I travel to some countries where things don’t really work. The roads are sub-standard, the drainage is poor if it exists at all, the power supply is intermittent, sewerage systems are less than optimal, water supply is dubious in terms of quality and security is an issue. Huge amounts of money need to be invested in suitable infrastructure development projects and town planning needs a rethink. Transport systems need to be upgraded and ways of lessening road traffic and controlling existing traffic flow need to be sought. The electrical distribution systems need to be revamped, as wires dangling by the dozen over roads and walkways produce serious risks. Centralised parking areas need to be created to “handle” the volume of vehicles that invade the city on a daily basis. There are a few problems that need to be faced.

Despite all of these seemingly insurmountable issues, however, hotels are springing up everywhere and businesses are flourishing. In speaking to the General Manager of one such hotel, I came to an understanding of how they overcome some of the difficulties they face on a daily basis:

  • They have installed three generators, two of which seem to run 70% of the time and one being a back-up machine
  • They have their own water purification plant and thus don’t rely on local water supply
  • They have a sophisticated security system, with cameras, guards and the like
  • They process their own sewerage and waste water, re-using processed water for irrigation of the gardens

In the face of all these extra costs and high overheads, what is really surprising is that this particular hotel is the most profitable in the hotel chain – a group of one hundred hotels scattered in Africa and other parts of the world. They have not allowed difficulties and obstacles to stand in the way of success. They have taken responsibility for the operating environment and have made it work for them, not giving up when the odds seem to be stacked up against them. The hotel is an “island of success” in a troubled environment.

It is just too easy to give up, not to persevere and not to take responsibility. We often feel that things are “out of our control” and therefore impossible. Perhaps, when faced with obstacles that stand in your path, you can do the following:

  • Understand your goals and dreams – have a clear picture of what you want to achieve with your life, your career, your family and your personal growth
  • Get to grips with the obstacles that stand in your way – obstacles are challenging, but not insurmountable. Understand the power base that controls the obstacle – there may be an easy way to conquer it
  • Look for alternatives – even seek help with this (consult with others)
  • Develop influential networks – solutions may come from the most surprising of places
  • Work on a strategy – involve others if possible
  • Implement your plan and persist with your dream

It is possible to take responsibility when the odds seem to be stacked against you. Obstacles, barriers and detours are but challenges that need solutions. With inborn creativity and enlisting the help of some knowledgeable associates, you can take responsibility for your context and overcome difficulties.