Hello SOTGC Community,
The title of this post actually comes from a stream of Facebook comments based on a “status update” I once did. Anyone who has a fast paced career encounters various forms of stress and varying degrees of pressure. Whether this is internal pressure that we put on ourselves to be the best that we can, or external pressure from our peers, bosses, and the public, we feel it on a daily basis.
However, every level up that you go, whether it’s via the corporate ladder, starting your own business and hiring your first employee, to selling your company to an industry giant and hoping your people are taken care of even as the dust settles, the pressure goes up exponentially. I believe I posted a status update talking about how I needed to remind myself that every level up the pressure gets higher, and to not freak out on the people exerting pressure on me. One of my friends wrote “pressure makes diamonds” to remind me that without these challenges that we take on and overcome, we would still just be a big lump of coal.
Currently my colleagues and I are facing the close of our first fiscal quarter under the new company and there is an extreme amount of pressure on all of the regional business directors for numbers. Two weeks ago I got a call that had my blood boiling, but turned into a great learning opportunity for both myself as well as my new boss . The call came in mid morning, nine selling days before the close of the first quarter. Our region had gone from being last in the nation at the close of the “stub period” (the time between the close of our previous company’s fiscal year and the start of our new company’s fiscal year) to being the number one region under our new boss’ direction at the close of the second month going into the first quarter. Mid way into the third month we had dropped to number three and this was not sitting well with him.
I had come across the “quota finish line” for the quarter at the end of last month so was busy setting up and opening trials at new accounts with my new product, and not pushing at all for revenue. The conversation that took place between myself and new boss left me in a white hot rage that took me awhile to calm down from. I couldn’t believe I was being called to the carpet on my numbers when I already did my job and was still pulling in steady (albeit slow) revenue each week. Hadn’t we spoken when he first came on as my boss as to what he expected from me and what I needed from him?
After I calmed down enough to have a productive exchange about how that conversation made me feel, new boss and I were able to have a very positive, very good dialogue, and learned more about where the other is coming from. What I had failed to do, in my own selfish view of the conversation, was to remember:
A. He is THE only remaining manager left from the other company that was acquired.
B. Every other business director in our division has worked with each other for years and knows each others’ strengths and he is still proving his worth to the UBER Alpha Male club.
C. The West has always been near the bottom of the rankings and one of the things Jeremy (mentor) was touted for was taking our region to the top and keeping it there under his directive, and the same is being expected of new boss.
D. Since I am his top rep right now, he expects more out of me, and he was pushing me to continue to work hard through the end and not rest on my laurels even though I had come through the finish line already.
I also failed to remember that Jeremy always pushed me for new achievements, new progress, and new goals and I never once lit into him.
Our conversation the day after this call reminded me that people who care about your progress and want you to be successful will ALWAYS push you out of your comfort zone. Their job (if they are good at it) is to see where your strengths are, and to encourage you to grow, improve, and to never rest, to never feel that you are at “adequate” and therefore can relax. If they didn’t want your success, probably even more than you do, they would let you do the bare minimum and take the glory for your hard work. Instead, your most invaluable teachers and bosses will congratulate you on your success, question where you can be improving, and kick you out of “comfort land” and into “growth mode” whether you want it or not.
I logged onto the Washington Post and found Dr. Stephen Covey’s “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” to finish this post with. They are as follows:
– Be proactive
– Begin with the end in mind
– Put first things first
– Think win-win
– Seek first to understand, then to be understood
– Sharpen the saw
Each one of these can be incorporated into every day life, whether it’s business or for personal growth, as well as be used for the “big picture” goal. They will also take you out of your comfort zone and into a place where you’ll make mistakes, be overwhelmed, face your biggest fears and failures, and can (if properly learned from) apply enough pressure to make you into the diamond that each of us has the ability to become.