Connie Portis Tells Us How to Turn Obstacles into Opportunities


connieWhen I was a child, my mother had to walk while holding on to my arm. She had Syringomeyelia, a rare crippling disease. Even so, it wasn’t until I was an adult that I realized that others thought of her in a way I never did: as crippled.

So many business owners find fear and frustrations as obstacles. Unlike my mother, who found challenges and opportunities in her effort to be independent, early in business many entrepreneurs learn to play the blame game for failures.

Take this pledge. “In every obstacle, I will find an opportunity and embrace changing courses when barriers crop up.”

My mother discovered she could do it alone if she had a walker. On more than one occasion, she challenged public transportation drivers who told her she could not get on the bus. Determined, she would get on and reach her destination with a sense of pride, independence, and accomplishment.

Business is a complex undertaking with crooked paths along the way. Forcing your plans to fit in a marketplace that isn’t receptive takes creative thinking. It requires keen perception, and an understanding of your target audience and what you want them to experience. It is never a straight path or even the one you first started.

Entrepreneurs have to be resourceful and imaginative. Weighing options and facing fears is necessary to be successful in business. You may have to change your level of comfort and step into arenas that are unfamiliar to you to be able to learn to make them work for your business.

If you find that there are no roads that lead to where you want to go, change course or blaze a trail. It is invigorating to review where you are and make what seems impossible happen. Reading business sites and personal testimonies of those who have met challenges head on should be a daily ritual. You will gain fresh insight into the obstacles you face.


Often, letting go of long- held ideas and concepts of how to achieve your goal is the biggest barrier to moving forward.

Paradigms must be penetrated and changed to open your mind to new ways of reaching your goal. I learned from my mother that being “crippled” is more of a state of mind than a state of physical ability.

Take every step in business as a learning experience, whether you forge ahead or change your mind completely. Let no course of action be a mistake. Absorb what you’ve been through with heightened awareness and use it to approach what’s ahead. Business owners take risks to find their path to success. Successful ones turn their risks and obstacles into opportunities


For 30 years, Connie Portis launched and operated a successful publishing business. She is host of Sisters and Friends Getaway to Martha’s Vineyard.


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