Marketing

Get Off the Conveyor Belt of Life

Inspirational performing artist offers three steps to find meaning and stop time.

March 09, 2012
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Life is one big, crazy, busy conveyor belt packed with commitments and to-do lists.

And then we die.

But it doesn’t have to be that way, inspirational performing artist Victoria LaBalme told CUNA Marketing & Business Development Council Conference attendees Thursday.

She suggests taking a page from singer Bob Dylan, who once said, “The purpose of art is to stop time.”

Therefore, we should all stop taking a perverse pride in being stretched thin—“Somehow this has become a status symbol,” LaBalme says, “where people brag about how little sleep they get”—and instead turn our “busyness” into art.

Doing so requires three actions:

1. Look

Reconsider how you view business and personal opportunities. “What you look for you’ll find,” she says. “But you’ll miss other possibilities along the way because you missed the full spectrum.”

Likewise, focusing solely on typical credit union solutions to business problems will keep new ideas from springing up. “Look to other organizations for marketing ideas,” LaBalme advises.

Looking also includes finding your “through line,” the actress says. “Through line” is an acting term that refers to the forces behind a character’s actions. People can find their through lines by considering three questions:

  • If you were on a desert island and could provide only one piece of advice to a loved one, what would it be? The answer is what’s most important to you.
  • What’s the nobility behind your work? Why does it matter to you?
  • What are you the personal representative for? What do you want to be known for, and what do you represent?
     


2. Listen

President Calvin Cooledge once said, “no one ever listened himself out of a job.”

Taking the time to listen carefully—and not interrupting or “pouncing” after a moment of silence”—shows that you care about the person who’s talking.

3. Love

LaBalme watched from her New York City apartment on Sept. 11, 2001, as the Twin Towers fell. Three months later, she lost her mother to cancer. That taught her there’s no time to lose.

“Life is short—don’t waste time,” she urges. “What are you waiting for? When you love someone, time stops.”

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Great article! Unfortunately, most employees don’t feel valued or appreciated by their supervisors or employers. In fact, research has shown that the predominant reason team members quit their jobs is because they don’t feel valued. This is in spite of the fact that employee recognition programs have proliferated in the workplace – over 90% of all organizations in the U.S. has some form of employee recognition activities in place. But most employee recognition programs are viewed with skepticism and cynicism – because they aren’t viewed as being genuine in their communication of appreciation. Getting the “employee of the month” award, receiving a certificate of recognition, or a “Way to go, team!” email just don’t get the job done. How do you communicate authentic appreciation? We have found people have different ways that they want to be shown appreciation, and if you don’t communicate in the language of appreciation important to them, you essentially “miss the mark”. Additionally, employees need to receive recognition more than once a year at their performance review. Otherwise, they view the praise as “going through the motions”. A third component of authentic appreciation is that the communication has to be about them personally – not the department, not their group, but something they did. Finally, they have to believe that you mean what you say. How you treat them has to match the words you use. If you are not sure how your team members want to be shown appreciation, the Motivating By Appreciation Inventory (www.appreciationatwork.com/assess) will identify the language of appreciation and specific actions preferred by each employee. You then can create a group profile for your team, so everyone knows how to encourage one another. Remember, employees want to know that they are valued for what they contribute to the success of the organization. And communicating authentic appreciation in the ways they desire it can make the difference between keeping your quality team members or having a negative work environment that everyone wants to leave. Paul White, Ph.D., is the co-author of The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace with Dr. Gary Chapman.

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