The Road to Success in Business

How often have you heard someone say, “If only I had started that new career or business, or followed through on that idea.” More regret surfaces when reading about someone else who did enter that career, did start that business or did follow through on that idea and became wildly successful. Haven’t we all heard someone say, “I thought about doing that years ago.”

For many of us, the road to success then becomes the road not taken. Why does this happen?

                                                  Obstacles Happen

If you are driving to Boulder, Colorado for your high school reunion, you expect a few bumps or potholes along the way. The road to success is fraught with these and many more obstacles and there is no GPS or Mapquest to direct you!

Let’s take a look at some of the obstacles on the road to success.


Your neighbors, George (a dentist) and Joan (a regional manager), make cupcakes that are chock-full of omega-3 and vitamins, and are moist and delicious, and a hit with everyone in the neighborhood. They always say that they would love to market these tasty treats but they just don’t have the time or money. Most people see these roadblocks and exit the road to success and return to their comfortable existing lives.

Difficulty Finding Their Way

Perhaps George and Joan don’t know the first thing about marketing. What’s the best way to market on the internet? Who do they contact to have their product put into the local coffeehouse chain store? Sometimes people become frustrated that they don’t know how to start their business or how to start a new job search, etc. Usually, they too get off the road to success.

Out of Gas

Then again, Joan and George may have been very excited when they first thought about bringing their creative concoction to the world but as time passes so does their enthusiasm. Running out of gas leads many people, again, to get off the road to success.

Treacherous Conditions

George and Joan now are selling their goodies to the local coffeehouse. Next week, ads will appear in the newspaper, showcasing their cupcakes and announcing their website. They crunch some numbers and, to their horror, discover that the price they are charging does not cover their expenses. The same day a supplier informs them that he will no longer carry one of their key ingredients. The next day they learn that the website will take longer than expected.

It’s easy to become overwhelmed when numerous obstacles bombard you all at once. That’s when negative thoughts about your abilities seep in, sabotaging efforts and draining confidence. Once again, you are likely to exit the road.

You wouldn’t turn around and forget about your reunion in Bloulder just because of obstacles on the highway, no matter how many. It is equally ridiculous to deal with obstacles this way on the road to success!

                            Overcome The Obstacles And Keep Going!

Navigate The Obstacles Yourself

Joan and George may decide to read an article or a book about how to solve their problems. This is a terrific way to gather information but not all obstacles fall neatly into any one article or the information may be buried in a book that you don’t have time to read.

Or Joan and George will brainstorm when they have the time. This can be a very good source of ideas. However, brainstorming with another who is also steeped in the business is less than ideal because it is harder to uncover blind spots in their thinking or get a fresh perspective on an issue.

Take A Co-Worker, Spouse Or Family Member Along For The Ride

The most effective way to help overcome obstacles while driving is equally valuable when traveling the road to success. Travel with a knowledgeable companion who can help you every step of the way.

Joan may decide that she knows a co-worker that she can bounce ideas off of. This can be a good idea but not always. Does she really want to reveal their financial dilemma to a co-worker and perhaps have this information become fodder for the rumor mill? In other cases, it might not be an option. What if your goal is to switch jobs or quit your job eventually to run your business? Not neccessarily the kind of discussion you would want to have with a co-worker!

George may think that a family member, like his brother, would be a good sounding board. But upon further reflection, he may realize that family members are usually not a good source for objective and candid input.

To make matters worse, all of these people are wrapped up in their own hectic lives. Joan may find herself discussing her fantastic idea with a colleague over lunch while he is checking his email. Or George may find his discussion with his brother competing with the basketball game playing on the flatscreen while children scurry about. Not ideal situations to keep you on the road to success!

Also, because of the demands of their busy lives, spouses, family and friends tend to help sporadically, when they have time. This lack of consistent, on-going support and input can deal a deadly blow to achieving your goal. Once the adrenaline starts pumping, you need to take advantage of the momentum. How many times have you gotten pumped up about a project or an idea after discussing it with someone only to lose interest as times goes by? (Basically, you run out of gas.) Without regular, in-depth discussion and skilled input to nurture your goals, it is likely that you also will abandon your goal and exit the road to success.

The bottom line is that your friends, spouse or family are well-intentioned but they cannot provide the consistent, focused, candid and objective input that your goals deserve and need to keep you on the road to success.

Hire A Certified Coach To Take With You On The Ride

A certified, skilled coach can help a client create a game plan to overcome their obstacles. For example, the lack of money roadblock can turn into a discussion about how to cut expenses, where to borrow money, or where to find an investing partner. And the no time roadblock can turn into a discussion about how to delegate more at work, re-prioritize the to-do list at home, or take on part-time help, etc.

Through probing questions and careful listening, a skilled coach can help clients identify the steps that are needed to start that business, switch jobs, etc. so the client no longer gets lost along the way.

In-depth, regularly scheduled coaching sessions bolster enthusiasm and momentum. Clients set intermediate goals that they achieve, keeping them focused and on target, and causing their enthusiasm to soar.

Lastly, being faced with numerous obstacles can seem overwhelming and can even crush confidence entirely. A coach helps clients focus on their strengths so that they readily see how they can overcome any and all obstacles. At other times, by brainstorming ideas with clients, they can prioritize the obstacles and develop a step by step plan to overcome them. As a result, clients make more informed decisions which, in turn, fuels their confidence.

With a certified, experienced coach, Joan and George would deal with their obstacles confidently and continue on the road to success.

                                                       Parting Comment

Those who use a skilled coach will never have to regret the road not taken because the coach skillfully helps them travel down that road. They are able to live the life they want and the life they were meant to live.  Isn’t that the life you deserve to live?

Copyright 2008 Ellen Cohen