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Adversity: Bring it On!

Mike Langlois | Tuesday, February 13, 2024

    We have all faced adversity in our lives. I think back to some of my darkest moments, such as getting turned down when I asked a girl to go on a date with me in eighth grade, losing my first State Final Championship Hockey Game while leading by two goals with under three minutes left in the game, not making the Detroit Red Wings after scoring 10 goals in their Rookie Camp, not getting an executive job in our Nursing Department after being told I was a shoo-in, or having to resign from a Senior Vice President and Chief Supply Chain Officer position due to severe differences with my boss. These were just some of the extremely painful situations that I faced throughout my life. After each of these events, I was unsure how I would recover as they seemed insurmountable at that time.  

     As I moved forward, past each of these trials, it became clear that God had a different and better plan for me including a 42-year marriage to the love of my life (not the girl who turned me down in eighth grade), a wonderful 46-year career in Healthcare Supply Chain that I would not have experienced if I bounced around minor league hockey as some of my teammates had done, and a consulting stint that turned out to be a very positive and rewarding engagement, resulting in reduced stress and more family time over the past seven and a half years.  

     There is a quote from the philosopher Epictetus that says, “it’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters.” I have found that, throughout my career and life, this is a very true statement. COVID-19 tested the entire Healthcare Supply Chain and its leaders. Was this viewed as a challenge, a major nuisance, or an opportunity to demonstrate the value of Supply Chain to your organization? Are staffing shortages considered a hardship or an opportunity to find more efficient ways to provide the same or better service levels. Does added work responsibility become a burden or an opportunity to expand your experience, knowledge, and value to your organization? Do extremely aggressive goals, objectives, or cost-saving targets drain or energize you and your team?  Loss of a job, regardless of the reason, can often land you in a much better role. 

      Facing adversity is inevitable during our careers. But whether or not it makes us stronger leaders depends on how we handle it and how our staff, peers, and superiors perceive our handling of it. If we moan and groan to each of these constituents, I fear it weakens the view of our leadership skills. Embracing your challenges while focusing aggressively on finding and implementing solutions can improve your standing with your superiors, energize your team, and set an example for them to tackle adversity with the same “can do” energy. A positive attitude when facing adversity can greatly contribute to becoming a very effective leader, team member, or subordinate.  

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