Nature-ExploreAt a board meeting this week for Nature Explore, a wonderful organization creating outdoor classrooms (and a client), Executive Director Nancy Rosenow asked each board member to share a lesson learned from a career challenge.

I talked about a misunderstanding with my boss where I wrongly interpreted a meeting and conversation we had. I thought I was on my way out the door, and the meeting prompted aggressively launching the path that culminated in Brainzooming. Nearly two year later, I learned my interpretation was a complete misunderstanding. My boss had simply wanted me to focus on other responsibilities, which is why he changed my job duties.

When You Can’t, You Don’t, and You Won’t Stop

Brick-WallIn the aftermath of the misunderstanding from the original conversation, I started working with a career coach. She pointed out that when I hit walls that could apparently halt my progress, I automatically re-direct and keep going.

As with so many strong insights about ourselves, I hadn’t necessarily realized this previously. It’s something I don’t think about, but likely comes as a coping mechanism for a recovering perfectionist. Figuring out a way to keep going is vital to not declaring a failure. You can’t have failed if you are still making progress!

5 Strategic Questions to Try

Thinking about the discussion at the board meeting, here are five strategic questions to ask yourself to keep you going when it seems you’ve hit a wall:

  • If I had to accomplish this now, what ELSE  could I do to make it happen?
  • If the preferred way doesn’t work, what are the NEXT best ways that MIGHT work?
  • If THIS isn’t successful, how can we legitimately redefine success?
  • If our window of opportunity is closing, how far and fast can we go on ANOTHER PATH to our intended destination?
  • Even if our entire effort isn’t successful, what IS WORKING that we can pick up and move forward with right now?

Pick whichever of these strategic questions fits your personality best to help avoid a dead end.

Running through any of them will help prompt a quick set of options you can pursue right now to put off what might seem inevitable when you can’t, you don’t, and you won’t stop. – Mike Brown

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