Supporting Roles

I hope this update finds you having the happiest of holiday seasons! As much as I geek-out for all things credit union, the holiday season is really where my inner elf shines.

What is it about the holidays that make us feel all warm and fuzzy? I think it’s the effervescent feelings of good will, of cheer and love and a revived sense of hopefulness that can only be felt this time of year.

While this time of year can be a time of stress and struggle, it’s also a time of year when the simple joy of opening a door, offering a smile, of taking pleasure in random acts of kindness is more pervasive than any other. Imagine applying this holiday cheer to those around you throughout the year. Imagine a world where we take the time to build each other up, where we joyfully star in supporting roles for those around us, instead of being in constant competition for the lead.

Never before have I felt the support of so many, so tangibly, as I did during the Next Top Credit Union Executive competition. I have been fortunate to cultivate relationships and acquaintanceships with many a fine folk, near and far. But I have never had a chance to know how much of an impression I had made until I asked for help and support.

The emails, the votes, the shares and likes and comments pouring in from literally all corners of the United States (and beyond!) touched me more than winning ever could. Why? Because a victory is a finite moment – a celebration, a thing that bursts forth and then fades into memory, however cherished it may continue to be. But support? Knowing that I have so many hearts beside and behind me? That is a feeling of love, of gratitude, that has left an indelible mark on who I am.

I have always enjoyed the benefit of support from the leadership at my credit union. I have always felt empowered and believed in. When I entered this competition, however, I am not certain that they really believed I could take top honors.

Look around your office. Who do you have that is just waiting for a chance to shine? Who, if given the opportunity, could surprise you beyond all expectations?

May the golden lesson from my journey, and from the innate joy of this season, be – that by offering support, by elevating those around us to shine, we will be giving a gift more important than any Santa Claus could bring in his bundle of toys.

Because Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. (New York Sun, September 21, 1987)

Merry Christmas to you and yours!