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“Obstacles are those hideous things you see when you take your eyes off the goal.” Henry Ford

I remember reading once that Tony Robbins, a famous coach, motivator and writer, asked himself an interesting question: “If in Formula One races, the drivers are all top-notch and the vehicle technology is practically the same, what makes that when machines skid in some curves, some of them crash against the barrier while others continue on the track?” Tony placed cameras in certain curves, filmed multiple skids, and in reviewing them, he made an astonishing discovery: In most cases, when the pilots looked at the barrier they hoped to avoid, they would crash; and in most cases where their heads were pointed towards the track where they wanted to stay, they stayed! The car seemed to follow the gaze of its pilot.

Something similar happens in our career and business. When we focus on where we want to go, our reality follows our beliefs and focus; and when fear makes us focus only on obstacles and impossibilities, we crash into barriers.

The question then is: how can we divert our attention from the real obstacles that we already know, and focus on possible solutions that we do not know of yet?

I want to share some personal tips:

Like most changes in life, it all starts with a decision. Choose to do it. It is an intentional act. In the same way that when you drive your car you decide to focus on the road and not on the rail of the bank, just do it.

Do not underestimate the power of words. Sometimes just repeating a phrase or two to the team like the old Frank Zappa adage “the mind is like a parachute, if it doesn’t open, it doesn’t work” or that “whether you think you can achieve it or not, you will be right” by Henry Ford, helps you refocus on the right perspective. But don’t limit yourself to these phrases, create your own mantra or invite your team to do so.

Clearly define the challenge. Sometimes we see monsters where there are only shadows. We need to objectively understand the situation and draw the ideal outcome, before formulating solutions. This is important. We need to get out of the situation, define the ideal or desired outcome, and then return to our situation to build the possible bridges between our current position and where we want to get to. If we start directly from the problem, our creativity will be limited because we will be starting from obstacles rather than possibilities.

Analyze and ask yourself what is the worst that can happen? Sometimes in the middle of the noise, we overestimate the circumstances. After evaluating the real risks, take time to meditate as well on the positive situations that could come out of that difficulty. What is the best that can happen?

Most of us have a negative cognitive bias, which tends to evaluate ambiguous situations from a more pessimistic than an optimistic point of view. The pain of failure affects us more than the pleasure of success, the sadness of the mistake more than the joy of the success. Losing 10% of an investment hurts us more than the joy of winning it.

Lastly, seek support. Unless you are an astronaut, a spy, or have decided to climb Everest, chances are others before you have been through the situations you face. Ask yourself: is there a leader or expert in the area (inside or outside your organization) who can help you? If the situation deserves it, consider hiring an experienced coach or mentor in that specific area to help you expand your vision so that you see what you are not yet seeing. It is a good investment.

To recap:

  1. Choose to focus on the solution (not the obstacles)
  2. Use phrases that open your mind and those of your team (your own mantra) 3. Objectively define the situation (turn down the noise)
  3. Ask yourself: What’s the worst that can happen? And the best?
  4. Be aware of negative cognitive bias
  5. Seek support

For questions or suggestions on topics, you can write to me at You can also visit my page

About me

Broadened the careers of organizational leaders into positions of greater influence and purpose.

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