How to Push Through Brick Walls


The Bagg Group Follow-Through Factor Challenge continues with The Bagg Group career coach Gene Hayden, author of the internationally acclaimed The Follow-Through Factor: Getting from Doubt to Done.


Your last challenge was to think of the pursuit of your goal as a story you want to tell.

Every story is really the tale of a journey. Your story is about what happens on your way to your destination. (In this case, your destination is your goal.) What makes your story interesting is how you get around the obstacles on your way.

Every time you come up against an obstacle, you have a choice to make. What are you going to do?

But it happens to all of us at some point that we come up against a brick wall and we truly don’t know what to do.

We are blocked. In storytelling terms, we have the dreaded …. writer’s block.

An example: Let’s say your goal is to network. You come across a conference with industry leaders. You figure this would be a great place to make contacts. But you see a brick wall in front of you. There is simply no way you can afford the conference fee at this point. Now, you’re out of ideas for how to network.

3 great strategies to get unstuck: Choose the challenge that appeals most to you – or try all three.

1. Stop thinking about yourself, and instead give advice to someone else: It sounds counter-intuitive — but it’s often easier to come up with ideas for others than for ourselves. That’s because our emotions aren’t involved so creativity blockers like worry, fear and frustration don’t get in the way of our thinking.

Your Challenge: A friend, spouse, teen or adult child faces the same obstacle as you and is so discouraged. This person turns to you and says, “I really need your help, is there anything you could suggest for me?” What would you advise? 

2. Lower the bar on what you want to happen: The point is to keep moving. Sometimes, you can’t leap forward. But a baby step works too — slow and steady still get you there. For example, if you can’t afford a conference now, consider a small step to make a new contact, or to just get some fresh ideas.

Your Challenge: Ask yourself, “What small step is it possible for me to do today so I can still talk about how I’m moving forward?”

Using the networking example, you could ask yourself, “What’s free that I can do? Join a few Linkedin groups? See if there are Meetups to check out?”

3. Take some paper, and write as fast as you can for 10 minutes, no stopping: This is a great way to brainstorm with yourself –it’s a proven technique to problem-solve creatively, without letting doubt and negativity block you.

Your Challenge: Start with this opening line: There are a couple of ways I could solve this problem, I could …(now keep going for 10 minutes. Don’t think about whether your ideas are do-able or not, just keep writing as fast as you can.)

To meet your goal, you will need to do all kinds of problem-solving. At Bagg Professional, Bagg Technology Resources, Bagg @ Your Service, Bagg Managed Resources and Turn Key Staffing we’re always interested in how candidates problem-solve. And so are the hiring managers at the companies we work with — the best in the GTA and province.

The Bagg Group Follow-Through Factor Challenge doesn’t just get you closer to your goal or give you a story to share,  it prompts you to flex and reflect on your problem-solving strategies for better interviewing.

Next time, next challenge.

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