How to Overcome Challenges

Everybody faces challenges, big and small. It is important to have the tools to overcome all types of challenges. In a recent USA Manufacturing Hour, Kirsten Austin from DCSC Inc. led a discussion on overcoming challenges.


Recovering from COVID

The chat kicked off with host, Austin, asking if participants are recovering from the effects of Covid.

Pavel Stepanov from VirtuDesk said, “I love that we are seeing growth in numbers and clients. However, the other challenge that is pressing us is the current economic downturn.”

Gina Tabasso said, “We just bought the company two years ago and have seen growth since!”

Neil Hussey from Denco Lubrication Ltd said, “Our business saw its best year last year and this year is looking to be even better so I think that some things manufacturing over here are getting back to normal.”

Host, Austin replied, “That is so positive. We so love our #UKManufacturing peeps who always support our efforts here. #USAMfgHour Don't tell anyone though, it's a secret.”

Ruby Rusine from Social Success Marketing said, “It's true that a lot has happened over the past three years. I guess it's safe to say we have finally reached the point of acceptance and adjustment.

Nigel Packer from Pelatis Online said, “After a lull during the early part of Covid, we refocussed on a digital approach to lead generation. We have been resurrecting our 3D networking again in the last few months and things are starting to return to better business.”

Beth Bigelow from Home Building Solutions said, “We are actually busier than ever due to the current real estate market. People are remodeling instead of moving and having a higher interest rate!

Susannah Scheller from Capri Temporary Housing said, “Absolutely! The pandemic definitely threw a wrench into things in terms of travel which affected our industry quite a bit, but the progress in safety measures and return to normal life has brought quite a bit of normalization and growth back to us!

Host Austin said,Within our own manufacturing & distribution customer base, I slowly am seeing business bounce back. There are still after effects. Here's an interesting article from @JPFordRojas w/ @SkyNews on their perspective of the US Economy.”


Challenge vs Obstacle

Next, the chat shared what the difference is between a challenge and an obstacle.

Host, Austin shared “By the way, here's a blog I wrote in 2016 about a Grand Canyon Hike I took”

Rusine said, “Obstacles are barriers to success, whereas challenges offer opportunities for growth.

Host Austin replied, “Rubes .. I love that!”

Stepanov said, “Challenges are opportunities for growth while obstacle negatively hinders your way of achieving a certain goal.man_looking_at_obstacle_maze

Host, Austin replied, “What a wonderful entrepreneurial way to look at this. In fact, many products and services were born from challenges. #USAMfgHour ... Also born from people with enough guts to risk as idea and their money or time.”

Hussey said, “A challenge is something that is going to allow you to grow through learning and doing. An obstacle is the vehicle that provides the challenge…

Bigelow said, “A challenge is like a test of your abilities. An obstacle is an unforeseen circumstance that can cause issues within a project.

Stepanov added, “Challenges are capable of bringing out the best in you while obstacles are barriers that hinder your progress and require resolution.”

Scheller said, “In many cases, it is simply the way you view it. Both are about overcoming, but one is seen as an issue and problem while the other is seen as something to learn and grow through. In rare cases, they can be different things.

Rusine replied, “Agreed - it's all about perspective!

Host, Austin then replied, “Love it and IMHO Attitude as well.

Scheller chimed in “Absolutely! Attitude can make or break the process of improvement.

Packer said, “I think that it is a matter of mindset. Obstacles are opportunities just like challenges. If you see them as barriers you will be stopped in your tracks. If you see them as opportunities and find a way around them you get ahead of your competitors

Tabasso said, “A challenge to me is something that makes me grow and be creative and innovative; an obstacle is a road block that can threated success and needs to be gone over, around, under, taken down, etc. It often requires additional resources.”

Rusine replied, “An inspiring way to view challenges and obstacles!

Dan Bigger said, “A challenge is oh hell, I don't know. Both are difficult.

Host, Austin said, “Let’s define an obstacle verses challenge. An obstacle is something that stands in the way of reaching a goal or finishing a task. It’s a barrier that needs to be overcome. A challenge, on the other hand, is a task or goal that requires effort and skill to complete.”


Personal Challenges

The chat then discussed personal challenges and obstacles that they have overcome.

Bigger said, “Sure, I was living in NY and that sucked because we couldn't do anything. My kids couldn't go to school, play sports, and we as a family couldn't leave the house. We left and went to SC

Austin replied, “So many things I want to say and so many things I will leave in my head. I understand.”

