Are these current less-than-ideal circumstances testing your ability to be resilient? Could you use some tips for increasing your perseverance and endurance?

Then check out the lessons I learned while working in a chocolate-covered almond factory!

Two years ago I was asked to lead a three-day, 24-hour consulting gig, a time cycle study at a factory that makes chocolate-covered almonds. This project involved recording the cycle times of the processing equipment for each phase of the manufacturing operation.

The catch was this–it was three days in a row, all three different shifts. At first, I balked at the idea. It just didn’t sound like my cup of tea! But I accepted the task and jumped in headfirst. In the end, it was a great experience, and I learned a ton.

But before I get into the meat of what I learned, here’s a funny video—Lucy and Ethel as chocolate candy factory workers. 

So, what did I learn? Here are four things:

1. Always Be Open to Learning Something New

I must say, I LOVE my sleep. The thought of a compromised sleep schedule did not sit well with me! But I knew that learning how to do time-cycle studies would be a great new tool to add to my toolkit.

Lessons learned: Don’t let your preconceptions box you in from discovering something new.  

2. Forge Ahead in Situations That are Less Than Ideal

Being covered in chocolate dust (I know there are worse things than this!), working with constant ear-deafening noise (even with ear protection), being exhausted, and staying alert were all challenges. But I kept keeping on, knowing the situation was temporary.

Lessons learned: Even when your circumstances are challenging, keep putting one foot in front of the other.

3. Even the Best Things in Life Can Get Old

Here’s a fun fact–even the wonderful smell of chocolate can lose its appeal. It’s true! Like all things in life, too much of a good thing can get old. Constantly smelling chocolate, smelling like chocolate, and being around chocolate for three days was enough for me!

Lesson learned: Too much of a good thing can sometimes be too much! “All things in moderation” is excellent advice.

4. Challenging Situations Can be our Best Teachers

Wishing you were somewhere else during difficult situations rarely helps, but embracing the challenge as an opportunity to learn often does. The thought of my nice, warm bed was undoubtedly appealing but not realistic. I took the time to learn what I could during my zombie-like state, which helped pass the time.

Lessons learned: Choosing to embrace difficulties as great opportunities to grow and overcome helps prevent the desire to escape.

So, that’s what I learned through my unique adventure!

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