Instantly Improve How You Navigate Business (and Life) Obstacles

4x4 mindset business tips gatekeeper overcoming obstacles rock crawling May 02, 2023
Instantly Improve How You Navigate Business (and Life) Obstacles

The best leaders I know expect obstacles and focus on finding a way to navigate them. They don’t waste time wishing for an obstacle-free path.


I’m reminded of this when I’m rock crawling on the mountain in my Jeep. When you encounter obstacles, you do three things:


  1. Stop and observe the situation
  2. Decide a path through the obstacle
  3. Commit to it and take action


Stop and observe the situation

The first step is to observe the situation and identify options. There is an obstacle known as "Gatekeeper" on Eagle Mountain in Coquitlam, BC. It is aptly named because you encounter it just 1km along this road, and most people turn back.


In business and life, how often do you turn around at the first obstacle without stopping to observe the situation and assess your options? Sure, sometimes the right decision will be to turn around. In this rock crawling situation, maybe you don't have enough ground clearance for the obstacle. But I often witness people who DO have what it takes to overcome an obstacle, but they turn around and avoid it without having really observed what is possible.


Decide a path through the obstacle




Once you've assessed the situation and determined options, you select a path. In rock crawling, for the more serious obstacles, you need to pick a very deliberate path (or line) and stick to it. For Gatekeeper, too far left and you slip off the rocks and get stuck. Too far right, and you hit the actual side of the mountain.


The key here is to be decisive with the information you have. I've learned a few things along the way that have helped me immensely with decision making:


1. Stop trying to make the perfect decision. Taking no action is often much, much worse than taking action which you end up needing to correct or adjust later. This is a common mistake I see leaders make. How often have you missed out on business opportunities because you were waiting for perfect information?


2. Stop treating easily reversible decisions like they are irreversible. Jeff Bezos and the culture at Amazon have this nailed. Read about it here.


3. Explain to your people why you are making the decision. If you need to change it later, explain why it is changing. Many people struggle with change. I've found that this approach of letting people know why, and then letting them know why a decision has changed, help you make quicker decisions without perfect information.


Commit to it and take action

Once you've made a decision, commit to it and take action. Trust that you've done the required preparation, identified the options, and made the best decision with the information available.


One of my favourite quotes regarding hockey sums this up nicely:

"You miss 100% of the shots you don't take." - Wayne Gretzky

And when you’ve surpassed the obstacle, take a quick moment to reflect on what you learned so that you can bring it forward to your next obstacle. The more you apply this in business and life, the easier it will be to expect and overcome future obstacles.


Good luck bringing the 4x4 mindset to your business and life obstacles!

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