Support NetworksHave you ever given much thought to how you handle the challenges presented to you? We’re all faced with daily challenges, whether it be:

  • Your health;
  • Your family and friends;
  • Work, time management;
  • Financial issues;
  • Car trouble or accident; or
  • Starting a new business.

The list really has no ending, and it always feels like it’s growing. What matters is how each of us work through those challenges; it says a lot about each of us. You can learn a great deal about yourself based on how you deal with a given situation or obstacle. Confronting challenges head-on helps you grow as an individual, impacting both your personal and professional life.

It’s a lifelong learning process

I’ve learned recently it’s always a good practice to reflect on how you worked through those challenges and what the outcome were. Self-reflection helps you to better understand your reactions and can help improve decision making and actions next time. You may find ways to improve how you responded to something so that the outcome is more positive the next time something similar arises.

Look to others for advice

This is not something I was ever good at in the past and I admit that I can definitely continue to work on this subject. I’ve learned to observe others’ behaviours toward certain situations. Did it work for them? Sometimes reinventing the wheel isn’t necessary if you can learn from others. You can also turn to a close friend, partner, spouse, or colleague to talk about challenges you’re facing to get their advice on how they would act.

Where things really changed for me

Recently, my family was presented with a life-changing obstacle when my 8-year-old son was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. We learned all too quickly that he would forever face a daily challenge and struggle to properly managing this disease.

Up until Sept 7th, 2014 I always considered myself lucky that I had two very healthy children with no worries for their health.

Boy did my world take a flip upside down that night. I remember standing at my son’s bedside in the emergency room when the doctor on call had come over to gently break the news to me. I was in complete and utter shock/disbelief, as I know any parent would be in a situation like that. I recall thinking, this is not happening, there is no way he could have diabetes, he has always been so healthy, active, we’ve always made sure our kids ate healthy.

Boy did my world take a flip upside down overnight.

I instantly felt like it was my fault, that I could have prevented this. I soon realized that was not the case. We had to quickly learn everything there is to know about diabetes, how to manage it, and even the myths and misconceptions behind this disease.

I will admit the first couple weeks were rough on all of us. I kept thinking I will never be able to handle this. I was feeling sorry for my son and for myself, thinking this is it, life is going to suck from here on out…..until the 8th day after his diagnosis. We were leaving the hospital to begin the journey on our own, without the help and guidance from the nurses and doctors, the now strictly prepared hospital meals and so on. My son was so happy to be going home, his spirts were high and he had the cutest smile on his face as we were walking out.

I realized at that moment that he was not going to let this beat him down and run his life. I’ve learned a lot from him through this entire experience. I needed to change my thought process and understand this does not have to beat us down, if he can be happy and smiling then I sure better be right alongside him.

Focus should be on the positives rather than the negatives

Each and every one of us has complete and total control on how we handle the challenges presented to us. It could be a significant life event or a critical issue with your production line. It’s all in how you see and handle them that is what really counts. Learning from my son’s experience, I am trying to focus on the positives: what will these new challenges offer me for my personal or career development? I’ve also learned about the importance of a support network. Keeping an open mind and surrounding yourself with a resourceful network of people and reliable resources will ensure a successful outcome toward those challenges.

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Lea holds an Executive Business diploma at Mohawk College. As Sales Coordinator for Mentor Works, Lea strives to ensure great client relationships are developed and maintained. Being a previous small business owner she can relate to the challenges start-up businesses face.

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