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Up Against A Wall To Move Forward?
Here Are Five Ways To Break Through

By Dave Courvoisier
Voice Actor & TV News Anchor

You're there - standing right in front of it, and it appears immovable. There's no way around it and no way over it. 

Chances are, you have created the wall yourself, so it's insidiously well-designed to foil any attempts to find a weakness. You know yourself too well.
  • It's the agent (or agents) who won't return a call. 
  • It's the e-learning project director you can never seem to get a hold of.
  • It's the nagging crackle in your audio chain that intermittently screws up your recording.
  • It's the newsletter that won't get written.
  • It's the cold call you just can't make.
  • It's the demo that never sounds right.
  • It's the branding slogan you can't nail down - and on and on and on. 

"The Wall" takes one of two or three forms: 

1) A mental roadblock you've nurtured into a full-fledged fortress. 
2) A procrastination that seems larger than life after weeks ‘n’ weeks. 
3) A circumstance that befuddles you or is beyond your skill set. 

Tell me if I've forgotten something. Either way, the result is the same: arrested development, zero progress, stagnant growth. 


It's time to punt. Everything you've tried - or haven't tried - isn't working. Be honest enough with yourself to admit it and take action (finally) to break the logjam. 

Here are five suggested formulas to conquering your "wall." 

1.  Talk to a friend or even better, a mentor - or two.

Talking through the issue helps. The conversation opens up ideas, offers encouragement, and gets the juices flowing. It could be that your friend or mentor has been there, and has a possible solution, or knows someone who does. 

You'd be surprised - if nothing else - how talking about it takes the power out of the quandary.

2.  Break it down to smaller steps.

Try for a couple of smaller "wins" first, then build on them. 

Make your list of the most elementary incremental advances, then revel in crossing each one off with a big thick felt-tip marker. 

3. Turn the issue upside down or work backwards

Imagine what you're doing or able to do once your roadblock is gone. See all the potentials and developments that come from it. 

Or imagine the very last step you would take before climbing the wall, then imagine the step before that and so forth, until you arrive at the place where you are today. Now, do you see the way? 

4. Go out and play

See a hilarious movie. Take an old friend out and crack open some old stories. Read a short book. Break the cycle. 

Hit the period on your keyboard. Strike out in a new direction entirely for a day. Take a drive. 

Divert your thoughts from the issue for an hour, a day, a week - refuse to think about it.  Then come back around and try again. 

5. Service. Nothing breaks your pity-pot more than doing something for someone else. 

No other action resets your gauges better than offering a humble, free, pro-bono service to somebody, anybody who can use a hand or a boost. 

When you take your mind off your own troubles and focus on helping someone else, it's cathartic. 


Honorable mention: Walls are bridges

As trite as it sounds, conquering the wall puts another feather in your cap, adds another tool to your toolkit, and makes you a stronger person. 

When you "cross over" that wall, it becomes the path to a new you - a better you for having seen it through. Bravo! 


A couple of caveats: There may not be an answer. It may have nothing to do with you and what you did or didn't do. 

Sometimes you have to realize you've been banging your head against the wall for too long, and then you have to accept that your own stubbornness, not the wall, is getting in the way of your progress.  

The wall can be there to tell you you've reached a limit, and realizing your limits is not a bad thing. It's like pulling your head out of the sand. 

What have I missed? What’s worked for you? Got a quick anecdote you can share?


Dave Courvoisier ("pronounced just like the fine cognac, only no relation") is an Emmy Award-winning broadcaster, writer, producer, voice actor, and the main weeknight news anchor on KLAS-TV, Channel 8, the Las Vegas CBS affiliate. He's become the voice over industry's social media tech guru, and writes Voice Acting in Vegas, a daily blog of adventures and observations in a style that's true to his friendly Midwestern farm roots.

TV bio: KLAS-TV bio link

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Comments (4)
6/6/2012 at 8:45 AM
Reading this has been very helpful. I've had "my excuses" for my stagnation. Dave has motivated me and I'm back on track! It's clear why he's so successful.
Thanks Dave! :)
Jane Ingalls
5/21/2012 at 12:40 PM
Hi Dave-can't talk now, I have to go out and play! Thanks for reminding me to step back in order to step out again.
Ken Budka
5/21/2012 at 10:01 AM
Thanks Dave - great article as always.

At the end of every year over the holidays, I spend some time reviewing and establishing goals for the next year, what I would like to accomplish and more importantly, why. As the year progresses and roadblocks come up, distractions and sidetracks occur, it's always helpful to review those goals and get back on track with why I'm doing what I'm doing (or attempting to do what I'm doing). This has always been a good tool and a lifeboat in times of turbulent water. Gotta have 'em written down though so you can review them regularly, especially when the we run into the next wall. Reviewing your goals at the beginning of every week is great practice to stay energized and focused.

And if you're goals don't get you fired-up, then maybe it's time for some new goals that do.

MIke Harrison
5/20/2012 at 9:47 PM
Great words of wisdom that some of us need to hear more than once. We do tend to get stuck in repeated rituals. It's terrific when someone like Dave tells us what we need to hear.

Thanks, Dave!
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