Sometimes you let yourself down.

It’s not whether or not you fall down, it’s whether or not you get back up. That is the essence of all motivational quotes on perseverance. Today I’m giving myself a pep talk. Because after having established and adhering to a very regular blog writing and publishing routine, this week I published… nothing. Not even a gif of tumbleweeds blowing past my keyboard.

I have a tall stack of excuses to lean on for my posting miss this week. I had work travel. I had long and late shoot days. But the biggest issue I didn’t overcome was that I got sick. I have been dealing with a strange kind of sickness that attacked my lungs and seems to have fractured my sleep-iphram, or whatever your sleep mechanism is called. After not sleeping all night, the last thing you want to do is get up at 6am to write for an hour or so. So I let myself off the hook.

Now I have to get myself back on the hook. Starting with a Saturday post that is really an apology. The apology is to me, from me. As I wrote about in, How to use fake deadlines to make your dreams come true, we make progress by giving ourselves false deadlines. They are the key to self driven accomplishments.

I had set false deadlines to publish blog posts every Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday. But this week I missed my own false deadlines. Boo. It’s not that the one week is a major problem. But I have annual blogging growth goals to meet. And I need every post to help accomplish those goals. 

Key Takeaway

We all stumble on our journeys at some point. The key is to not let those stumbles become the norms. The exception should be the exception. Don’t let it get promoted to the rule. Or the law.

And… I’m back on track.

What do you do when you see a road closed ahead sign?

Yesterday morning my family and I piled into our car to make a 2-hour drive to a basketball tournament in the small town of Freedom, Wisconsin. Freedom is just north of Appleton. If Appleton means nothing to you, Freedom is 20 minutes south of Green Bay. If you are from New York City, or a non-American, Freedom is 4 hours north of Chicago.

The Sign

Fifteen minutes into the drive, as we made our way down a country road, we approached a large sign that said: Road Closed 1 Mile Ahead. Local traffic only. As we approached the sign there was one car ahead of us. Upon seeing the sign the driver pulled to the side of the road, then quickly turned around and headed back the way we came, presumably to find a different route.

I ignored the sign and continued down the road anyway. One mile later, I approached a small fleet of construction vehicles parked neatly on the side of the road. They had clearly been put away for the weekend. Despite the warning from the sign, the road was indeed open and passable, even for non-locals like me. I drove through the hibernating construction site, and within a mile I reached the interstate on-ramp, exactly as I had planned.

Don’t Turn Around, Bright Eyes.

As I pulled onto the freeway, and reached my cruising speed, I reflected on this seemingly small incident. Because it was symbolic of how we go through life. We all see signs that tell us we can’t go this way or that. We are told of rules and limitations and regulations that cause so many among us to stop and turn around. Because most good, rule following  people stop when they are told the road ahead is closed.

But if you want to do great things, hard things or never-done-before things, you can’t follow all the road signs. You can’t pull a u-turn every time you are told no.  You have to question, challenge and push ahead. And when you do, you will be surprised how often the closed path advertised ahead is wide open and waiting for you to take it.

Key Takeaway

If you want to start a business, create an innovative new product or service, or forge a new route, you can’t turn around every time you are told you should. The same holds true in our personal lives. You have to find your way forward. Challenge the rules and laws. Question the assumptions. Don’t just take no for an answer. Find out for yourself what is really possible. Because beyond the no, the stop sign and the dead-end are where all the really great things are found.