“No pressure, no diamonds.”
About an hour after I read that Thomas Carlyle quote in this blog post last week, I almost threw up. That’s because a campaign that my team and I were launching this week hit a big, unexpected roadblock. And it seemed unfixable to everyone involved – including me.
In situations like this, it’s easy to focus your energy on things like venting, wishing the problem wasn’t happening or pointing toward the person who dropped the ball that led to the problem. It’s a human reaction. For some reason, though, that Carlyle quote came to mind a couple minutes after the “bomb” dropped, probably because it was still fresh in my mind. I’m really glad it did. It made me focus my energy on a singular, positive thing – doing any and everything within my power and the power of those around me to attempt to move the roadblock.
The next 24 hours were some of the most mentally and emotionally intense hours of my professional career to date. They ended with us somehow unbelievably overcoming major odds to solve the problem. I don’t mean we came up with a less desirable alternative. We solved the problem. We hustled, scrambled and scrutinized every inch of every possible way to reclaim the day. And I can’t tell you how many times I repeated “No pressure, no diamonds” to myself during the course of it all.
The next day, I created a little sign for my office. Now, when I look up from my laptop, I see Carlyle’s words looking back at me.
It’s easy to keep moving forward when things are going smoothly. It’s facing off against incredible challenges that show you what you’re really made of, though.
What helps you stay focused on overcoming tough odds when they come your way?
*Image by Steve Jurvetson.