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7-foot hurdles: How to overcome the obstacles you are facing

Updated: Dec 31, 2020

Photo by Jeremy Chen on Unsplash

"It is not going to happen."

The stark reality for the stretched and under pressure business professional is a more subtle and challenging job than the neat and uniform world that seems to only exist in self-help books. The real world is very, very messy.

More often than not, you don't get what you want. You certainly don't get it the first time of asking. Maybe you were on the receiving end of something that sounds very different but is actually the same thing:

"Meet me at 8 am on Monday in my office and I will review it..."


"Send me your proposal, and I will review it."

Now, how many times do you think people wouldn't make the early morning meeting on a Monday or didn't follow up with a proposal or even an email stating the ask? Too many.

Those people don't care enough to follow through, and their initial ask was risk-free, and throw away in some respects. Experienced leaders know this happens; they want to find out how much you want it (whatever it is).

Speaking with a team lead at a global technology firm, she told me about a recent request she received from one of her team members. The ask had been for executive coaching to help identify and develop new skills so they could be more effective. She was open to the ask and so requested a brief, written statement via email to explain the context, journey to this point and what the initial goals of the coaching would be. The requestor never sent the email and so never received the coaching. They didn't care enough to pull together their thoughts, especially regarding what they hoped to achieve from the coaching.

Often the initial 7-foot insurmountable hurdle turns out to be only 7-inches high. Believe in your idea, persevere and back it up with facts, alternative options and well thought out justification. Take on board feedback, ask others for their opinions, put yourself in the other person's shoes to see it from their perspective. By putting in the effort, you can figurately step over the hurdle and get what you want, so you hear:

"I am excited. Let's make it happen."


"I like how you have approached this, let's move forward with this idea."

Of course, not all the time, that's not how the world works. The real world is messy.

How to overcome initial rejection and how to step over a 7-foot hurdle


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