When Obstacles Arise…

John Alexander Ball
6 min readJul 4, 2022

It doesn’t matter how meticulous you are at planning, sometimes things go awry. I used to just give up when things got too challenging but now…

There are 2 versions of my newsletter this week and whichever one gets published will depend on how things turned out, but only up to Friday morning. In one version I was successful and in the other, I was not. Schrodinger’s newsletter. Which quantum potential state will collapse into reality?

Allow me to explain… Several months ago, one of my business mentors, Chris Ducker, decided to hold a 1-day live event near Cambridge, UK. I decided I was going and bought an early bird ticket. I booked my flights, my hotels and trains to and from Stansted. If you’re in the UK, you already know where this is heading.

Since booking the event a train strike was announced for June 21, 24 and 25. Sometimes strikes get averted but this one is going ahead, so no trains are running from Stansted on the day of the event.

In addition to this flights have been getting cancelled left, right and centre because of staff shortages but as yet, my flight to the UK seems to be going ahead.

Then Ryanair cabin crew announced a strike starting the very day I am due to fly back, so I have no idea if I will be able to return, even if I do make it there! (Find out how it turned out at the end of the newsletter).

Regardless of the chaos, there was still the decision to be made, do I try and get there hell or high waters or admit defeat?

I decided that whilst cancelling would be the easy option, I haven’t been to an in-person event for anything since before covid and I would really like to. I want to meet Chris and his family in person, and I want to meet other personal brand entrepreneurs like myself who are also planning to be there come what may, one of whom is travelling having torn his Achilles tendon. That’s determination!

My husband thinks I’m crazy and so do my parents but unless I am prevented from going, I will be there. This will be my first time back in the UK since before covid. Determination has set in, although if my flight does end up being cancelled, I’ll be a bit stuck. Some extra unplanned nights I can probably deal with and that’s the kind of thing travel insurance is for, right? I’m grateful that I already have multiple offers of places to stay if I end up stuck in the UK.

What do you think? Am I mad for even trying? Am I showing steely determination or dumb stubbornness? For myself, I made the decision some time back that I am a whatever it takes kind of person, although I stop short of swimming over to England or trying to invent Star Trek-like teleportation before Wednesday.

Neither of these possible end results will make me a success or a failure but they will determine whether my outcome is achieved or not. I won’t take it personally. Stuff happens. Stuff always happens but how do you deal with it when challenges arise? Do you take it as a sign that the universe is against you? Do you give up because you think it should be easier? Do you panic about possible failure?

I recently re-read The 4 Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz. If you’ve never read it, these are 4 life principles that I think will make anyone’s life better when learned and applied. Despite the spiritual stuff in the book (hello, atheist), there’s a lot of good stuff and I love the principles. One of them is to not take anything personally. When stuff doesn’t go our way we tend to take it personally. Unfortunately, that is a victim mentality of the world happening to you and it’s the mindset I used to have and still have to work hard to beat.

What if the podcast you badly want to go on turns you down? What if your own podcast isn’t growing or is actually losing listeners? What if your sponsor pulls out? What if that person who promised you an introduction or recommendation doesn’t follow through? What if you get offered an amazing opportunity by someone well known and then they change their mind and ghost you? All of these things have happened to me. What would you do?

The harder approach to take is believing there is opportunity contained in our challenges. My many years in personal development have centred on learning every day to take responsibility for myself and my emotional state. When I make plans and they don’t go my way, I adapt. Sometimes I feel a bit sorry for myself for a little while but then I snap myself out of it, I adapt, I get on with it and find a way to make whatever happened the best thing that could have happened. This is who I choose to show up as now.

Despite the disruption making my trip significantly more expensive, I have put contingencies in place and am excited to go to this event and also to set foot on British soil for the first time in several years. I don’t miss that much about living in the UK but it’s still my country and I love visiting.

It’s now Friday the 24th of June. So… did I make it to the event? Will I get back home today?

Next week I may be talking about things from that event or maybe things about my new job. Yes, I have a new job and no it does not mean the end of this newsletter. I’m going to be working with someone who has built a lot of influence in the world of podcasting in a relatively short time and I could not be more excited. It has been my goal to work full-time in podcasting and now that is happening. I’ll share more details along the way.

I recently got to discuss influence and persuasion in the public sector (US government) and in the private tech sector with Paul Ruppert who has had an amazing work history that makes him an incredibly interesting person to talk to. One of the things he was very keen to share was about the differences in communicating between those sectors and lessons he has learned including why he will never return to politics. I hope you will enjoy it.

I still have a number of episodes recorded for Speaking Influence that will not make it to publication before we relaunch the show as Podfluence in July. I have decided that I will make them bonus shows to get myself up to date with recordings and to make the transition as clean as possible. Do keep an eye out for the episode I recorded about nootropics, something I am fascinated by and every entrepreneur will want to pay some attention to. Frankly, improving your focus, mental clarity and energy levels with natural supplements is something I have been doing for years anyway.

In addition to re-reading the 4 Agreements recently, I was sent an advance copy of my friend Simon Lancaster’s new book Connect and we held a live launch event on June 9th which you will be able to listen to next month if you missed it live. The book is terrific and gives you all the tools you need to be able to inspire, influence and energise anyone, anywhere, anytime.

To help you energise, and because Kate Bush has been having a much-deserved resurgence thanks to Stranger Things on Netflix, I’m sharing one of my favourite Kate Bush songs from my childhood, which I still love. The video is a wonderful reminder of how incredibly talented Kate Bush is. Feel free to sing along, dance along, hell, you can even dress up if you like and enjoy the genius that is Kate Bush.

Most personal brand business owners have three main problems when it comes to scaling their business income: poor lead flow, awkwardness around sales and low delivery confidence. Podcasting, either as a guest or host (or both) can solve all of these problems to get you a hot lead flow, effortless conversions and big delivery confidence. If you’d like to know more about how, book a FREE 15-minute, no-obligation strategy session with Johnny https://bit.ly/38y4Pxl



John Alexander Ball

Host of the Podfluence podcast. Professional speaker & ethical influence coach. The James Corden of podcasting, a chubby British guy who thinks he’s funny.