pam christie, chief operations officer, demgenI heard a fable about a king that placed a boulder in a gravel roadway many, many years ago. Then he hid and watched to see if anyone would remove the huge rock. The king’s wealthiest merchants and courtiers came along and simply walked around it. Many loudly blamed the king for not keeping the roads clear, but none did anything about getting the stone out of the way. Then a peasant came along carrying a load of vegetables. Upon seeing the boulder, he laid down his burden and tried moving the large rock. He spent much time pushing and straining, and finally succeeded in clearing the roadway. After moving the boulder, he noticed a bag lying in the road where the boulder had been, which contained several gold coins and a note from the king indicating that the gold was for the person ambitious enough to remove the boulder from the roadway.

As entrepreneurs, there is much to learn from this fable. Many of us run into obstacles daily and feel that there are only two methods of handling them: we either go around them or move them.

But what if there was another way?

As our businesses grow and often our ambition with it, we tend to have a lot on the go. We’re handling things we have no experience with and at the same time may be juggling various personal issues and trying to have time for ourselves. When we come across that boulder that is exactly what we see, something large that’s in our way. Rarely do we see it as an opportunity.

Because we aren’t entirely focused on our path at the time, the path that holds the boulder (or whatever the obstacle), it can sometimes seem as if this is just one more thing to add to all of the others that are keeping you from attaining your goals. If you look at it in a different way, this obstacle is only one thing and by focusing on it completely at the time you come across it, you will learn a valuable lesson for the future. That you are capable of handling many of the problems you come across and by doing so, you learn things that can be applied to your business in the future.

Obstacles in business happen to all entrepreneurs. It’s how we handle them that leads to our success or failure. Doing the same thing you have always done when coming up against obstacles will lead to the same result so it’s time to try something new.

Stick to what you do best and bring in a support team. A virtual team is well organized and can work together with you to solve your most difficult problems, while at the same time allowing you to work on the parts of your business that you excel at. They are used to challenges and can teach you new methods of dealing with problems that tend to arise repeatedly.

Whether your obstacle is one of a changing market, a competitor that has taken away many of your customers or an internal obstacle such as illness, a team can point you in a new direction and give you the support you need to get back on board and moving ahead once again.

Remember that whether or not your business obstacles occur because of others or through your own choices, you can cast aside blame and just get to work on them, one step at a time. It won’t always be easy or necessarily done quickly but the more you can focus on putting your effort into your goals, the sooner you will reap the rewards and learn from doing it.


© Pam Christie, DemGen Inc. 2013