2023 and me: Reset prescription for taking care of the leader in you!

Now that the Covid 19 pandemic is mostly in our rear view mirror its time to look forward and live again —not just exist as many of us did under a national health emergency.

Credit union leaders should take time and reflect on overcoming all the issues and stresses that were associated with leading our credit unions during this unprecedented time over the last three years. Feeling grateful and appreciative of our families/staff/members/communities/friends and each other.

The pandemic made us all realized that in life anything can happen without warning and as we grow older life gets shorter so its important to prioritize your life’s passions and desires and live life to the fullest.

This is a good time to reset your mindset and focus on being good to you! Realize that you cannot be good for others unless you are good to yourself. Do not dwell on past regrets and feel guilty about it. Use the Nike philosophy of “Just Do It!

Before you are ready to go for it, I encourage you to create a bucket list of all the dreams, goals, activities, and experiences you want to fulfill before you expire.

Write down and itemize all that will motivate you to pursue your real passions before it is too late … anything and everything you have ever wanted to do or try. And do not be afraid to dream and make them big and exciting!

Also take a moment and write your own living epitaph – how you want to be remembered by family/loved ones/friends/co-workers.


Why think about all this now? Because as we age we realize our mortality and time becomes our most precious commodity and how we spend it is crucial. We live in a rote/staccato of daily routines, stresses, responsibilities, and activities that tend to consume our lives, so now is the time to activate yourself and get moving about focusing your future actions on what is important to you going forward.

It is not a race against time – it is a way to maximize engaging in fulfilling activities in the present time.

Your bucket list is your way of benchmarking how you want to live the rest of your life to the fullest. It can be as few as 2 or as many as 25 things you want to do or partake in before your life ends.

To get you started after you read this, get out your laptop or tablet and start writing down what comes to mind when you read the following questions:

  • What wish list would you ask for before you die?
  • What is it that you always wanted to do?
  • Who do you want to see and what would you say to them?
  • If you could go anywhere in the world, where would it be?
  • What have you been dreaming about doing all your life?
  • What difference did you make while you were alive?
  • What would you like to achieve before you die?

Create your list with as many realistic wishes that make sense to you and are achievable and knock them off one at a time, savoring the experience.

To help get you going, the following are some items from my bucket list:

  • Learn to play the Spanish guitar
  • Travel to the birthplaces of my family’s ancestors
  • Make a difference in someone’s life
  • Volunteer for a new community cause
  • Attend the Kentucky Derby
  • Spend more meaningful time showing/appreciating family/friends/colleagues that I really care about
  • Travel the historic Route 66/visit Dubai

Once you have your list keep it with you or in a visible place where you can refer to it. I would start out first with doing the simplest and easiest to undertake to give you a sense of self accomplishment.

It will be important to keep your mental/physical/spiritual health and passion up for these new endeavors. Your list should give you a sense of purpose/fulfillment for moving forward—just like our professional work in the credit union movement.

Keep the juices flowing for all that you want to experience. Use mind mantras to keep you going: “Motion is lotion/Movement is medicine/Health is the true wealth”!

Let your bucket list be the driver of your action plan for your end-of-life strategy and keep focused on accomplishing it.

Remember what Morgan Freeman said in the Bucket List movie: “It’s not about worrying about dying—it’s all about living”!

John Vardalas

John Vardalas

John A. Vardalas CAE, CUDE is Founder/CEO of The AmericanBoomeR Group, a Madison, Wisconsin based speaking/consulting firm. He is also a frequent speaker and facilitator of strategic planning ... Web: www.theamericanboomer.com Details