[00:00:33] Welcome to the podcast. My name is Blaine Rada with Arch MI. I appreciate you taking time to invest in yourself and I promise not to waste your time. My intent is to help you separate and differentiate yourself from the competition. And I do this by sharing my perspective and experiences from doing this work for over 30 years. Like the previous two seasons of this podcast, I plan to be unscripted and conversational, which means I’m never quite sure what I’m going to say or how long it will take me to say it. However, I’d like season three to be a little different with shorter episodes and even easier to implement ideas. So let’s get to today’s episode.
This is probably going to be the most unique episode I have recorded yet. And perhaps the shortest. I talk a lot about less is more, I need to sometimes practice that more myself. But I’d like to start with this idea that we frequently have obstacles in our lives and in our work, right. Personally and professionally, we have obstacles that you have to either overcome or perhaps ignore or find a way to get around. And sometimes these obstacles can really feel like a roadblock. Like they’re in our way, right? These obstacles are in our way. And I just like you to consider for a moment that maybe obstacles are actually simply on your way— that obstacles are actually just a natural part of life. And rather than thinking about them as something that’s in our way, it might be more helpful to think of them as just part of what’s on the road. Obstacles are going to be on the road. Now I kind of came to this realization myself by having a fairly unique experience that I’d like to share with you. I don’t know what part of the country you live in, and I don’t know if you’re familiar with trains. But in the Chicago area where I live, coming across trains is a frequent event. Being kind of centrally located in the United States, Chicago is probably a major transportation hub. And so there’s not only Amtrak type trains that are transporting people to and from that come through Chicago, but there are freight trains, many, many freight trains that come through the Chicago area, as well as commuter or passenger trains that take people from the suburbs to the city itself. And you know, back out to the suburbs. A lot of people who work downtown, but live in the suburbs take commuter trains. And even downtown, there are what we call the L or the elevated trains that run through the downtown area up on these tracks well above ground. So lots of trains in the Chicago area. And so what comes with that is frequently having trains as an obstacle. Frequently, you’re trying to get somewhere you’re driving, and you come to a set of railroad tracks, and the gates are down, and the bells are ringing and the lights are flashing, and there’s a train. And sometimes there’s more than one. And sometimes they literally stop right there, you know, you’re trying to cross the tracks, the train literally comes to a stop, you have no idea when it’s going to move. And so you have to decide, do I sit here? Do I try to pull out of this line of traffic and find another crossing? Do I take another way? In other words, it can really be kind of frustrating. So I’m just trying to paint that picture for you in case you don’t live in an area where you have to deal with trains. So I want to share with you about this time when I was standing, not driving, but standing at a railroad crossing. The gates were down, the lights were flashing and the bells were sounding, but there was no train. Now I’d been running; I was out on a morning run on this cold winter morning. I’d been running for a few miles. And while I was a little bit out of breath, my eyes were working just fine. I could literally see down this train track in either direction four miles there was no train. Four miles. What I did see was a sign right at the railroad crossing that read $500 fine for crossing the tracks when the gates are down. So I looked around, didn’t see anybody. Saw the sign, didn’t see a train. But what would you do? Would you stay where it’s safe and wait for these broken gates to lift? Or would you cross the tracks? Now as a metaphor, I just want you to think about this train or lack of a train. And these railroad tracks with the gates down and the lights flashing and the bells sounding. I’d like you to think of that as a metaphor for obstacles, right? What tracks or obstacles have come into your life where you were afraid to take action. Only to realize later on, you had nothing to worry about. These tracks were an obstacle to my forward progress. Now, again, this is a cold winter morning. I’ve now been standing there for several minutes. Not only do I want to keep moving, but I’m getting cold. I need to keep moving. The gates were obviously broken. No one would know.
[00:06:25] So, I crossed the tracks and continued jogging. When I got a couple more blocks down the road, a squad car pulls up beside me. To this day, I’m the only person I know of who has been pulled over while jogging. I thought, am I running too fast? Certainly not. I’m not speeding. It can’t be the reason why I’m being pulled over. I mean, obviously, I knew I was being pulled over. The police officer, let’s call him officer kidding, as in, are you kidding me? He approached me and said, you can’t cross a railroad crossing when the gates are down. I said, but officer, the gates are broken. There is no train. As he started to write a ticket, I said, “seriously!” He said, look, if it was up to me, I’d let you go. But my commanding officer is the one that saw you cross the tracks. And they radioed to me to write you a ticket. So I said, I’d like to speak to your commanding officer. So, I got a free ride in the back of a police car, which, hey, everybody should experience that at least once in their life. I mean, get arrested for something. I’m kidding about that last part. No one at Arch is encouraging you to get arrested for anything or for that matter for crossing railroad tracks. This is one of those, you know, don’t do what I did kind of stories. So I ultimately had to appear in court because the commanding officer at the station would not see me. You know, I got this free ride in the police car to the police station. The commanding officer refused to talk to me. So I had this ticket, and I had to appear in court. And I was actually looking forward to my day in court because I wanted to make the case that the gates were broken. There was no train literally for miles. I could see in either direction, there was no train coming.
[00:08:22] The judge was not interested in my explanation. He simply asked, “did you cross the railroad crossing when the gates were down?” And all he was looking for was a yes or no response. So I pleaded guilty. The judge glanced over to where the police officers sat, looking for officer kidding. And he hadn’t come to court that day. Maybe he was out pulling over other joggers, I don’t know. But because he hadn’t come to court, apparently as the judge told me, case dismissed, you’re free to go. Wow! Well, that was a close call. I mean, I almost became $500 poorer that day. But again, I learned this lesson that we think obstacles are in our way, when they’re often really just on our way. You know, many of the gates and the lights and the bells that we face are only manufactured in our minds. And like leg irons they keep us from moving forward, keeping us afraid. You may have been scared of the dark as a child. You were certain there was a monster in your closet or under your bed. But eventually you learned there was nothing to be afraid of. There was no train. Again using the train metaphor. When you were nervous about your first day of school, no train. Your first date, no train. Your first marriage, okay, sometimes there is a train coming down that one. But in all seriousness, sometimes we face a challenge that seems too overwhelming to overcome. It’s as if the freight train has come to a complete stop right in front of you. Well, even if that has happened, one of two things will happen. The train will eventually pass and you can get on with your life, or you’ll find a way to get around it. One way or another, you will cross the tracks. Making forward progress is wired into our DNA. Pushing past fear, however, has to be practiced. So, the next time you face tracks in your life, when the gates are down, and the lights are flashing, and the bells are sounding, remember, we think obstacles are in our way, but they’re really just on our way. There is no train. That’s it for this episode, I’d ask you to consider what ideas you thought about as I was sharing that story with you and put those ideas into action. We really never know what an idea means until we start using it. I encourage you to do that in order to get the maximum investment from the time that you’ve invested with me today. I kept this really short and sweet, but I hope you found it valuable. This is Blaine Rader with Arch MI, thank you for listening.