inherently negative word, often used to describe something bad that you have to conquer or overcome. Using that definition, my whole life could be considered an obstacle. I’ve lived in poverty and when you want to get out of that situation, you can look at it two ways. Either negatively: this situation is overwhelming and I should go steal some money to remedy this problem. Or positively: this situation is a learning experience and merely one part of my journey to success.
In business, everything can seem like an obstacle. For some people, raising money to start a company might seem like a venture rife with obstacles. How do you raise money if you’ve never been a CEO before? What if no one has ever heard of your idea? What if everyone is telling you not to quit your day job?
Raising money for companies gave me the greatest pleasure in my business life because I didn’t see obstacles. I fixed my Intention and assumed that everything that came my way was a valuable experience. Those experiences connected me with people who were important to me down the road. Sometimes those experiences trained me for a future event. Either way, those experiences were not negative, they were an important part of the development of my mentality. I never see challenges as obstacles that have to be overcome; I get excited by challenges because I know they mean something.
There is an analogy I like to use with sales people who perceive obstacles during the sales process with their customers: When a dog sees a fence, it sees an obstacle and thinks it’s trapped. But, when a deer sees that same fence, it doesn’t see a trap and it doesn’t see something it can’t handle. The deer simply views the fence as something to jump over, a little extra fun in its journey, before moving on. Freddie and Mabel in the picture here view the door to the patio as an insurmountable obstacle. In fact, the door is always open and they could escape easily if they just pushed with their noses. They never have because I have never taught them how to do it.
In Three Simple Steps we discuss the important difference between warrior and wizard mentalities. In the business environment, most people are traditionally taught to think like warriors. Warriors view the world as a sequence of obstacles that must be conquered. Today, however, more and more business people are starting to tune into the mentality of a wizard. The difference? Imagine they both feel hungry. The warrior smashes his way through the door to the bakery, beats up the baker and steals a slice of someone else’s cake. The wizard, however, mixes some inert ingredients in a bowl, lets the mixture rise naturally in the hot oven, and then eats as much cake as she wants.
But how do you get that wizard mentality? By rewiring your neural network (explained in detail in Three Simple Steps) so that a sense of knowing comes more naturally. When you have that mentality, you just don’t see obstacles anywhere. You just see something that’s really great to have and you’ll find a way to create it.