I must admit that I have debated about my last SYL blog content over the past few weeks. I felt pulled by each of the thoughts that 2020 was done (but not), that 2021 is a new year (but not a clean slate), combined with all of the personal and professional positives and negatives that seemed to be so amplified this past year. Not to mention, some of the past SYL blogs by exiting members that have set a pretty high standard!
I have finally settled on taking the high road…. a compilation of my best SYL take-aways and memories.
My first SYL game. A card game, family friendly, childish, if you will, brought to you by Naomi Seaborg. At my January inauguration, it took me too many rounds to figure out that she was cheating by just picking one of the images…not an actual match. Still fun enough that I bought it and play it regularly with my kids (and don’t cheat like Naomi).
Cypress Hills and Elk Ridge, both with themes of personal development, emotional intelligence and connection with other attendees…and both with enough ‘oomph’ to knock me backwards even though I was part of the planning subcommittee for Elk Ridge. Our presenters at both were so inspiring and amazing that I left with a swimming head full of ideas and a heart full of hope, at just the right time in my life. SYL works like that, little miracles when you least expect it.
A fantastic event that makes you feel like you’re awesome at curling when you’re really not. My suggestion is for a CUMA baseball or golf tournament, perhaps something a little less physically dangerous, like Crib or Go Fish.
It is truly unbelievable how easily complete strangers with a few core values in common can come together and get so many things done, do them well, and do them well together. It is like nothing else. Friendship, laughter, some tears, frustration, comradery, more laughter…I know it sounds so cheesy…but it’s so true. 2020 being 2020, our members were able to stop, think, readjust, redo, create with what seemed like ease. I am so excited to see what SYL is going to do next!
Love it or hate it…ask your favorite SYL committee member or alumni to lead you in this fantastic ice breaker. The song is pretty good too.
Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.
This is my first blog ever. Even when blogging was cool, I wasn’t cool enough to do it. I decided to write my first blog about a passion of mine and something that affects my life on a daily basis: Superheroes.
Now some people think that superheroes only exist in comic books, movies, or tv shows. If that’s the case, I encourage you to take a look around and see what you discover.
For instance, I work with numerous superheroes. The people I work with everyday are amazing. They fill in when people are away, are always willing to help, and being part of the regulatory team, work with credit unions to ensure that the Saskatchewan system as a whole remains strong. Speaking of the system, credit union employees are superheroes to all members. Even in these trying times of the pandemic, credit union employees are there to help you when and if you need them. They have found new ways to stay connected to members and new ways to support their local communities. Credit unions have not missed a beat when it comes to supporting member financial needs, showing the dedication of their employees and of cooperative values in everything they do. These are the everyday superheroes; always there when you need them, even without a bat symbol.
Moving on to a group of superheroes I know, the Sask Young Leaders Committee. This committee works tirelessly to bring events and information to the SYL community. Although some of the usual events couldn’t be held this year, the brilliant minds that I have the privilege to work with came up with new events such as the Leadership Webinar series. Additionally, the SYL Awards will be presented soon, which showcases some superheroes from various credit unions that I alluded to above. The SYL Committee is one of the most rewarding things that I have been a part of. Getting to know these brilliant people has been amazing and puts my mind at ease that the future of the credit union system will continue to be in good hands. These individuals go above and beyond for their credit unions, their coworkers, and their communities on a daily basis, and do not get near the recognition that they deserve. They are the encouraging superheroes; always growing and always helping others reach their goals, without ever asking for anything in return.
Then there are the silent superheroes; family. Personally, I don’t know what I would do without my family, including my friends. In good times and bad, my friends are there for me whether I ask them for help or not and always willing to hang out and lend an ear. My mom constantly invites me for supper (and sends me home with leftovers), listens to my rants about my day, and provides advice and a shoulder to cry on in my darkest of days. My dad is there for me in a different way, as he is not much of a feelings kind of guy. He just genuinely likes to spend time with his sons; chatting and watching sports, and still comes to all of our baseball games to support us. My brother keeps me constantly entertained with his antics, stories, and snapchats, making me smile even when I’ve had a rough day. When I was younger, if you would’ve told me that my little brother would be my best friend one day, I would have said you were crazy; but here we are! I’d do anything for that kid and I know he would do the same for me. Finally, I have my very own Bruce Wayne. Whether I am in a good mood, bad mood, or just having one of those days, my dog is my rock. He’s seen me laugh, cry, have some of the best times of my life, and some of the worst. If I’m upset, he lays next to me and for some reason it makes me feel better. He brings me his toys as a way to distract my mind, and as much as he may drive me crazy sometimes, he always cheers me up with his expressions or his actions. He has such a fun, outgoing, and loving personality that you can’t help but smile when you’re around him.
