Amongst 64% of Americans, there exists an unsung heroic figure in our lives. It comforts and guides our days. Its been a key background figure for some of the most monumental moments in the history of the world. It coaches us every day. It's whisper calls to us every morning, urging us forward, onward, and upward. It brings us life. It brings us encouragement and contributes to our finest moments. Without its influence, a day can spin hopelessly out of control before you've even stepped foot in the office.
This hero is coffee, or more specifically for the purposes of this blog, espresso.
The world of espresso might not be where most in the business world would go for inspiration, but Taylor's certainly not like most folks. In episode 289 of The Traffic and Funnel's Show entitled: Pressure is your Barometer, Taylor chronicles his experience of learning to pull the perfect shot and the lessons he gleaned therein. So here are three lessons from espresso. “Like pulling the perfect shot of espresso, you are only going to achieve your ideal, your optimal potential when you are experiencing pressure.” Let's get into it.
Lesson One: Pressure Crystalizes
Pressure is one of those things which can help you or burn you. Think for a moment about the structures of sales teams. Whiteboards, competitions, bonus structures, the pressure to compete pushes everyone to do better. In a business context, that same pressure can help temper your business.
“What is soft it [Pressure] makes hard. It tempers, it crystalizes. It creates a wall that you can use to protect yourself against adversity. That comes from pressure. I'm amazed looking back at my life how the times that I withstood the most intense pressure, gave me the greatest gifts and developed in me the greatest skills and the best philosophies.”
Lesson Two: Pressure Extracts Greatness from You
Being under pressure causes you to reprioritize the non-essential components of your life or business in service of a specific outcome. Pressures and constraints, when utilized properly, can push you to think more clearly and to ensure that which matters most to you remains intact.
This process, however, doesn't come without a cost. “The greatest contributors of the ages, if you look back at their lives, were intimately connected with pressure and pain. I'm not saying you should try to make your life as painful as possible but I am saying you shouldn't idolize comfort. You definitely shouldn't set your life up so there is no pressure because then you are going to be under-extracted. there's going to be greatness locked up inside of you that never got the chance to come out”
Safety is not something that should be overrated. Sometimes taking a safe step is the best course of action. But too often the option to “play it safe” places you one small step away from complacency. Being complacent can lead us to be risk-averse which subsequently can leave a lot of potential on the table, leaving us never knowing what might have been. “Don't run away from pressure. Don't run away from pain or fear or anything. Learn to get comfortable with pressure because it makes you better, it makes you stronger, it makes you who you are”
Lesson Three: Pressure will be your Guide
“If you can learn to change and reframe the way you view pressure, [the] pressure will guide you to the place where you will have the most impact, where you will have the most contribution.”
Listening to pressure is incredibly important. In espresso, if you use too much pressure the resulting beverage will be bitter-tasting, too little and it becomes coffee tinted water. When we encounter pressure we must keep it in perspective, letting it drive us towards greatness. Retreating from pressure will nearly always lead us in the wrong direction.
“Running from pressure will lead you right off a cliff because the path of least resistance doesn't lead to greatness. Things that hurt us, instruct us. if you want the recipe for living at the bottom, if you want the recipe for having zero impact, zero contribution, zero fulfillment, run away from resistance and run away from pressure. Wherever we experience pressure it's a good sign that we are a path to a good destination.”
Finding the balance of pressure and grind coarseness will take time. However, that perfect cup of joe won't be found unless you pull a few shots. Likewise, learning how to apply and utilize pressure in your day to day routines takes time to implement and refine.
Do you feel you are downing? Being crushed by the pressures of business in life? “If you are in a place where there is too much pressure, you need to go micro. Little things produce little momentum which compounds into big momentum. ”
Go back to your routines and examine them. Are there little places where you can make tiny changes? Would waking up 15 minutes earlier help you feel a little more prepared for your day? Do it! Make enough tiny positive changes and the balance of your life will begin to shift. Let the small wins build and become a driving force to make big wins and pick up more momentum.
Are you perfectly content? Nothing seems difficult or trying? “If you are in a place with no pressure, you need to dial UP the pressure. You need to get into the big picture. I guarantee you that if you feel nothing if you are flatlined, you are undercutting your potential.” When we get away from challenging ourselves or taking even small risks we leave so much potential on the table. When we stop innovating, rethinking processes, and pushing ourselves we open the door to being caught off guard when a new circumstance enters the equation. Take a step back and evaluate where your business is heading and see if there are areas where you could take a calculated risk, increase the pressure just a bit, and see if it results in positive change.
Now go get yourself an espresso and see where you fall on your barometer.
In your service,