by: Bo McDonald, President, Your Marketing Co
As I was pondering which Dr. Seuss book I would write about next, I saw a message on Twitter from Janine McBee of the Texas Credit Union League. “Oh the Places You’ll Go.” Yes! I can’t think of a better book for credit union professionals to read right now. The industry is in a time of change. We have choices to make, and not every day will be successful.
Oh, the Places You’ll Go! was one of the last of Seuss’ works. It’s not a coincidence that sales of the book tend to spike every spring, right around graduation time. The yarn begins with a young man, simply referred to as “Me” leaving town. “Me” travels through several geometric landscapes and places, that only the brilliant yet simple mind of Dr. Seuss could come up with. It’s worth going to your local bookstore (or downloading on your tablet) to read or re-read for some reminders on life.
Here are some of the points I took away from Oh, the Places You’ll Go! :
- Attitude is a Choice: Dr. Seuss starts with “Congratulations, Today is Your Day… You have brains in your head, you have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose.” All too often I let the circumstances of my day dictate my attitude. Sometimes that’s good and other times not so much. We also can apply those words to our outlook on the credit union industry. “It’s not like it was ten years ago.” Which direction will you steer yourself in? Harold Wilson(two-time Prime Minister of England) once said: “He who rejects change is the architect of decay. The only human institution which rejects progress is the cemetery.”
- The Waiting Place: “Me” comes to the waiting place. Waiting for the fish to bite or waiting for the wind to fly a kite or waiting around for Friday night… you get the picture. Dr. Seuss says Waiting Place is where everyone is always waiting for something to happen. It is implied that time does not pass in the Waiting Place. It’s fairly hypocritical of me to mention this point. Too often I find myself waiting. Waiting for the right time. Waiting for the right amount of money. Waiting because I’m scared. Just wait. It’s safer than doing something. What issues in your life, in your credit union do you ignore and put in the “Waiting Place” because it’s safer that way? Sometimes because the action required seems like too much work. Stop waiting and seize the opportunities before you. Especially at your credit union. During this time of change, many difficulties look like dead-ends. Rubbish! Endless opportunities await our industry. “Somehow you’ll escape all that waiting and staying You’ll find the bright places where Boom Bands are playing.”
- Be scared: Next a challenge from Dr. Seuss. “There’s a very good chance you’ll meet things that scare you right out of your pants. There are some, down the road between hither and yon, that can scare you so much you won’t want to go on.” I realized several years ago that when I’m not scared, I’m not successful. When I find myself in a place of comfort, it’s only comfortable for a short period of time, and then it’s backwards growth. One common trait that successful entrepreneurs have is their tolerance for risk. It’s very high. Tolerance for risk isn’t a trait I see in many credit union executives. Good or bad, right or wrong, I’m not here to judge. But even on a basic level think of the things you could accomplish if you simply took fear out of the equation. Henry Ford said “One of the greatest discoveries a man makes, one of his greatest surprises, is to find he can do what he was afraid he couldn’t.”
Will you succeed? Yes! You will indeed. (98 and 3/4 percent guaranteed.) Embrace changes and accept them as opportunities and not roadblocks. Whatever it is you’re waiting for, stop. Stop waiting. Make today the day that you take action on those things on your to-do list that have been set aside, just waiting for the right time. Scare yourself. I often use the quote from the elementary school art teacher Anne Greiner: “Can’t never did a thing.” Whether you think you can or can’t, you’re right.
Once more, in the words of Dr. Seuss:“Kid you’ll move mountains! Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting. So…get on your way!”