“The sad thing about tennis is that, no matter how much I improve, I’ll never be able to match a wall.” – Mitch Hedberg
We face hurdles and walls both personally and professionally. In a lot of ways, walls are not like hurdles, however.
A hurdle is something that is difficult to see past and can be overcome with some planning and effort. On the other side, you never know when a hurdle will appear, they are hard to see past and many people can’t just leap over them.
For weeks, months, or even years, walls seem to be in our way. They are the things that we see in the distance and take the wind out our sails (metaphor mixing at it’s finest).
Take, for example:
These are not obstacles. These are not obstacles that can be overcome in a weekend. In fact, their mere existence makes it more difficult to address the root cause. It’s not possible to be “the best” if you don’t have the ability to work harder. It’s being at the bottom of the mountain without a rope.
Man, I love metaphors.
Overcoming obstacles and losing aversion
It’s not a good idea to let the perfect be the enemy. It’s difficult to formulate a plan of attack when you are faced with an overwhelming task like Amazon’s power. This is classic loss aversion.
Because we are hardwired to see potential losses, we don’t see the opportunities in things. This is how Carl Richards summarized it all in a New York Times article about the psychology of investing that he wrote a few years ago:
“We are hesitant to change the current situation because it requires us to have an opinion and make a decision. The very real possibility of making the wrong decision is part of making a decision. Even though it is costing us money, sticking with the status quo feels better.
Today we will look at five simple steps to help you overcome fear and walls.
Step 1: Establish realistic expectations
To overcome loss aversion, the first and most important step is to have realistic expectations about how things might turn out. You’re not likely to walk out of a casino feeling wealthy or destitute. Instead, think about what could happen and how much control you have.
Let’s say you are opening a store. Let’s say that you want to sell equipment for cameras.
Once you have achieved some success, things begin to level out and you can start thinking about the next steps. You realize that Amazon is your biggest competitor. How can you compete with Amazon, a $450 million business?
It’s already happening. You are in loss aversion paralysis.
Rephrase the idea of success in realistic terms to overcome the problem. Can you sell more camera gear that Amazon? No. You could sell more to the college if you worked with the art department. You could also focus on niche, high-end, used cameras. You can also focus on being a local winner rather than an Amazon destroyer.
There are many things that you can do to make your business more successful than just beating Amazon. You must have a realistic expectation of success if you want to overcome the wall. You must be happy with the success you are aiming for, even if that means Amazon stays in business.
You can’t be happy if you make yourself miserable, even in your success.
Step 2: Create a plan with an ending
The next obstacle to what seems insurmountable is that many plans we make are not finishable.
If the goal is to “sell more camera bags”, then thatR.