Full disclosure, pressure doesn’t turn coal into diamonds. At least not nice ones, according to the internet. Since everything on the internet is true, don’t @ me science
nerds enthusiasts. Apparently Henry Kissinger didn’t consult Google before he made his famous quote “A diamond is a chunk of coal that did well under pressure.” It makes for a nice title though.
Well enough about that. If we keep talking diamonds, Mrs. DS might make me go to the jewelry store. (Or she’ll go herself <– Mrs. DS early morning edit).
I have a question for you. How well do you handle pressure?
I Enjoy Pressure
Turning back the clock, I’ve always enjoyed pressure situations. When I played sports as a kid, I wanted the ball in my hand or the chance to make the big play to win the game. I couldn’t stand watching helplessly as somebody else would attempt to do it. For better or worse, I wanted to have the opportunity.
I didn’t always succeed. But sometimes I did.
Michael Jordan was the king of coming through under pressure. When he would take the last second shot to win the game, you just knew he would make the shot. Everyone knew it. Including him.
Back to the school days, I remember delaying long English papers until the night before they were due. I guess you could call it procrastination. But when it gets down to crunch time, I can focus in and do what needs to be done. Nothing else on my mind except the mission at hand. I don’t know, is this a form of ADD?
Even Mrs. DS has to crack the whip on me
occasionally often to enforce our self imposed writing (blog) deadline. My assignment is due (to be posted) Friday morning. That means, yup you got it, I’m hustling on Thursday night! It’s when I have complete focus and clarity, right at the wire.
I Don’t Like Financial Pressure
As much as I enjoy operating under the gun in other facets of life, finances are a totally different animal. I want no part of financial stress. That shit causes marriage problems, friends and family drama, and even suicides. No thanks.
Mrs. DS and I have constructed our finances to avoid living paycheck to paycheck at all costs. In fact, we have one heck of an emergency fund built up should anything bad happen. You can call me paranoid, but I like to be prepared.
I’ll take a first world problem like deciding between index funds or individual stocks for our next brokerage account addition instead. We don’t need extra the extra excitement of money drama.
Tips To Help You Handle The Pressure At Work
Since I’ve ventured out into the corporate IT world, I’ve been routinely assigned some high pressure gigs. I’ve worked with CEO’s, company presidents, board members, and legislators. Some of which are not the most patient people in the world. To me, it is oddly thrilling to be put in a situation in front of someone that can end your job in a snap of a finger. It does help to be financially stable of course.
So if you are like me and Steven Tyler, living on the edge, I have some tips for you on how to handle the heat and meet your deadlines.
1. Shut off all of the noise and focus- I’m talking about TV, cell phone, social media, chatty coworkers, all of it. Isolate yourself and get your mind focused in like a laser on what needs to be accomplished.
2. Make a checklist- I find it helpful, especially in work scenarios, to have a detailed checklist so nothing is overlooked when I have a stressful deadline. It’s too easy to skip over things when you are in a rush.
3. Define your timeline- How big of a hole did you dig yourself? Are we talking about an all-nighter here or just a couple hour project? Get that squared away so you know how much time to allocate.
4. If you get stuck, take a break- Sometimes it helps to get up and walk around to clear your head for a few minutes. Find a flight of stairs and get the ticker moving. You will feel refreshed when you sit back down and go to work.
5. Don’t be afraid to ask for a helping hand- I get it, I’m a dude. I don’t like asking for directions or help either. But if it is something that is mission critical and you are drowning, look for a lifeline. If you work on a team, odds are you have probably helped somebody out before. At least I hope you have. With any luck, you will have somebody that will return the favor.
Tense Moments Build Character
Every pressure situation has thickened my skin through the years. Even when something happens to get my boss gets rattled, I give him a “don’t worry dude, we got this” and proceed to put the fire out. And it seems as time goes by, things that were serious before, aren’t as serious any longer. Don’t buckle to the pressure. Revel in it.
As long as you don’t die of a heart attack first.