You’re blindsided with news that your carrier is getting out of the business, and now you’re scrambling to find another company before you burn through cash reserves. Or, you’ve added a new $180,000 expediter truck to your fleet, but it’s parked, not earning any income, because freight has slowed down.
Whether you’re an expedite owner-operator, fleet owner, or both, one thing’s for sure: you face numerous obstacles that knock you off kilter, causing you to feel overwhelmed and unsure about how to best proceed. But what if you could grow your capacity to keep calm under pressure to find the best way to solve your problem?
That’s precisely what Ryan Holiday teaches in his best-selling book “The Obstacle is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Trials into Triumph.” The book draws from the ancient Greek philosophy of stoicism to show today’s business owners how to overcome adversity with greater perseverance and resilience.
Here are seven lessons I’ve gleaned from the book, with relevant quotes from Holiday, that I think can also help you overcome the obstacles to your success in the expedite business.
Lesson #1: No matter how big the problem, proceed with certainty that you will solve it.
“There is always a countermove, always an escape or a way through, so there is no reason to get worked up.”
Lesson #2: There’s an opportunity behind each obstacle, if we look for it.
“You will come across obstacles in life — fair and unfair. And you will discover, time and time again, that what matters most is not what these obstacles are but how we see them, how we react to them, and whether we keep our composure. You will learn that this reaction determines how successful we will be in overcoming—or possibly thriving because of—them.”
Lesson #3: Stay calm, even when everything in you wants to freak out.
“Obstacles make us emotional, but the only way we’ll survive or overcome them is by keeping those emotions in check — if we can keep steady no matter what happens, no matter how much external events may fluctuate.”
Lesson #4: Don’t fear the problem; use it to your advantage.
“The struggle against an obstacle inevitably propels the fighter to a new level of functioning. The extent of the struggle determines the extent of the growth. The obstacle is an advantage, not adversity. The enemy is any perception that prevents us from seeing this.”
Lesson #5: Overcome the obstacle by changing how you see it.
“The Greeks understood that we often choose the ominous explanation over the simple one, to our detriment. That we are scared of obstacles because our perception is wrong — that a simple shift in perspective can change our reaction entirely. The task, as Pericles showed, is not to ignore fear but to explain it away. Take what you’re afraid of—when fear strikes you—and break it apart.”
Lesson #6: No matter what “cards” life deals you, play them to win.
“We forget: In life, it doesn’t matter what happens to you or where you came from. It matters what you do with what happens and what you’ve been given. And the only way you’ll do something spectacular is by using it all to your advantage.
Lesson #7: Persist until you succeed.
“What’s required of us is not some shortsighted focus on a single facet of a problem, but simply a determination that we will get to where we need to go, somehow, someway, and nothing will stop us.”
The Bottom Line
When you train yourself to see the opportunity in every obstacle, you gain the mindset you need to solve your biggest challenges — and build a profitable business in expediting that can succeed for the long haul.