A few weeks ago, I was visiting with a coworker and she told me I was the reason she stayed at her job. Confused and shocked, I asked for more details. “What do you mean I’m the reason you’re still working here?”, I asked. She went on to tell me, an article I wrote at my former job two years prior, about never giving up, was the reason she stayed at her job. After a streak of bad luck at that credit union and a tough few months due to an upcoming merger, she had her office all packed up, ready to quit that day.
After hearing her tell this story, I was stunned. How could my words really make such a lasting impression? What are the odds that now we both work for the same credit union and are coworkers?
If you’re like me, somedays you wonder if what you’re doing is worthwhile. I love my job and I truly feel like I’m making an impact, but on occasion, even outside the office, doubt can set it. With work duties, home responsibilities, spousal responsibilities and more, somedays life is just hard. I’m usually a glass half full type person, with a positive mindset, but we all have our bad days.
However, in that moment, after hearing my coworkers’ story, I had no doubt life had led me to the place I am supposed to be. I think we all need those reminders now and then, that we are making an impact. Whether it’s an impact on our family, a positive impact in the lives of friends, strangers or even our credit union members. Here’s a few tips how you can live a life, making an impact at your credit union.
- Listen: Listening to the needs of those around you, to your members and co-workers can play a huge role in making an impact. Without takin the time to listen, how will you ever know what that member needs? How will you ever know your spouses or kids dreams and goals? Listening is a simple, yet crucial aspect. When we take time to sit, listen and get to know those around us, we can learn what makes them happy, what goals they have and how we can help impact their life. It’s a simple thing, that takes time, patience and practice to be a good listener. I encourage you to put the phone down, engage with those around you and listen to what knowledge others have to offer.
- Be Real: Being true to yourself sounds so simple, yet so hard. Do you wake up every day with passion and the fire under you to do what you love? Or do you wish for something different? When you’re not true to yourself, you abandon your goals, desires and dreams. You pass off bad emotions or vibes you get when being around certain people because you want them to like you, therefore, sometimes not acting like yourself. Being your real, true, genuine self is what can help you be happier and keep your integrity for what you believe. Being real and authentic can be a life-long practice, where you know and understand your strengths, don’t worry about the mistakes and dream big—not to mention you’re not afraid to laugh at yourself. This authentic self, can be contagious and make a positive impact for those around you.
- Work for a Cause, not Applause: We all know or have that one person in our lives that works for the glory, the applause and to add another achievement to their list, which is just fine. Har worker are good workers. However, sometimes, remember to work hard for a cause and not just the applause, is better. The hard part, might be finding your cause and what you want to work for. Is it your job? Your members? Your family? It’s important to remember, nothing in life comes easy, especially not without you giving it your all. When you’re questioning how to give more and work for a cause, try starting small. Give more of your time, give more of your love, give more of the money you spend going out on weekends to charity instead- the list goes on. You were put here on this earth for a reason, don’t forget to give more and use every ounce of that wonderful talent you were given, for a positive cause.
- Remain Positive: Growing up, if I missed a calf in breakaway or tipped a barrel, I’d often not only be mad at myself, but my horse, as well. Nonetheless, I got a reality check quite often when I was constantly reminded by my father to have more of a positive attitude. When I left the trailer, he explained that I needed to have a positive attitude, focus on my next task at hand and ultimately focus on my job at the time, rodeo. If I let my negative thoughts get to me, I often did poorly in the rest of my events. The same is in life or at your office. If you think negatively, your actions will be negative. Garbage in-garbage out. Conversely, if you think positively, your actions most times will be positive. Positive attitudes in the workplace can lead to improved communications, better teamwork, increased morale and high productivity. In addition, having a positive attitude, can make you more approachable and can be more impactful on those around you.
- Be Thankful: A simple thank you can go a long way. I’ve witnessed it, I’ve felt it and been impacted by the power of both getting and not getting a thank you. When we go through life expecting things, without being grateful and thankful, that’s when life can take a turn for the worse. I’ll be honest, there’s many days when a thank you, means more to me than the action I did to receive the thank you. A thank you can truly impact someone’s life, far beyond that moment, for many years, in fact. The point is, be kind to everyone you meet. You never know what they might be going through. A thank you, a congratulations to your coworker, an uplifting note and even a kind heart can make the biggest impact on someone’s life.
At the end of the day, if I had to list everyone that has made an impact on my life, my list could be endless. I’m constantly longing to make a positive impact in the world and I hope those around me are too. No matter where you are in life, it’s important that we work to be the best people we can, with a purpose in mind. If we do that, we’ll truly make an impact.