On a good day it’s a 60-minute drive. On a bad day, endless. Route 585 takes you through Amish country, the only viable route to Wooster, Ohio. If you consider as viable a two lane, too slow road. On this particular August day, I was making fast time on this slow road. A sunny day and not a two-wheeler as far as the eye could see.
And then I saw it ahead of me in the distance. At first “it” was quaint, a whimsical reminder of days gone by. I thought “it” was an urban legend. A truck, ice cream, and that good humor tune churning melodically from every open vendor window. The good news was that I had proof that they still existed. The bad news was that this particular ice cream truck existed right smack in front of me. And 30 miles an hour was its top speed.
At first I was sure that the ice cream truck would pull over. Surely it would pull over at a gas station or restaurant along the way. Then I could continue on my way clear of this old fashioned obstacle. It didn’t happen. Five more miles passed, ten more miles and still the ice cream truck speeding along at sometimes upwards of 30 miles an hour. And no reasonable, legal way to pass.
I thought of other solutions. I coach my clients that they only control themselves. So I told myself I could control my own actions. Why didn’t I pull over for 10 minutes, make a couple of calls, and let the truck get ahead of me and out of my frustration zone. Fortunately I looked in the rearview before implementing this strategic decision.
A line of one hundred cars snaked their way behind me. Each one indirectly a prisoner of the ice cream truck. If I gave up my position in this automobile version of a conga line, I would be car number one hundred and one.
And so I persevered. I extolled to myself the virtue of patience. I willed the ice cream truck to turn off this road that was my only way out. And I continued at 30 miles per hour, when the truck accelerated to its top speed.
Somewhere between impatience and tear-your-hair-out frustration I was struck by a thought. Momentarily blinded by the simplicity and clarity in this ice cream truck and its analogy.
We all have an ice cream truck in our lives: in our past, in our present, in our future. We all have something that figuratively or literally slows us down.
What is slowing you down?
It was easy to identify the ice cream truck as slowing down my journey.
Other times it is more difficult to see what is slowing us down.
Especially when it is ourselves.
It is one skill to see the obstacle in front of us,
another skill to see what is missing that is creating an obstacle.
Consider these potential obstacles that slow down your professional and business velocity. To identify how to accelerate your velocity, ask yourself these questions.
Have a 21st century mindset?
Use 21st century language?
Use a real value proposition?
Ask an arsenal of questions that probe?
Surround yourself with a team of professionals that help you accelerate?
Use vendors that move quickly?
Know the rules of communication?
Know the difference between conversation and communication?
Do you attract the market to you?
Do people know how to refer you?
Do you ask for testimonials?
Get real about your pipeline?
When you have answered these questions, there are more questions to ask to remove the obstacles. The good news and the bad news: many of the obstacles, we place in our own way! As Walt Kelley wrote in his comic strip Pogo, “We Have Met the Enemy and He is Us” (Email me for a list of 57 obstacles on your road to success).
Is there an ice cream truck in your life? What is slowing you down, impeding your ability to soar? It’s not your competence. It’s your competence to identify and accelerate past the ice cream truck in your personal road to success.