Detours, Game-Changers, and Golden Opportunities

Detours, Game-Changers, and Golden Opportunities

In Chronicles of a CEO by Rebecca Liston

Ever the optimist, one of my friends said this to me the other day:“There are no obstacles. There are only opportunities.”

And she’s right.

From that spiritual, good mojo place she is absolutely bang-on.

But what about the times you aren’t exactly IN that spiritual, good mojo place? When, instead of seeing an opportunity, that obstacle really looks like a giant DETOUR sign?

What then?

And what about the times when you feel like you’re doing everything you possibly can do, and still you don’t seem to be “getting ahead?” You don’t physically SEE the large, looming detour sign, but somehow you have a sense that there simply must BE one there…why else isn’t what you are doing actually working?!?

One of my favourite things to do with clients is what I affectionately call an “Obs/Ops” session. Yep. You guessed it: Obstacles and opportunities (because they can be one in the same…a more “either/or” in my mind, for one person’s opportunity may be another’s obstacle. Depends on your perspective…)

The real magic of doing an assessment like this from an intuitive perspective is this: We are going to uncover obstacles and opportunities that you simply had no idea were even there.

No. Freakin’. Idea.

Because sometimes they are simply not obvious to the human mind.

Take, for example, a piece I did some months back for a client who was giving a talk with the desired outcome of having the attendees sign up to work with her. All of her training, every course she had ever taken, every coach she every listened to, had told her one thing: “2/3 of the way through your presentation, before you give your final piece of content, make them an offer to work with you and make it a group program that you can enroll each attendee into it.”

Now, before I go any further here, let me say that there is a ton of value in that advice and sometimes it seems counter-productive to “reinvent the wheel” so to speak. Why not follow the formula that was proven to work, right?

Here’s why not: Because it may not work for you!

When we intuitively connected with her audience weeks before her talk, it was very clear to us that following this type of “formula” would not in any way produce the results my client so desired. In fact, it was clear that, in following that formula, she would turn OFF her audience. They’d heard it all before. They were tired of the formula. They were looking to her to be different. To be unique. To do something outside the box (and outside of what she could even conceive of in her own mind…because it was nothing she had been taught nor ever seen done before.)

So in this case, we identified an obstacle: following the formula she had learned would actually be a detriment to her success.

And then we created an opportunity (because now we were moving into some good mojo moments!)

We connected intuitively with her audience again and asked them: What would be appealing to them? What would entice them to want to work with her after hearing her speak?

I’m not actually going to tell you exactly what she did in the end (because it was pretty awesome and some of you know her and I want to protect what’s become a signature move for her) but let’s just say that the evening of her presentation she texted me, high as a kite, and so so happy that she did it “her way” and so thrilled with the results and so “over the moon” that every one of the people in that room responded positively to it – some of them seasoned speakers themselves – and each of them even more committed to work with her because she had the “you know whats” to do something different. Something unexpected. Something brilliant. All because we knew what the obstacle would be, and how to turn it into an opportunity.

Sometimes the obstacles/opportunities in our path are known to us, but we don’t know the scope of their impact or the potential that they can provide for us. In this case, I am going to use myself as an example. I knew, and always have known, that I hate dealing with the details of my business. It is not my nature to keep track of people’s addresses (even though I want to know it when it comes time to send a card) or even to remember WHEN to send that card! The minutiae of the day-to-day running of my business frustrates me and makes me tired and cranky.

This is something that I was fully aware of (and a good reason as to why I’ve always had an assistant!)

What I did not realize until my own Obs/Ops session was that this was actually impeding me from reaching my next income goal.Not because I needed to delegate more (I already delegate most of this) but simply because even in talking about it with my assistant who would then actually do the tasks left me feeling withered up like a raisin. It sucks me dry. And as a result, I am not in my Best Space, my expansive, big vision space, which is the state I need to be in to accomplish my goals.

Enter the opportunity: it became clear that what I need to do is to simply bring awareness to this feeling, to own and acknowledge it, to say, “These details are sucking me dry.” And then, in that acknowledgment, the feeling will actually pass more quickly so that I can shift back into my Best Space of expansiveness and get on with achieving what I desire.

And here I thought I just needed to figure out a way to use the CRM better.


That is going just fine.

What needs to shift is me. And I had no idea.

Opportunities can be like that, too…hidden, almost tucked away like a treasure of sorts. Like the time a client of mine went on holiday to Hawaii and sat on the airplane next to her most ideal customer ever. Typically my client straps on her headphones and faces forward the entire flight, minding her own business and hanging out in her own little world. But before this trip, we were taking time to look at upcoming opportunities and, you guessed it, we were able to see that there was going to be an incredible opportunity that would present itself on this flight.

So this time she knew to stay open to receiving this opportunity.We knew ahead that it was going to be someone sitting in close proximity to her so she simply talked to her neighbours on the flight and lo’ and behold, the woman sitting right beside her was not only an ideal future customer herself, but was connected to a massive network of women all within a 50 mile radius from my client’s business who were also ideal customers!

It really doesn’t get any cooler than that.

As people who take ownership of our lives (and most business owners I know are those types of people), I think it behooves us to take ownership of our obstacles in every moment that we can. Knowing what they are, acknowledging them, leaning into them and flipping them into opportunities is what makes our path to success all the more swift, all the more efficient, and all the more magical.


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Rebecca Liston helps her clients predict, pivot, and compete in an increasingly complex global marketplace. Her clients quickly uncover the root of their challenges and know the actions to take to overcome them. A six-time nominee for the RBC Canadian Woman Entrepreneur Award, Rebecca combines business strategy with intuition, giving her clients the edge on forward-thinking, elegant answers to their most complicated problems. Her clients are entrepreneurs with CEO-mindsets and executives with entrepreneurial instincts. She is based in London, Ontario. What if you could get the answer to your biggest business challenge, in one sitting? Visit to find out more.