Anything worth doing in life comes with some hardship, struggle, or resistance.
I left my family home when I was eighteen. At the time, I was still in high school, but determined to make my way in the world without much external support. I worked various jobs to pay for my rent, food, college education, and a car.
Even at a young age, it was up to me to support myself. When I landed a Quality Manager position at a folding carton manufacturer in Guelph, Ontario, I thought that I had done pretty well for myself. Although as it turned out, this was just the first step in a very long journey that was filled with achievements, setbacks, and resilience.
Overcoming Resistance to Implement Quality Control
I love offset printing and quality systems. Ensuring calibration and inspection validation, eliminating non-conformances, and reducing scrap/ rework through better process control quickly became my mantra. Although it wasn’t difficult for me to get excited about these elements of the manufacturing process, it can be a challenge to get others on board.
There were real struggles upon getting started in that job. New personalities, resistance to change, and new technologies to learn were some of the most prevalent ones, although there were several more.
Eventually I made friends with those colleagues who resisted change. As a team, we implemented programs to reduce waste, track production and more. I gained a respect for the print industry and felt I had contributed to the company’s success.
So that struggle (and it was a real struggle at times) was worth doing. The rewards were tremendous when I look back.
Overcoming Setbacks to Learn and Gain Experience
Later on in my life, I received an opportunity to work as a Quality Coordinator at a Hamilton, Ontario-based steel company. I loved manufacturing – taking a raw material, and converting it, transforming it into a finished piece or a component of a larger part.
Then one day an accident changed my perception of struggle. During a routine process where bundles of steel were being unloaded from a transport truck, I became pinned by one of the bundles which had fallen on top of me.
Not to worry, folks. I’m still here to tell the tale.
After a visit to the hospital, I returned to my apartment and thought to myself, “had life brought me to this point for a reason?” I came to only one answer – yes.
Learning from Struggle and Moving On
Weeks passed, my bones healed, and eventually I was back on my feet again. Through this time, I realized that while accidents can happen, it doesn’t mark the ending of your life or the things that you enjoy. I went through tough physio therapy sessions and committed myself to working hard, which eventually helped me to run several miles again.
Not only did this hardship lead to personal growth, but it gave me the opportunity to share the importance of health and safety at work. By telling my story, I’ve been able to lead safety programs and make a difference in the lives of others through having open conversations.
Each Difficult Situation You Encounter is a Learning Experience
Life is constantly full of ups and downs.
After each challenge, I reflect on how life has brought me to the tough decisions which have shaped my perspective and my choices.
Even though it can be tempting to take the easy way out, it is seldom if ever the road I choose. I understand that through struggle and hard work comes rewards not otherwise achievable.
When you face challenges and take risks, your life and the lives of those around you will be enriched. I can attest to that. The road less travelled is one that not many choose, but it’s the path I constantly find myself on.
I encourage you to take this road. Struggle, and learn to love it, because through difficult situations you will experience more personal and professional growth than you could ever imagine.