COACH KEN: THE OBSTACLE IS THE WAY
He was known as the last “good and great” emperor of Rome. He was a rare leader on both the battlefield and in the Senate. In the Roman senate he was respected for his concern for the common men and women of the Empire. He was a man of many talents; orator, leader, faithful husband, father, compassionate and courageous, not to mention humble. Marcus Aurelius was “one of a kind.” Ruling Rome from 166 to 180 A.D. He was the first emperor to recognize and cease persecution of Christians.
Marcus Aurelius was a “stoic” meaning he accepted life as it unfolded and found ways to overcome any hardship. His writings called “Meditations” influenced rulers and leaders for centuries to come. One of his beliefs was, “The obstacle is the way.”
Rather than resent setbacks and obstacles he believed that they were instruments that provided the means and motivation to create “solutions.” “Without barriers” he wrote, “there is not the motivation or passion to succeed.”
Every obstacle is unique to every human being. Most often the response to these obstacles are fear, frustration, confusion or even helplessness and anger. Whether “internal obstacles” like management or a spouse, or “external obstacles” like the economy or the competition, in most cases it is not the obstacles or situations but how we react.
Great leaders and courageous individuals immediately go into “solution mode” versus “panic mode.” In Marcus Aurelius’ writing, “Meditations,” he wrote:
NOW AT THIS VERY MOMENT,
NOW AT THIS VERY MOMENT,
WILLING ACCEPTANCE, NOW AT THIS VERY MOMENT,
OF ALL EXTERNAL EVENTS.
THAT’S ALL YOU NEED.”
He defined a three-step process to overcoming any barrier:
- It begins with how we look at any problem or obstacle, in other words our “attitude” and our “approach.” Replace frustration with determination, worry with action.
- The energy and creativity with which we face obstacles allows us to come up with solutions and opportunities.
- This creates the birth of internal strength that allows us to face defeat and turn it into victory.
Look around you during this difficult time of the Corona Virus and worldwide pandemic. Businesses closed their doors, in many cases forever, but the few that followed this three-step process are prospering. Chic-fi-la closed their “internal” service and replaced it with double lines and youthful employees with computer tablets, taking orders in record numbers! There are many more examples of businesses that faced the issues head on, got creative and passionate, and took decisive action.
What about you? Are you huddled in your home office wondering what to do next or have you followed the three steps that lead to success? The ideas are timeless. They worked in ancient Rome and they work in America, the land of opportunity and creativity. Within our company, Commercial Truck Training, both Will Brogan and I have followed the three steps of the ancient Emperor.
Results? We have three Ultimate Boot Camps scheduled and I am consulting with dealerships making personal visits. Will has become a machine and master of the “outbound phone call.” We are excited about our upcoming Virtual Boot Camp with Isuzu USA. We already have 32 people signed up and ready to overcome any obstacle. Steve Gardner with Shealy Trucks in South Carolina is using an online video tool to stay in contact with his customers! Way to go Steve! (We are taking Steve’s lead and doing the same!)
I spent time this week on the telephone with one of our dealers. The salesperson has embraced the coaching tips as well as the “three step process” and is already seeing results. Many of our dealers who have decided to take well planned, decisive action are having record months!
The obstacle is indeed the way! In fact, I think I will go to my local Chic-fi-la and pick up lunch today since they have “removed the obstacles and earned my business.” The only question is “what do I order? The regular combo or the grilled chicken sandwich?”
For more information about
Ken Taylor & Associates’ Commercial Automotive
Consulting program call
1-904-535-9996, or go to