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Life Health > Running Your Business

A Lesson in Overcoming Challenges

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In the Marine Corps, I was taught many valuable lessons that have helped me throughout my life, both personally and professionally. One incredibly helpful motto is “adapt and overcome.” This principle gets to the root of what it takes to overcome any challenge you may face, whether it be a health, financial, personal or career obstacle. Before you can overcome anything, you must first adapt to it.

So how do we adapt? Much like a chameleon, we can learn how to blend into our circumstances. In your business, this may require you to learn a new skill, learn how not to be a control freak or accept that your staff may not possess your same drive/conviction/determination to succeed. It may also be learning to get out of your own way.

For example, as a business owner, you may feel that your business is your baby and no one will love it and raise it the way you do. But the reality is that you cannot do everything. You have to surround yourself with people that want you to succeed. You have to trust your staff, give them authority, responsibility and the autonomy to allow you to do what you are good at. As a business owner, you are best served by focusing your energy on revenue-generating activities.

Seek your passion

Your obstacle may be motivation, self-doubt or self-sabotage, which can damage your business. But those, too, can be overcome. You must realize that you will not always be motivated to work hard every day. This is when you must be disciplined with yourself. If you are feeling low on motivation, seek out your passion—the reason you got into your business in the first place—and remind yourself what you are working for.

If you are struggling with self-doubt or self-sabotage, you must stop now! If you do not believe in yourself, no one else will. If you doubt your skills, get professional help to improve them. If you doubt your level of experience, be patient; experience takes time. But you must get out there and work at it. If you are sabotaging yourself, examine your fears. What is driving your behavior?

To overcome your obstacles, you must adopt beneficial habits. One of these is focus. We live in a world of constant distractions where multitasking is considered a skill. But it is detrimental to productivity. Focus on what is important, and focus on it alone. Block out time for specific tasks and optimize your workflow. Do not allow for distractions that are not true emergencies.

Another habit I learned from the Marines is having a sense of urgency. I am known for walking quickly through the office—ridiculously so. This is a literal and visual example of having a sense of urgency. Work with purpose. Work with intensity. Do not allow laziness or complacency to enter. Avoid lethargy.

Being self-employed gives you the freedom from having to answer to a manager. But that means you have to manage yourself and get help from accountability partners. Accountability is what you lose when you are self-employed (unless you have a board of directors). You need someone in your life to hold you accountable for what you need to be doing.

When it comes to overcoming obstacles, remember to adapt and overcome. Make this your mantra and you will see improvements in all areas of your life. Semper Fi!

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Kelly Kendall, a business consultant with Asset Marketing Systems, has more than 14 years of experience in sales and management in the technology and financial services industries. For more information, go to


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