Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Three Tactics for Managing Roadblocks On Your Road to Success

by Karen D. Swim

Photo Credit: © Elena Elisseeva |


You're tooling along on the road to success confident of where you're headed when you encounter the dreaded roadblock. What do you do?

This month we have been focused on moving forward, but what do you do when your journey is interrupted by those awful orange cones? Below are three options that will help you navigate the roadblocks that hinder your progress.

Wait it Out

Orange cones in the road may only signal a temporary road closure. As you idle your engine and wait, review your purpose for the journey and your directions to get there. Use the break in the action to renew your energy and enthusiasm or attend to other minor tasks are you wait. Check the oil and fluids, kick the tires and make sure you have enough air. When the road crew removes the cones you will be ready to move on with confidence.

Take the Suggested Detour

Detours keep you moving but may add a few extra miles to your journey. Don't view a detour as a setback but a continuation of the adventure. You may discover things along the suggested route that you otherwise would have missed. When I worked in Corporate America my company decided to centralize all of marketing to New Jersey. I didn't want to move (suggested detour) and I opted not to accept offers from the other companies that sought me out (suggested detour #2). Instead, I chose to take time off from work to do nothing (alternate route of my choosing).

Take an Alternate Route of Your Choosing

Choosing my own route turned out to be the best thing that could have happened in my life. I had no idea where any of the roads would lead but trusted that still small voice that said "turn off here." Roadblocks can be a divine signal leading you in a different direction. If the suggested route doesn't feel right to you, plan your own alternate. You may even decide to change your destination entirely, like I did.

As you move toward attaining your goals you will eventually hit a roadblock. Do not allow those orange cones to distract or discourage you. You will get to your destination, perhaps a little slower or by a different route, but you will arrive.

Please join and add to the discussion. What tips do you have for do handling the roadblocks in your life?


Joy said...

What a great post. Usually when I have roadblocks I take a moment to rethink the situation. Sometimes I just needed to see the better solution/alternative. Other times, it will lead me to better things. But I think the best thing I've done for myself all these years is to listen to my gut when I encounter 'challenges' along the road.

Words For Hire said...

Joy, I love that idea. When we are willing to just take a moment instead of barreling on ahead we allow ourselves the space to connect with that inner voice. There have been times that I have ignored my gut only to learn it was right! This is great advice! Do you simply go with your gut instinct or do you analyze it with logic?

Anonymous said...

I'm all for a path of my own choosing, Karen. Perhaps it's because I love the thrill of blazing my own trail, or perhaps it's because I'm too impatient to wait it out ;-)

jamiegrove said...

I usually try to take the route of my own choosing, but it depends on how long it will take and whether it's going to be a scenic drive.

Of course, if I'm in a hurry, I'm all for slamming it down into 4-wheel drive and plowing over the roadblocks. :)

Ellen Wilson said...

I find that the truest course has always been listening to the inner voice that says take the road less traveled.

I am generally impatient, also, and prone to shortcuts. Which often means thwarting my progress. It is better to wait it out and follow what your intuition says. Even when it gets difficult. Difficult does not mean bad.

Words For Hire said...

Hmmm, taking the road less traveled seems to be the common course of action. Perhaps most creative people feel this way?

@Amy, for one that lives audaciously not only are you blazing a trail but taking others with you!

@Jamie, LOL! Oh man I am watching out for you on the road! Punching geese and mowing through roadblocks, Ha!

@Ellen, I completely get this! I ALWAYS want to take the shortest route possible and can get frustrated when I am not getting there fast enough. There have been times when I have been forced to wait and though painful it has always been beneficial.

So we're all impatient, trailblazers who may run over those stupid cones. No wonder we all get along so well! Um, but if we ever do a road trip, I'm driving! :-) said...

Yeah, I see what kind of driver you will be Karen! Ha!

Well, the problem is that we want to be there NOW and forget the journey. Then when we do get there we think, well, now what?

Words For Hire said...

@ Ellen, HA! Yes I am still waiting for the whole Jetson tube transport system to be a reality. Me don't want no stinking journey, just the destination! We'll take Friar, he'll know what to do when we get there. Undoubtedly it will involve some highly technical engineering thing and a fishing pole. :-)

Brad Shorr said...

I'm with Joy. Roadblocks can turn into wonderful opportunities. It all depends on how you look at them. Besides, you can't really avoid them, can you? They're all part of the journey.

Words For Hire said...

Brad, if we could avoid the roadblocks in life I believe we would not grow. Humans seem to learn best when faced with a little adversity. If it was too easy we would not appreciate it. :-) Sometimes though I hate those cones! LOL!

Anonymous said...

My plan of attack these days is to wave as I go by...

"Why aren't you still a chemist?"
"How did you go from a casino to pharma?"
"There is nothing in your past that says you have experience with X, why are we even interviewing you?"

Those are some of the roadblocks that came before me during my last search.

Did I set out to move across country and change from a national utility PMO Manager, to an online support web site business intelligence and operational excellence product manager? um... no... they called me.

Lots of people called me... and many of the hiring managers wanted someone who could pick up ideas and run with them in creative ways... many of thier peers took one look at the variety of industries and roles I have been in and choked.

Would have loved to help them, sorry I couldn't stay longer, but there are too many ways that I can add value... so I wave good by, buckle up, and get off at the next on ramp.

Words For Hire said...

@Nancy, I love that answer, "wave as I go by!" Having worked in pharma, lab, genetics...I know how *ahem* courageous your choices have been. I am so glad that your abilities are being recognized. Companies need people like you with diverse experiences that can offer different perspectives and innovation. Your comment makes me cheer! Whoo hoo! *waving wildly as you pass by* Go Nancy!

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