“It is important to have an attitude that embraces the spirit of challenge in order to continue trying without the fear of failure.”
Dr. Kazuo Inamori – Book II, pg. 66
The circumstances by which I came to be an associate of Kyocera were quite unexpected, and the result would have been impossible without willingness to incur a bit of risk. I came to the area from Florida, leaving behind a stable job, family and my dearest friends, to come to North Carolina in search of a more fulfilling career. I became a strength coach. This was a new world for me professionally, but I was confident in my knowledge. Though promising at first, this experiment was ill-fated. I had gambled with the most meaningful cornerstones of my life, and I had lost. An unwelcome decision presented itself. Whether by optimistic persistence or sheer prideful stubbornness, I refused to turn back. In my time of desperation, Kyocera gave me a job.
When I arrived at Kyocera as a temporary shipping and receiving clerk, I knew that I had stumbled upon something with long-term potential. I had heard of this company before. It was the maker of the first cell phone I ever owned. What were the odds that I’d come to work here? I found it difficult to dismiss a slight feeling of providence. I learned my duties, befriended my co-workers, became a full-time employee and took on new responsibilities; but for all that, I couldn’t ignore a creeping sense of stagnation. Growing impatient with my progress, I could hear the echo of my father telling me to make something of myself. I chose to explore the option of Officer Candidacy School to serve in the Army. However intensely authoritarian military life is, I thought it a good way to establish myself quickly; such action was long over-due.
Despite aspirations of military service, I continued frantically applying for every open position within Kyocera; another roll of the dice. This approximate scrambling may seem to reveal a latent lack of decisiveness, but this is not the case. One is reminded of the words of the legendary Samurai warrior, Miyamoto Musashi, in his battlefield philosophy masterwork, A Book of Five Rings. “You must understand that there is more than one path to the top of the mountain”. Though my aptitude for military service was sufficient, past injuries of my shoulders made medical clearance a dubious proposition. After some hurdles, I was ultimately cleared for duty. But in the final stages of the entry process, I was asked to interview for an enticing promotion. Faced once again with a daunting decision, I chose to stay. I applied for the job. I interviewed for the job. I did not get the job. I was beginning to doubt my gambling skills.
The fear that I had made an irreparable mistake was suffocating. I assured myself, however unconvincingly, that everything would be fine. I just had to press forward and the right opportunity would come in time. It was not long before I found myself across the conference room table from the heads of North Carolina Supply Chain Management. I was pleasantly surprised with the auspicious course of the interview, and was offered the position of Purchasing Specialist. Today, I reflect on my failures with gratitude. Not only have these experiences tested, and in-turn hardened my resolve, I recognize that I fit my new position much better than I could have fit the numerous others I pursued. The vast majority of our attempts in life will not be successful. What we must glean from these experiences is a resistance to discouragement and surrender. Success cannot be fully appreciated or reveled in without the requisite misadventures. As I assume my role in Supply Chain Management, I ruminate upon a passage from Dr. Inamori, “You must never harbor any fears or doubts about your ability to achieve your goals.” I know that an expanse of new challenges await; and though failure is always a possibility, it is simply not an option.