Some of the things that we have the best memories of were extremely challenging at the time.
My husband and I hiked from the north rim of the Grand Canyon into the canyon about 7 miles, which seemed nearly vertical at the time, brake muscles burning the whole way. The next day we hiked out again, 7 miles straight up. The last two miles were awful. We were getting colder the closer we got to the rim. I don’t realize it at the time but I wasn’t eating enough calories to feed myself during the journey. Every footstep was a supreme effort. We made it at last and for the next week I performed what they call the Grand Canyon Hobble. I loved that trip and I think about it all the time.
At Crayola for a time, I managed a product line that comfortably launched six new products a year. That was until a new business unit was coming on line and my team was asked to produce an additional 15 new products in just half the time to feed this new business. We co-located the cross-functional team, set up a new process and set to work. The whole team worked incredibly hard working many long hours. In the end we delivered 15 great new products on time; many of these products going on to earn quite a bit of revenue. When I reflect on my time at Crayola that experience was one of the high points.
Today some of the most challenging things I’ve tackled have been the most rewarding from starting a new business, to writing this blog consistently no matter what, to growing my public speaking career. All three of these endeavors have been and continue to be challenging but I feel extremely fortunate to have the opportunity to invest my time in them.
Sometimes we want to save our staff team from the pain of a big challenge. Big projects are a lot of work. Innovation carries some risk. Change means uncertainty. All of these things requires that we invest not only sweat equity but an emotional investment as well. Many times our staff team is up for the challenge. They are willing to invest the time, thought and heart. And maybe, in the end, it will be a project everyone reflects on as one of the best.