On my way to work this morning, I encountered a major traffic collision that caused me some delay. My GPS identified the delay and asked: ‘Would you like to Take the Detour or Stay En Route?’
‘As if I have a choice!’ I said aloud to myself as I clicked on ‘Take Detour.’
Huffing and puffing away in sweltering heat, my mind wandered to my recent post about Success on my Harvard Business Review LinkedIn Group. I’d posted that our CEO has been known to quote: ‘Successful people do what unsuccessful people are unwilling to do.’
I laughed out loud. My idea of success this morning, or perhaps for the day, would be to make it to work before the day was over!
My eyes gazed upon the trail of headlights that zoomed past me on the opposite side of the road. I was tempted to turn around and go back home.
But I stayed the course, making the analogy in my mind that, much like the road blocks of my day, in life I have faced challenges and will face obstacles that may delay my progress. But that’s life.
Our CEO’s quote to me means that being successful means reaching your destination no matter what. In a way, it’s like having a good, working internal GPS. Staying “en route” as much as possible, but also being willing to take a detour, try something new, find a new path to the same end goal. The idea is not allowing the roadblocks to deter us to the brink of no return. The idea is to keep going where others may give up. In my work I see it all the time. Sometimes people realize they’re on the wrong path, and they do change course completely. For example in the banking industry, a Cashier or Teller argues: ‘I am a Cashier not a salesperson’ when his or her manager sets new targets.
But other times people just don’t want to rise to the challenge because it takes them out of their comfort zone. It could be that same Cashier who desires progress, more money and more job satisfaction, but the fear of failure or fear of rejection is too intense. They decide that as soon as a road block presents itself, for example, an objection from a customer, to give up completely. ‘See I told you I don’t sell!’ They don’t look for that detour. In this case, it’s learning more about the customer or learning how to handle the objection better next time.
This is an acquired mentality. We are not all naturally born sales people, for example, but being willing to learn is truly what differentiates those who succeed in business from those who remain comfortable and complacent. You may encounter these people at your work place. They generally complain that they are underpaid and overworked. In a way these days, who isn’t underpaid and overworked!? But why allow yourself to be deterred by the challenges of work, and the road blocks that delay progress?
In the end, when it’s within my control, I shall remember my internal GPS. And remember I have two options: To Stay En Route or Take the Detour.
Whatever I choose, I’ll ‘never, Never, NEVER SWITCH OFF!’
Neda Bayat is Global Business Consultant for Cohen Brown Management Group, Inc. and Breakthrough PerformanceTech, LLC.