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  • Jerry Phillips

Dealing with Obstacles

There is a Buddhist saying that is referred to as the Second Arrow. The Second Arrow is when something happens, the first arrow, and then you continue to let the first arrow bother you. That’s a simplified definition but holding onto something and letting it continue to bother you, is the second arrow. It’s self-inflicted pain. I had that opportunity this week.

We had just flown home from an amazing wedding and business trip to Portugal. We had spent 10 days enjoying the beauty of the country, and the friendliness of the people. We traveled for nearly 20 hours to get to Austin, only to find that our car would not start. The car would not even start as we tried to jump the battery. Our daughter graciously came to our rescue, and we had the vehicle towed to a dealer.

I could have let that bother me and grind over the lousy ending to a great trip, but this time, I did not. What was different? Maybe I was so tired that I just didn’t care, but that wasn’t the case either. Perhaps I learned that I can’t control all things, and this was just another hurdle to deal with. Anger would not fix the issue. I can’t force the car to start or for the repair to be done any quicker by holding on to the second arrow.

In your business there will always be challenges in sales, marketing, and operations. Sometimes orders don’t come in that are anticipated and it may cause you to miss the monthly quota. A marketing message may not bring in the expected leads, and a product launch may not generate the revenue forecasted. Product availability may cause a customer to go elsewhere to purchase. Does getting angry help any of those situations? We must be accountable to our forecasts, and we can hold our counterparts accountable, but it must be done professionally. Anger solves nothing. It’s a waste of energy.

How do we overcome an obstacle in our business. How do we control the anger that develops when we have something happen that changes our anticipated course? I like to take a longer view and focus on what I want to accomplish. I focus on how to get there instead of all the reasons I can’t. I’m still learning to let go of the first arrow, so there isn’t a second arrow.

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