“The Obstacle is the Way”

10 key learnings

Since 1998, my career has mainly consisted of joining companies that are a start-up in nature and immature in the product acceptance curve. I have been so blessed to work through the productization and commercialization of ideas with amazing mentors and leaders; I can now see how they do much of what is described below. Typically, we hear about the successes/wins, but since there are so many stories of challenges/obstacles I wanted to share some thoughts on this subject.

Recently, I was given the book “The Obstacle is the Way” by Ryan Holiday. This is an excellent book for people dealing with a business/industry challenge or is thinking about big ideas. It helped me process and formalize my strategic thinking. Here are my top 10 takeaways from the book:

1. Turn obstacles into launchpads/ how to deal with hardship. (Page 3)

As I read this section, I was reminded that “the harder the idea, the bigger the opportunity!” The book gives concrete examples from John D. Rockefeller, Thomas Edison, and Ulysses Grant to name a few.

Working in a traditional industry, Agriculture, and introducing new solutions I find there are many reasons new ideas are not quickly adopted. When we turn those ideas/obstacles into launchpads, it completely reframes the situation.  That is one approach I have taken over the last 18 years.

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