What do you do when you hit The Wall?

If you ever meet a professional speaker, ask them what they used to do. Every speaker I have met left a career to begin speaking. Me, too! We either got tired of our job, or fired from it! The work is difficult and the travel can be a nightmare. Almost no one is in college somewhere saying, “I can’t wait to graduate and move on to my career in professional speaking!” Still many people go into the field when their job dries up. Most describe the sudden transition like hitting a wall.

Sooner or later in life you are going to hit “The Wall.” When you hit a wall, your momentum stops completely. You want to continue in the same direction, but The Wall is preventing you from moving forward. Many people have hit The Wall and it has stopped them completely. Walls are often unexpected, rarely welcomed and force us to stop and evaluate practically everything we thought was sure and secure.

You feel like a failure. A little voice hisses at you, “If you fall, you will never get up. You’ll be a failure for life.” Failing and being a failure though aren’t the same. Some of the most famous successes in life have come in the midst of failure. We are taught that Edison was a brilliant inventor, but he failed many, many more times than he succeeded. You feel like a failure when you don’t succeed every time, but you don’t always see the successes that brought you here. Have you ever been to a prize drawing and heard someone say, “Oh I never win anything!”? The truth is, they have been winning their whole lives. They simply chose not to notice the victories. When you fall, you need to see what caused it – The Wall.

When you hit a wall, you are stopped cold. The direction you thought you could go in has been blocked. You were coasting right along and then BAM, you hit The Wall. The Wall is no respecter of position or prominence. Everyone hits it at some or many points in life. The question is, how are you going to respond when you hit The Wall? What is your reaction when you know what you have been doing or enjoying success in dries up?

Here are some tips for guidance when you hit The Wall in your life or career.

1. When you hit The Wall, stop. Stop moving. The Wall stops everyone, but some people try to keep going, ignorant of the fact that they can’t. Stop hitting The Wall, like a child’s wind-up toy. Instead, look at where you are. John Maxwell says, “The next time life knocks you down, look around. Pick up something down there you can take back up with you.” Find out why there is a wall in your path. What is causing The Wall to be in place?

The Wall is forcing a change. Oprah Winfrey said, “Failure is really God’s way of saying, ‘Excuse me, but you are moving in the wrong direction.’” What is The Wall forcing you to change? I meet people every day who are still trying to press forward and do or sell products and services that no one is buying. But they continue to defy wisdom. The Wall has told them they can’t move forward, but they just keep ignoring it and pushing forward. When was the last time you began to feel a cold coming on and denied it? Eventually you had to give in and just allow yourself to be sick.

2. When The Wall stops you, look for a window. The Wall forces you to look at things differently. The Wall blocks your vision and gives you something new to look at. What is your new vision? What is the perspective you have now that you have hit The Wall? What can you see differently that you couldn’t before The Wall changed your forward progress?

The death of Princess Diana in 1997 was tragic to many people. There were mourners in every corner of the globe. But the royal family didn’t expect the magnitude of grief from the British people. It changed their perspective of traditions they held dear. They were forced to view this death as more than a private matter that was to be dealt with behind closed doors. Queen Elizabeth II had to see her role as a consoling individual, rather than the role of a withdrawn monarch. The Wall of Princess Di’s death changed her perspective.

3. When you hit The Wall look for a door. Find a way to go past The Wall and move in a new direction. Every wall has a door. The window tells you where to look; the door shows you where to go. What door is your wall opening for you? It may not be a door you would have chosen in the first place, but The Wall has forced you to take this new path. Don’t ignore it. The path is opening for you.

In November of 2009, Tiger Woods hit The Wall when his personal life became front page news. Matters he was responsible for had gone beyond his control. His private life was now very public. But in a concentrated effort, he looked to friends for guidance, sought help in counseling and rehabilitation and came out a strong player in the 2010 Masters Golf Tournament (tied for 4th). The Wall forced him to seek a door and move forward in a way he would have never moved previously.

Want to get past The Wall?

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