5 Ways to Conquer “The Wall”

by | May 14, 2012 | Advice

You’re there…standing right in front of it, and it appears immovable.  There’s no way around it, and no way over it.

Chances are you yourself have created the wall, so it’s insidiously well-designed to foil any attempts to find a weakness.  You know yourself too well.

It’s the agent (or agents) who won’t return a call.  It’s the E-Learning project director you can NEVER seem to get a hold of. It’s the nagging crackle in your audio chain that intermittently screws up your recording. It’s the newsletter that WON’T get written.  It’s the cold call you JUST. CAN’T. MAKE.  It’s the demo that never sounds right.  It’s the branding slogan you can’t nail down….and on and on and on.

“The Wall” takes one of two or three forms:
1) A mental roadblock you’ve nurtured into a full-fledged fortress.
2) A procrastination that seems larger-than-life after weeks ‘n’ weeks.
3) A circumstance that befuddles you or is beyond your skill set.

Tell me if I’ve forgotten something.  Either way, the result is the same:  arrested development, zero progress, stagnant growth.

It’s time to punt.  Everything you’ve tried (or haven’t tried) isn’t working.  Be honest enough with yourself to admit it and take action (finally) to break the logjam.

Here are 5 suggested formulas to conquering your “wall”.

1)  Talk to a friend or even better…a mentor (or two).  Talking through the issue helps.  The conversation opens up ideas, offers encouragement, gets the juices flowing.  It could be your friend or mentor has been there, and has a possible solution, or knows someone who does.  You’d be surprised — if nothing else — how talking about it takes the power out of the quandary.

2) Break it down to smaller steps.  Try for a couple of smaller “wins” first, then build on it.  Make your list of the most elementary incremental advances, then revel in crossing each one off with a big thick felt-tip marker.

3)  Turn the issue upside down or work backwards.  Imagine what you’re doing or able to do now that your roadblock is GONE.  See all the potentials and developments that came from it.  Or what is the very last step you would take BEFORE climbing the wall..then what’s the step before THAT…and so forth, until you arrive at the place where you are today.  Now…do you see the way?

4)  Go out and play.  See a hilarious movie.  Take an old friend out, and crack open some old stories.  Read a short book.  Break the cycle.  Hit the period on your keyboard.  Strike out in a new direction entirely for a day.  Take a drive.  Divert your thoughts from the issue for an hour, a day, a week…refuse to think about it.  Then come back around and try again.

5) Service.  Nothing breaks your pity-pot more than doing something for someone else.  No other action resets your gauges better than offering a humble, free, pro-bono service to somebody, anybody who can use a hand or a boost.  When you take your mind off your own troubles, and focus on helping someone else, it’s cathartic.

Honorable mention:  Walls are bridges.  As trite as it sounds, conquering the wall puts another feather in your cap, adds another tool to your toolkit, and makes you a stronger person.  When you “cross over” that wall, it becomes the path to a new you, and a better you for having seen it through.  Bravo!

A couple of caveats: There may not be an answer.  It may have nothing to do with you and what you did or didn’t do.  Sometimes you have to realize you’ve been banging your head against the wall for too long, and then you have to accept that your own stubbornness is getting in the way of your progress, not the wall.  The wall can be there to tell you you’ve reached a limit…and realizing your limits is not a bad thing…like pulling your head out of the sand.

What have I missed?  What’s worked for you?  Got a quick anecdote you can share?


The following sites helped me focus on the solutions I’ve written above:




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