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So you’re barreling down the Career Super Highway and, oops, what is that you see on your horizon? A roadblock? A speed bump? A warning sign? A detour? Or maybe just a helpful stepping stone to bridge your way between where you are and where you want to go?

We’ve all had those days, sometimes they turn into weeks, when every step we take seems to lead to one more roadblock. We make plans, they fall through. We set goals and something gets in the way. We worry about things like the stock market, the job market, the farmer’s market and the price of eggs in China. (Okay, I just made those last two up but ‘I’ll bet someone somewhere is worried about them.)

So how do you handle mysterious things that get in your path? Do you come to a screeching halt and think “I’m safe where I am so maybe I’ll just pull over right here and hang tight until that thing goes away”? That’s what I’m seeing a lot of individuals and companies trying to do right now; hunker down, ride it out, wait and see. Well that’s a sure way to stall your career or your business but it is not a sure way to still have a career or business next year or even next month.

Or do you think “well it’s going to be rough so I’d better just step on the gas and try to get ahead of the pack”? Determination is a wonderful attribute but if it really was a roadblock you can do a lot of damage when you hit it and there just may have been a reason it was there.

Or maybe you are a true navigator, you get out your map, your spyglass and your compass and take stock of the situation. You consult with your team and the experts. You know that the thing on your horizon might be a brick wall but it might also be an opportunity. It might mean a detour, but the detour might take you somewhere you needed to go and would have never visited if your way hadn’t been blocked. It’s all a matter of perspective.

The economy is shifting the market. Maybe this is the ideal time to explore new markets, add new services and focus on convenience and customer service.
You just lost a key team member. Maybe this is the ideal time to restructure your strategy, evaluate your remaining team members, train new talent, reassign responsibilities, promote someone who has long deserved the chance to prove themselves. Team building is more than just hiring to replace a terminating employee, it’s getting the right people in the right positions and giving them the resources to grow.
Advertising dollars are tight. Maybe now is the time to consider new tactics, try a guerrilla approach, create advertising alliances with complimentary businesses, explore email and text to get your message to your market, do something none of your competitors are doing, hone your message and carve a deeper niche.

Not to be too Pollyannaish, but most set backs also represent opportunities. And the people who have the perspective and perseverance to find the opportunities are the ones who create so much wealth and happiness we often look them and think “wow, how did she get so lucky?” We create our own luck, in the choices we make, the people we surround ourselves with, the resources we tap into, the beliefs we allow to rule our thoughts and our decisions. How we create success out of crisis is part of our mental and emotional programming and ultimately we control that. Crisis doesn’t make or break a person; it reveals their inner strength and vision.

Or to quote Scottish writer Allan K. Chalmers, “Crises redefine life. In them you discover who you are.” Follow that with a quote from another wise man, Epictetus, who said, “First say to yourself what you would be; then do what you have to do.”

Okay, so there’s a bump in the road on your horizon, who will you be and what will you do?

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