The obstacle is the way. The obstacles do not obstruct the path. They shape the path. They are the path.
Ryan Holiday invites us into a new perspective and posture to obstacles and adversity. Well, not new really. It is actually rather ancient. He bases his premise on the words of Marcus Aurelius and roots the text in the wisdom of the Stoics.
“The impediment to action advances action. What stands in the way becomes the way.” — Marcus Aurelius
As individuals and as a collective, our team is wired to seek out the hard stuff and dive into the things that a lot of people would walk away from. We can see the other side, the future, the solution – and this is what carries us forward through obstacles and failure. Failure is inevitable in our work, so much so that it is embedded within our core values. Though this does not always make it easy.
When working on a project recently, Charlie shared with John, “This thing I am working on could be my first big failure.”
Quite surprised, John said, “Charlie you have designed your life by failure. Why is this one scaring you more than others?”
We have wound ourselves so tight in today’s world to avoid it at all costs, but “failure shows us the way by showing us what isn’t the way.” It is in the presence of failure or potential failure that we are faced with an opportunity, an invitation to choose our response. In each moment we must focus on what we can control and what we can change: our perception, our emotions, our judgments, our creativity, our attitude, our desires, our determination. In this way, we shape our reality.
As we engaged with this text, our team found a strong connection between the maneuvering of obstacles and building trust. There was a renewed commitment to use the challenging moments to build more trust with each other and with our clients based on how we react and move forward through the obstacle.
Especially in the industry of tech-based problem solving we get the chance to build deeper relationships of trust through failure every day. Sometimes this will call us to slow down and zero in to see a problem resolve to solution – a process that can feel painfully slow when we hold the future state in mind. But the slowing allows for learning, connection and most often leads to a far better outcome.
“Wherever we are, whatever we’re doing and wherever we are going, we owe it to ourselves, to our art, to the world to do it well.”
This is our commitment to all of you as we collectively Keep Buggering On. (Thank you Winston Churchill for the very catchy tagline).