Beneath the earth’s surface, countless diamonds are forged by the perfect combination of heat and pressure over millions of years. Those beautifully natural diamonds only arise to the surface via volcanic eruptions.
The same natural cycle can be used to personify successful careers. When pressure is activated in our lives when our backs are against the wall, we have two choices: rise above the surface to become something beautiful or shrink into the shadows.
For D CEO’s August issue, we asked three business executives to share the most challenging circumstances they have overcome to achieve sustained success. Here’s what they told us.
Vice President and Associate General Counsel, Fidelity Investments
“There are always risks and gray areas. I have to balance taking risks with making sure that the business has what it needs to succeed while not hindering innovation or business goals. This requires strategic and creative thinking. It also requires the difficult task of saying no. One of the most rewarding parts of my job is being a trusted voice when business strategy is decided, then witnessing the successful implementation of that strategy.”
Managing Shareholder and Vice President, Griffith Davison
“I started practicing construction law in 1994. At the time, there were few female construction attorneys, so developing my own clients was not easy. The first mediation I handled, our client assumed I was the legal secretary sent to the mediation to help the lawyer. Overcoming stereotypes and prejudices while still maintaining a sense of female-self (including a love of very feminine shoes) was a challenge, but very much worth the climb.”
Chief Advisor and Strategist, Robin Pou Inc.
“My partner and fellow business owner fired me unexpectedly on a random Friday. Overcoming that seeming tragedy, I recognized my identity was wrapped up in being the COO of the business we were growing. In hindsight, it was the best thing that could have ever happened. I went on to write a book, start my own firm as an executive coach, and find my professional passion as I support incredible CEOs all over the country.”