I once had a job once working for tech support for a software company. This software needed lots of support, which the company charged for. My job was to collect credit card info from people needing tech support, then pass them along to the tech support person that would help them.
What they really wanted me to do was to sell plans that allowed people to call in for a certain number of times. All new hires were hired on probation, meaning they could let you go during the probation period. I was told my job security depended on selling a lot of these tech support plans.
So I sold like a fiend. I sold a lot of plans and felt like I was super cool.
On my first review, the boss said I was doing ok, but if I wanted to keep my job, I would have to do better.
I became indignant because I don’t like being under pressure. I felt I was doing great and they didn’t appreciate all the money I was making for them. I decided that if I was going to leave the company, it was going to be on my terms, not on theirs.
Even though being under pressure to perform made me grouchy, I sold even more. I made a bunch of money and when the next review came, they hired me on permanently.
“Wow” I said, “I was afraid I was going to lose my job.”
The boss (who I thought was kind of a doofus) said “I knew you were a keeper when we brought you on.”
“Why didn’t you tell me that at my first review?” I asked.
“Well,” he said, “You seem like the kind of guy who is motivated by being under pressure, and I knew I could get more out of you.” Turns out he wasn’t such a doofus after all.
Why Be Under Pressure?
“The only reason gasoline is useful is because of the controlled pressure it exerts within an engine. Likewise the value of water is when it is steam and under pressure in a steam engine. Even electricity is useless unless there is pressure measured in volts. One could come up with numerous examples but the point is that focused pressure is required for successful work… the right kind of pressure at the right time and place and the job gets done.”
They train Army pilots by strapping them into a simulator that resembles the cockpit of an airplane.They are strapped in like they would be in a crash. They have to find their breathing device (a small bottle of air) clear the mouthpiece, breath normally, figure which way is out, release their seat belts, move to and open the door or window, and exit. Talk about being under pressure. Panic and you’re dead.
Don’t be afraid to put yourself under pressure. That is the value of deadlines, target dates and benchmarks. Get comfortable with being under pressure. Apply it at the right time in the right way.
Rock is transformed into diamonds under extreme heat and pressure. Trees grow strongest under pressure of weather and wind. The sharpest blade is crafted under pressure of hammer and fire.
How mentally tough can you become under pressure? You probably don’t know. The question is, are you willing to find out?