It is well known that growing a business is not for wimps. It takes hard work, dedication, focus, and a touch of luck. Even with all that, sometimes the odds still stack up against you. There comes times in our businesses and in our lives where events start piling up, creating, in first blush, what looks like insurmountable obstacles. So what to do when the odds are stacked against you?
I would like to share what I learned when the odds stacked up against me. Recently I ventured into a move from Utah to California. I had a lot of big work engagements coming up, so if I was going to make the move, I needed to do it fast in order to be available for the events I had previously committed to. Just like any big project, I set out the goal in April—to move to California before July.
My family and I committed to the move and put our house up for sale. We had an unusual home and thought it might take a year or two to sell. To everyone’s surprise, including us, our house sold in two and a half days after listing it. We now had a deadline to get out of the house.
We traveled back and forth to California looking for a home. We put out many offers and lost offer after offer. We soon learned that it is not so easy to buy a home in California. After much worry and stress, we finally secured a home that we eventually learned had a tax lien on it. We established a rental and purchase agreement with the owner then launched into the indomitable task of packing. (Nine years—nine children—lots of stuff.)
We had just finished packing our trailers of stuff, which were on the way to California, when we got the call that our house was no longer available. Despite the contracts we had in place, the house, without our knowing, had been foreclosed on. There we were, stuff halfway to California, and we had no home.
Often in business when you are on a worthy pursuit, you may run into some major challenges. I call it—the universes way of checking to see if you really want it.
Is It Worth It?
When you decide that you are being checked, the first step is to determine if the goal is still something you want, and it’s going to be worth the price to get it. Sometimes what we are going after is a nice dream, but when reality strikes it becomes apparent that it simply is not worth the effort. If the goal has lost its luster, and it’s clear that it is not something that you want to go through all the grief it will cost to obtain, it is best to re-evaluate and maybe make different plans. If, on other hand, it is something you still want, then you need to proceed to the next step.
Well, I really wanted a home, therefore I went to the next step.
Clearly Define Your Intentions
In a room absent of couches, chairs, or any furniture at all, I sat down on the floor in the midst of half filled boxes and looked at my brother and husband.
“Well, what are we going to do?” my husband asked.
“It’s simple,” I said, surprised that was even a question. “We are going to get to California as fast as we can, find a house and move in by the end of the week.”
It was Thursday.
“That’s impossible,” both my brother and husband said.
“Fine,” I said, “then early next week.”
“Still not possible.”
I looked at both of them dumbfounded. Why were they fighting me on this? “Of course that is what we are going to do.”
“Okay,” they said, and shrugged. They didn’t want to get in my way.
I didn’t blame them. I didn’t want to get in my way either. I was more than determined. This was my home we were talking about. I was going to do whatever it required to get the house. I didn’t care what got in my way. This kind of determination is not the easiest to have, but when you have it—it’s powerful. I knew and I know that anyone else who has this kind of determination will find a way.
Go for It
When we left for California, a lot of obstacles truly tested my resolve, including a traffic jam that made it so we traveled two miles per every two hours. We literally crawled into California. I was the only one in the car whooping and hollering when we made it across the board. The symbolism of crawling into California was truly rich for me.
When our van started overheating, I knew that this absolutely was a test of endurance. As we drove, I kept ongoing communication with our Realtor and would tap the screen of my phone, only when possible, to view virtual displays of homes. I lined up a house to see, and the Realtor communicated with the owner. We pulled into town about 7 pm.
We often hear advice to play bold in business and life. My interpretation to that is to do things others wouldn’t think to do. Before we pulled into town, I turned to my husband and said, “I want you to know I have every intention of buying this house tonight.”
He laughed at me. “Yeah right.”
Three hours later I had a verbal agreement from the buyer. We were going to close on Wednesday.
My biggest take-away was when I was pushed up against the wall and things were stacked against me. That’s when I recommend to plow ahead. Be clear what you want and charge forward. Laughs and scoffs of others mean that you are on the right path and you are getting close. Play bold, and what you viewed as the impossible just might become possible.
Question: How have you overcome obstacles in your life?