Hi, there! My name is Nathan Churchill. I want to take a moment to thank you for visiting my site and taking a few moments to learn about me. My hope is that my words can bring value to your life.
I started this blog as a way for me to have a repository of information I wanted to pass on to my children; a journal of sorts. After starting to record some of the lessons I’ve learned throughout my life, I thought why not share these tips with the world? Everyone is fighting an up-hill battle. I want to do my part to pass on what I can to the world to help make everyone’s lives a little easier. I sincerely hope you’ll feel like your time spent here was worth it.
Shortly before graduation from college, I took an internship with Cessna aircraft company. That position turned full-time upon graduation, and I spent a total of eight years designing avionics and power distribution systems for business jets. It was a pretty sweet job right out of college. Over time, however, I realized that it wasn’t for me. I never felt like aircraft was a passion of mine and I found myself constantly wondering what the hell I was doing with my life.
Making a change
After spending enough time feeling sorry for myself, I decided it was time for a change. I needed to find something I was passionate about or I was going to stay in my existential funk. It was through this period of deep reflection that I realized what I was passionate about – advancing the human species. I wanted to put myself in a situation where my daily work would be improving humanity as a whole.
The path was clear for me – either get involved in the space industry or the renewable energy industry. I had one huge constraint – I didn’t want to uproot my family and move away from all of our family and life-long friends. This immediately eliminated the space industry for me due to my geographical location.
Fortunately for me, I happened to see an open position for an electrical engineer with Siemens Wind Power, a manufacturer of wind turbines. Ding ding ding! This was my ticket. I built up my resume and submitted an application. A couple of months later I got a phone call and set up an interview. I was ecstatic, and ended up getting the job and by the summer of 2015 I had officially moved into a position I was actually passionate about.
Today, I’m still there and I’m so much happier than I ever was designing business jets. I came alive when I took this job. Not only was I doing work that I cared about, I was working harder and engaging more than I ever had previously. I learned and grew more in a four-year period than I did in eight years at Cessna. It’s amazing what passion can do for your overall probability of success.
I’m involved in exciting projects that I care deeply about. Finding a job or starting a business doing something you’re incredibly passionate about is probably the number one tip I could give anyone for increasing their probability of success. Passion is power.
My Growth Journey
Phase 1 – Branching Out
In the Summer of 2015, I started with Siemens as an electrical engineer doing test support. I quickly realized I had more bandwidth and could take on additional responsibilities. Since I was working with a team of industrial engineers who seemed to always be in need of more help, there was plenty of opportunity. I stepped up and volunteered to take over a small production line as the IE. Over the course of a few months, I took over a larger production line as my capabilities grew. This was all extra credit at first, but now it was the main part of my job. Stepping outside my comfort zone and learning a new skill was the first big step in my growth journey.
Phase 2 – Leadership
My Manager left the company a few months later and our replacement manager was promoted to plant manager. He approached me one day about being a group lead for the industrial engineering and tooling team since he could no longer give the team the support it needed. This was to be a temporary change but would give me experience leading a team and managing people. I happily agreed.
This was one of the toughest years of my career. Managing people can be incredibly stressful, but I attacked it head on nonetheless. Again, I found myself way outside of my comfort zone. Every day I felt like I was in over my head, but I stuck with it and the department achieved its goals.
Eventually a new IE manager was hired, but he kept me as a “team lead” to help direct activities within the department and coach some of the younger guys on the team. This went on for a few months and then we got a project that would lead to my next promotion. It was a small service project that required some large assembly. The plant didn’t have the resources for a dedicated project manager at the time, so I was asked to lead this project, and eagerly agreed. It was a chance for me to showcase my project management skills.
If you’re keeping tabs, I’m now managing this new project, helping guide the IE department, responsible for multiple product lines, and yes, I’m still responsible for test support! It was a lot of work, but I never felt like I couldn’t handle it. It forced me to get incredibly focused and organized.
Phase 3 – Management
The new service project went very well. We met the delivery schedule and our customer was very happy with the quality of the product. A short time before the project ended, however, the Lean manager left the company. It was around this time I was approached by the plant manager about creating a new organization and he asked me to run it.
Our plant had more use for a project management organization (PMO) than a lean organization. So, after working out the details with the plant manager, we started this new organization and it was mine to run. Now I report directly to the plant manager as part of the management team. This is where I am today, and I couldn’t be happier. I’m like a pig in mud.
I share this story because I want to illustrate an example of how I’ve moved up through the company using the tactics I share on this blog. There was no one thing that kept me on this path, rather my passion for our product and my eagerness to grow and learn.
I try to always be taking on new challenges and step outside of my comfort zone. “Get comfortable being uncomfortable” is a favorite quote of mine. I live in a constant state of discomfort, but that’s where I’m comfortable. What I love is having a new challenge in front of me that forces me to grow and adapt. I have a growth mindset and an internal locus of control, and know I’m responsible for my future and nobody else going to make it happen for me. I know that I can influence my future by the actions I take today.
The Kaizen approach is the best way to grow and succeed. You must make small, continuous improvements in yourself to achieve your potential. This method is the perfect way to describe and implement this philosophy.
Throughout my career so far, I’ve learned enough that I feel empowered to competently share. I use a lot of small tactics and strategies throughout my day and I attribute a lot of my success to them. I’ve built a large enough repertoire that I feel like I can start sharing with the rest of the world. It’s time for me to start giving back to others. So, here we are.