Why we should embrace challenges

By James Golding

Sometimes the world can be a tough place to live and work.

Watching the London Marathon recently was inspirational, so many people putting them selves through a gruelling experience, pushing their bodies beyond the levels most people think they’re capable of. Many making it harder for themselves by wearing heavy fancy dress costumes too!

 But so many of them doing it in the name of a worthy cause – a bereavement, a charity, something that effects or supports a loved one who’s seriously unwell. It was a real celebration of triumph in the face of adversity.

It made me think – would these people be taking part if they hadn’t been the victim of their awful circumstances? Not suggesting for one minute that they’re better off for having suffered their horrible situation, whatever that may be. But it has likely spurred them on to achieve things they may not have previously believed possible. That was the bit that really interested me.

We’re extremely fortunate to have been able to recruit and grow our team over the last 12 months, but many businesses are struggling, many hard working and talented people are finding themselves out of work. But are some of these companies coming out the other side leaner, meaner, scarred but more experienced as a result? Are the accidental freelancers finding their feet and carving out a more flexible, lucrative living? Or has it forced them to try something new, and step out of the comfort zone?

There isn’t always a happy ending of course (and unfortunately), but I would wager a lot have people that have been forced in to change are better for it, in one way or another.

So how does that relate to adversity in our work?

Recently we’ve been working on an amazing brand development project – developing a creative look and feel for a product range for one of our clients, loads of assets to produce, concept to artwork to video and animation – but in an incredibly tight time frame. Super tight. Around 3 months work in 4 weeks. It’s the kind of time frame which means we need to be right first time, every at every stage of the process. Which in the highly subjective world of creative and graphic design, is a tough ask. But our client needed it, they rely on us, their reputation is in our hands. There’s been a few late nights, granted, but being under that pressure has really honed the focus on what’s critical, what steps in our processes can be sped up, forced us to find new ways to get decisions made quickly, and really got the creative juices firing on all cylinders.

When I look back on a lot of our most successful work, there’s often been an enormous challenge, something that seems slightly scary or completely unknown. It shouldn’t be scary though. This is the fuel of greatness. We’ve learnt to accept these challenges, not just because our clients are relying on us, but also because these big challenges will be the furnace from which our best work is forged.

So we’re now much more comfortable getting uncomfortable. As the saying goes, diamonds are formed under pressure.