By Sunny Simon

Several months ago my client, Chris, hit a brick wall. After employing every strategy we discussed to score a big promotion, the job went to a co-worker with less experience. Chris was too big a man to call foul, and yet I knew he was thinking it. It occurred to me the outcome was unfair, but the reality was game over, time to move on.

What do you do when a barrier prevents you from achieving a personal development goal? First ask the key question: did you possess the skill set to scale the wall? For Chris, the answer was yes. He had the ideal experience, a positive attitude and stellar skills.

Upon being passed up for the promotion, Chris had to acknowledge the wall existed. Most importantly he needed to find a meaningful take-away. After some reflection, my client determined the wall sent a strong message that he should grow his career elsewhere.


Sometimes it happens that way. No one promised it would be fair, or easy. Chris didn’t give up on his goal to climb the corporate ladder. He walked away from the wall, sucked up the disappointment and charted a new course. As proclaimed by super salesman and motivational speaker, the late Zig Ziglar, “When obstacles arise, change your direction to reach your goal; do not change your decision to get there.”

There is no straight line to success. Often we must opt for the road less traveled, but where to begin? Start by taking stock of your skills. If you don’t have everything it takes to cross the goal line, figure out how to develop the required talent. Enhance your knowledge by returning to school or taking a course.

If, like Chris, you are well equipped to meet the challenge, perhaps all you need is a dose of encouragement. Look for a role model. If you don’t have an accomplished friend, head to the library and read biographies about your superheroes. Follow successful people on Twitter, subscribe to Success Magazine, and other online publications. Absorb the back stories on  innovators like Steven Spielberg, Michael Jordan and Lady Gaga who hit a brick wall or two before laying claim to success.

Once you’ve changed directions, stay the course no matter how difficult. Billionaire Mark Cuban claims there are no shortcuts.  You must have the willingness to learn, stay focused, and do the work.

Curious about Chris? I am happy to report changing course worked out well for him. He is now working for the competition with a substantial salary increase.

Sunny Simon is the owner of Raise the Bar High Life and Career Coaching and the author of the blog