Have you ever hit a brick wall, something so solid and immovable that you can't see any way around it, no matter how hard you try? It can cause you to feel a failure, perhaps isolated from others, as despair and frustration set in. Life doesn't always go to plan; in fact sometimes we can feel that we're dealing with a problem so complex and unassailable that there are no options left from which we can salvage a good outcome.
I'm sure many of us have at times had this experience, of insurmountable problems, no way forward and perhaps excessive demands being placed on us, maybe all at the same time.
- Work, relationships, home life, health and friends are all areas that can sometimes seem to be operating in an unhelpful and unsupportive way. There may be conflicting demands or responsibilities that require much of our time, energy and attention Sometimes we may need to acknowledge that our desired plans and choices are not feasible at the present point in time.
- Be strong and admit if something's not working. There's no shame in trying something new; it's often a great learning experience, can introduce you to new people and allow you to explore other options. But recognise if it's time to stop banging your head on that brick wall. Others will usually appreciate your honesty, see you as more human and may even suggest a referral to someone who's in a position to help.
- Appreciate that impediments and immovable objects can sometimes provide a useful interlude for you to stop and audit your plans. Dedicate time to review, evaluate and even revise your commitment to your latest project or course of action. Enforced reflection can be a valuable investment of your time.
- There may be some merit in using your temporary timeout to conduct a survey or canvas staff, clients or colleagues for their views. While you're considering your next step why not ask for their opinions, how they view your business or enquire whether they have suggestions to help you grow or improve what you already offer? Other people see things from a different perspective and their feedback may provide valuable insights which could spur you on to a renewed plan of action.
- Accept that your loss of direction may have caused your associates to temporarily lose confidence in you. Management are often expected to be problem-solvers, with all the answers and so, depending on the closeness of your relationships, it may be disconcerting for your team to see you in such a different light. Explain sufficiently and reassure those who need it.
- If you've hit a brick wall it may be appropriate for you to take yourself away from the situation and seek advice elsewhere, in a more confidential arena. Many business owners appreciate the role that a mentor, coach, confidante or partner can play, someone who's survived setbacks or whose support and input they value and respect. A counsellor may help them rediscover their confidence, focus and self-belief again. Stressful situations can be draining and cause mental and emotional debilitation. Sharing the load, talking things through and being heard, understood and supported can make a huge difference.
- Many business owners experience self-doubt at times. Find a setting where you can exchange ideas and problem-solve. Maybe someone you've met at a conference, network meeting or on a business forum would be happy to provide time to talk through your situation in a safe, confidential setting or you could initiate a discussion on a site where contributors are happy to openly discuss solutions and the lessons learned from their experiences.
- Stepping away for a time to reconnect with the personal areas of life can provide a therapeutic break, a chance to clear your mind and regain a more appropriate perspective. Time spent may enable you to appreciate that you don't have to be perfect or do it all yourself. It may be viable to outsource or hire areas of expertise or begin to align yourself with someone who has complementary skills. Viable solutions often become apparent after a break.
- Do something that lifts your spirits and reminds you why you do what you do. One of my friends test drove a super-car, returning afterwards feeling revitalised and ten feet tall. Others may be motivated after time spent with family or at the spa or golf range. Take a break and step back from your 'wall'. Find something that rewards you and reminds you of your worth. Use that to give a boost to your confidence, with time to recharge and enjoy a distraction.
Being 'resilient' is often thought of as being tough, strong and keeping going no matter what. In fact resilience demands that we stop occasionally, take stock of things, adapt and grow in the light of new challenges and goals. Hitting a brick wall indicates that something is not working as initially anticipated. The companies I work with and the workshops I run, place a high value on training staff and management to be resilient by taking stock of the present moment and learning to adapt to an ever-changing and unpredictable future. We discover that a brick wall can be worked around.