Hussey said, “My wife has found it increasingly difficult to work in “corporate” so has “retired” and now we’ve set up a small crafting business which we hope will pick up and give us a steady stream of income…I’m enjoying the challenge of laser cutting.”

Tabasso said, “I have lost my job multiple times due to the economy and lack of investment in marketing and also had health challenges. These things got me where I am today and helped me make changes and meet amazing people along the way.”

Scheller said, “One of the biggest challenges we ever faced was when we realized that we needed to change our whole company. Capri started as a husband-wife team that flipped houses, and then we realized our passion was corporate housing and making travelers feel like they were at home. So we transformed the whole company, changed our SOPs, and created Capri Temporary Housing so we could operate inside our energy advantage and bring our best to the world.”

Stepanov said, “During my younger days living in Russia, the economy and the country is not really good. That is why we decided to migrate to the US. It's much better here.

Rusine said, “One that I have overcome is the challenge of being in another place I have to call home. It wasn't easy but now in hindsight, I can say, it's absolutely worth it.”

Bigelow said, “My biggest challenge and obstacle is managing my mental health. Had a rough first half of the year, but things are going great now that I had my medication changed. Now I'm eating like a maniac and trying to put weight back on.”

Stapanov added, “Laying off people during the COVID-19 lockdown has caused panic and anxiety, especially for those employees who were laid off. We are thankful for our families who supported us until we found a company where we matter.

Julia Gardner from Hourly Insurance and Payroll said, “Career switches can be a challenge, I went from being a teacher to going into marketing! Marketing is a better match for me :)”

Host, Austin said, “To keep it light, I have overcome an enormous number of challenges & obstacles. I believe attitude is important & would like to share this blog written in 2017, my quadruple D year – Death X3 Divorce X1


Mental Toughness

Participants then shared how mental toughness plays into overcoming setbacks, obstacles and challenges.

Tabasso said, “The tougher the better”                

Gardner said, “Mental toughness helps a lot, recognizing what's in your control and the ways that you're actually not stuck

Hussey said, “Mental toughness sure plays a part. Without it there’s always the danger of giving up on a challenge before solving it.”

Host, Austin replied, “Right and just think of how many things we've all been through. Rejection, loss, setbacks, sadness etc. Then look at your accomplishments. You would not have had those by giving in or giving up. #USAMfgHour you have to fight.”

Stepanov said, “When faced with obstacles or challenges, mentally tough individuals remain committed to their goals. They have a strong sense of purpose and are less likely to give up when things get tough.

Rusine said, “Mental toughness involves inner strength, courage for risk-taking, and a clear vision of goals to remain resilient in challenging situations.”

Bigger said, “A huge part. I have had many setbacks over the last couple of years. Even with anxiety issues, which are now under control, I am still ticking.

Scheller said, “It plays a HUGE part! Attitude often determines your altitude (Yes, there are many other factors but they don't mean anything without the determination factor), so building mental toughness and a positive attitude is one of the best ways to prepare for obstacles.

Host, Austin said, “IMHO, mental toughness is imperative to survival & success. I have this blog by @LaRaeQuy printed and posted by my desk. Please #Follow this amazing lady & check out her book, Secrets of a Strong Mind!”


Business Challenges

Finally, participants discussed what business challenges their manufacturing company has learned from.

Hussey said, “Learning is a constant process, you never stop learning and you should never want to stop learning. If you stop you’ll get left behind. The companies that haven’t survived these last few tough years didn’t learn to adapt quickly enough.”

Scheller replied, ”What an astute observation! Learning is key to success.

Host, Austin then replied, “100% and while keeping the basic character of what made you good ~ there still is opportunity (along with necessity) in change, but change is scary to a lot of people and companies.

Bigger said, “that we need to do sales and marketing. My wife has been so busy making things over the years she had no time for it. Enter me.

Host, Austin replied, “Now that's you forte!

Bigger replied back, “28 new customers this year so far. And that is only over the last couple of months

Host, Austin said, “If anything, manufacturers & distributors learned that #technology is important in managing supplies, yet people, are even more important during tough times. Check out this podcast discussing that hosted by @JulieBasello w/ @Radwell_Intl





About #USAMfgHour

Anyone who champions U.S. manufacturing can join in on a new conversation each week on Twitter using the hashtag #USAMfgHour. The chat starts at 11 a.m. Pacific Standard Time/2 p.m. Eastern. Share positive blog posts, helpful articles, news, important information, accomplishments, events, and more with other manufacturers and supporters from throughout the country.

Are you interested in hosting a #USAMfgHour chat? Contact organizers @DCSCinc, @SocialSMktg and @Radwell_Intl


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