The African American Credit Union Coalition (AACUC) annual conferences set the tone for our year ahead as an organization. The 2021 annual conference was extraordinary – one of the best conferences to date. We chose a theme that would be the centerpiece idea for our work over the next 12 months. Our conference theme was designed to transcend the conference schedule and to serve as a call-to-action for all credit union professionals.
At AACUC, our theme – Be Bold. Be Mindful. Be Brave – is our way of life. It is the system that keeps things in place throughout the year. These phrases are the habits that will form and shape us as we implement them. They are intentional acts that will transform us personally and professionally. They are the “rules” that will equip us to fulfill our individual and collective mission. All one needs to embrace this theme is a spirit of willingness and sincerity.
We invite you to join us on our journey to becoming bold, mindful, and brave this year.
Are you challenging yourself and others to be bold in leadership? How are you practicing mindfulness in your everyday life? Do you take leaps of faith to remind yourself that you are brave?
Think about these questions as you come along the journey with us. Take a few moments to list what you consider essential to achieving boldness, mindfulness, and bravery. Reflect on your patterns, and even change them if need be. Surrender to the healthy patterns you develop as you make the intentional choice to be bold, mindful, and brave. Lean on resources available to you and push yourself outside of your comfort zone.
For the next month, I want to challenge you to be mindful.
Credit union folks let’s be mindful of taking care of ourselves. I know, it seems simple, but we are in a time of extreme burnout and Zoom fatigue. When we entered the pandemic, I heard gentle sighs of relief from many of my colleagues. The commute stopped, events cancelled, and work went digital. We thought for sure there would be plenty of time for rest and relaxation. Sadly, that did not turn out to be the case.
If you’re like me, your schedule is full of Zoom, WebEx, and Microsoft Teams calls. Perhaps you have after-hours activities that have also shifted to digital platforms. The pace of our work hasn’t eased up like we thought it would. While we may be at home, we’re still constantly on the go. But I want to encourage us to take time out to refresh, renew and re-engage ourselves.
Somehow, we have convinced ourselves that we are not worth the investment. Our capitalistic society teaches us to stay busy, but we must be intentional and create space for rest. It’s time that we tend to ourselves so that we can best serve our families, communities, and members.
During my meetings with credit union professionals, I noticed that people are looking for hope, understanding and a sense of belonging. The ironic thing is, that is exactly why credit unions were created and what credit unions offer their members, staff, and partners. Credit unions of yesteryear were created to offer hope to their members. Credit unions of the past understood the needs of their members and, most importantly, they made sure that members knew they belonged. It has not gone unnoticed that credit unions folks like you and me are working hard to get back to those three things, hope, understanding and belonging.
I firmly believe that in order to for us to get back to those three things, we must tend to ourselves. We must be hopeful to inspire hope. We must be patient to make way for understanding. We must know ourselves to offer others a sense of belonging. This all starts with mindfulness and the practice of tending to self.
Be kind to you this month. Give yourself some grace and be mindful of every moment, practice, and interaction.