Have you ever had a job or supervisor where you were consistently given tasks which you were sure were near impossible to accomplish? Over the history of my work experience, I have found myself in the position where I was given tasks I wasn’t 100% sure I was able to complete.
This got me to thinking…
Was my supervisor aware of the near-impossible nature of the task? Did they have an accurate understanding of what it was going to take to accomplish the task? Were they totally unaware of what was going to be required? Did they care? Were they so focused on the end result of the task, the steps it would take to get to the end were irrelevant?
Did they expect failure? With some past supervisors, this is a legitimate question. I expect that some actually wanted me to fail. But for the others, did they even consider failure was possible? Had they considered what failure would look like? Had they considers what would be the next steps if failure occurred?
I suppose it is possible they knew they were asking the impossible of me, but expected I would be able to pull off a miracle and get it done. If this is the reasoning there could be one of two things motivating this approach: their expectations are just too high and unrealistic; or they see something in me I don’t see and they know I am capable of the impossible.
I’d like to believe the latter.
Working in a high-pressure environment is made a little easier if you believe your superiors are committed to and believe in you and your potential as an employee and person. High demands and unrealistic timetables and deadlines cease to be traps for failure as they turn into moments for surprise and wonder or for you show what you are capable of accomplishing. They become moments for you make yourself into a linchpin, to become invaluable to your organization.