When Roadblocks Turn Into Opportunities  

The other day, I woke up at 3 A.M. to take my husband to the airport. About halfway through our journey onto the tollway, we saw a slight slowdown in traffic because of a work truck with flashing lights, which caused us to slow down for just a couple of minutes. There’s a moment, and I ask myself, “What’s happening?”, “What’s going on?” I say to myself, “We shouldn’t be slowing down because we are on a toll road.” 

After I dropped my husband off at the airport, I got a little sense of excitement, thinking to myself, “I can get home in 15 minutes and go back to bed! Yes!” So, I was whizzing on the tollway to solidify my plans when I saw that darned work truck again with flashing lights accompanied by a state trooper who also had the same flashing lights. They were both driving a whopping 2 miles per hour with a sign that followed them that said, “30-minute delays.” 

All I could think of was my amazing bed and pillow. They called me. Then, I said out loud in my car, “Can you go any faster?!” There was one other vehicle creeping along next to me following the trooper. I wondered what they were saying in their car. I almost wanted to reach out to them in solidarity, but I decided against that. 

After about 10 minutes of creeping along, I turned on the radio and heard an “oldie-but-goodie” song playing. It was the artist known as Sir Mix-a-Lot wrapping the beloved song, “Baby Got Back.”

Ok, now this creeping thing got real, and the music also made me bop around in the seat. Suddenly, the slow car ride turned into an opportunity to take in the slowness of the moment and the exhilaration of dancing and singing along to this song and others. 

Once I stopped questioning the present event, or even worrying about it, my anxiety and frustration subsided. I simply enjoyed the moment. 

You know why? I couldn’t do anything about it. I lacked the ability to control or even influence the traffic pattern. I decided to lean into the moment.  

This got me thinking about how this instance happens all the time to every one of us. We wave our arms, get frustrated, and often either give up or stay mad at a situation.  

What is Your Sir Mix-a-lot Moment? 

You probably have a project that you have been working on at work and you may feel like you are constantly rushing around everywhere to hit every deadline. Thoughts may be racing through your head to make sure you do not forget to get in contact with this client or that person from a company you are trying to close. 

Sometimes there are life events that can get in the way of that, plans change, or you get a way different response from a client than you were anticipating. These instances may stop you in your tracks to allow you to take the time to slow down and reflect. The ability to take a breather from all the running around. The opportunity to lean into the slowness, into the unpredictability of the moment. 

 What are the triggers in your environment that can snap you out of frustration, anger, and doubt like the “Baby Got Back” song did for me? 

Here are a few ideas that might help you find these moments for yourself: 

Taking time to disconnect 

As I inched closer and closer to my exit off the tollway, I didn’t once look at my social media. No one else was with me in the car. I did manage to take this picture of the work vehicle and trooper in front of me, but that was it. I can think of the times when I feel the most free and the most in control of how I feel and the environment; it is when I commit to being fully present.  

Let’s commit to disconnecting from the outside world to be present for those moments that are supposed to speak to us and call us to something more. 

Sync with yourself 

Another thing we need to do is make sure that we have time to reflect on ourselves and to have time to ourselves so that we are aware of what is going on in our minds, hearts, and souls. In order for us to be more present and more successful in our work, we need to be able to balance our emotions and state of mind so that we can be there for ourselves.  Sync up with yourself. This will allow you to truly be in the moments that call you most. 

Sure, I was frustrated and impatient on that tollway, but that event created a window into how I was feeling. It made me realize that I shouldn’t spend one more minute being mad at the situation. I paused to take it all in. 

Release the Need to Control 

I know it’s hard, but we need to learn to release the need to control everything, or at least the need to worry about the things we cannot control. I spent 10 of the 20 minutes of that tollway delay frustrated and wishing I could just move those vehicles. I couldn’t. And it turns out that was just fine. How would I have heard that fun song or boogied the remaining 10 minutes away much faster? 

It was the thing that I couldn’t control that allowed me to release the need to do something to remove the barrier. The barrier was just how I saw my experience. When I released that need, I received a small gift in return. Go watch my TEDx talk on Transforming Adversity into an Opportunity for more information on how to overcome obstacles and other barriers that might be in your way.  


I’ve got to say that that experience on that tollway at 3:30 AM taught me a lot about myself. I learned the importance of taking time to disconnect, syncing up with who I am and how I feel, and releasing the need to control every moment. 

I hope you can learn from my “Sir Mix-a-Lot" moment and go out and lean into your own. 

Leave a Comment


Leadership With Heart With Heather R Younger

“Heather’s courage and vulnerability to share her authentic self are truly inspiring. She shares the most cutting-edge leadership strategies on topics like emotional intelligence and employee experience. If you’re looking to sharpen your leadership skills, this podcast is for you.”

Heather is a Workplace Culture Expert


CEO of Employee Fanatix

A leading workplace culture and employee engagement consulting & training firm.

A highly sought-after keynote speaker

Bringing the best insights from over 25,000 employee stories to the stage.

A top company culture strategist

An expert in creating spaces for these vital conversations.

A contributor to leading news outlets

A trusted expert for stories on workplace culture, customer and employee engagement, and employee retention.


The Cycle of Active Listening

Create a listening culture that elevates the workplace experience for everyone.

Through this guide, uncover how to ensure those in your care at work feel heard and valued, resulting in increased loyalty and satisfaction.

  • Understand why listening is the key to improved engagement
  • Learn how the Cycle of Active Listening contributes to strong workplace relationships
  • Get a practical framework for creating a listening culture that is bidirectional, responsive, and supportive

Contact Heather Today!


I'm really interested in...

(select all that apply)*

I can be reached at...

Additional Comments