So as you can see, some superheroes are hiding in plain sight. They don’t wear capes or have cool gadgets or drive cool cars, but they’re there every day making the world a little better place for those who are lucky enough to be in their lives. Take a minute to think about the superheroes in your life. Maybe you are a superhero for someone else and you don’t even know it! Sometimes the smallest acts can make the biggest difference in someone’s day. Superheroes are everywhere in this world. You just need to stop and look.
There has been an endless debate on which leadership quality is more important, experience or intelligence (IQ). After more than 25 years in leadership roles, I would argue that both qualities are essential, but are less important than a third quality – emotional intelligence. In fact, some studies have shown that emotional intelligence is the strongest predicter of performance and accounts for almost 90% of what sets high performers apart. The good news is that, just like any other skill, emotional intelligence can be learned and developed.
What is emotional intelligence (EQ)?
Emotional intelligence (sometimes referred to as emotional quotient or EQ) is the ability to understand emotions (both yours and others around you), and then manage your own emotions in positive ways to relieve stress, communicate effectively, empathize with others, make sound decisions, overcome challenges and defuse conflict.
Let me give you an example. Have you ever been in a meeting when it seems like everyone is talking over each other, trying to get the loudest or last word? This is not only a sign of egos taking over and a lack of respect for others; these are also tell-tale signs of a lack of EQ. On the other hand, when people are allowed to speak, and others listen, without constant interruptions, it’s a good sign of EQ at play. It shows a mutual respect and is more likely to lead to a constructive conclusion in meetings.
3 Steps to Developing EQ
EQ is often defined by four attributes, each of which is a skill that can be developed in order to improve your ability to manage emotions and connect with others. These skills are self-management, self-awareness, social awareness and relationship management. Developing EQ starts with gaining insight into which aspect of EQ we should work on. Some of us may have solid social skills but lack in self-management while others may be high on self-awareness but poor in relationship management.
1. Assessment – The first step is measuring where we stand on each of the EQ attributes. EQ tests or quizzes are widely available online, or if you’re seeking training in a professional setting, there will be materials provided to you for assessing your emotional intelligence. The scores from the tests signal which emotional skills we need to learn, and where do we stand as an emotionally aware human being.
2. Training – Assessment opens us to a range of training options. Depending on what part of emotional intelligence we need to work on, we can decide what sort of training would best suit us. There’s no shortage of resources to support the development of EQ, including professional coaches, online activities and exercises, online EQ tools, online worksheets and workbooks, programs, workshops, webinars and videos (e.g. TED Talks, YouTube and even movies).
3. Practice – The final and the most important step of developing EQ is incorporating training into real life. Like any other training, it’s only productive when implementing in real-life situations. The skills and techniques from training can be used when: (1) interacting with people at personal and professional levels; (2) understanding and labeling our own emotions; (3) expressing what we feel in a way that will not upset others; and (4) understanding others’ feelings while listening to them without judgment.
Humans vary greatly in the way we experience emotions. Even after practice and effort, you can’t control how you feel, but you can control your reactions to those feelings. For example, you’ll still get angry, but by developing a method to deal with that anger, you work to avoid hurting yourself (and others). And remember, while you might excel at your job technically, if you can’t effectively communicate or collaborate with others, especially in stressful situations, those technical skills will eventually get overlooked. By developing EQ, you’ll continue to advance your career and your personal relationships.
By Richard Schwan, Executive Vice President, Affinity Credit Union
A few years ago, I read an article  from Harvard Business Review (HBR) that altered my thought patterns and continues to make an impact on my daily life. It introduced me to my favourite muscle, resilience.
1. the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness.
2. the ability of a substance or object to spring back into shape; elasticity.
No, it doesn’t mean people with high resilience are always joyful and happy, a common misperception of the word. Instead, having resilience gives you the ability to not be so quick to label something that happens to you “good” or “bad”, but rather be quick to accepting what happened. Resilience is emotional elasticity at its finest.
The HBR article prompts you to alter your thinking and use the question “Good thing, bad thing, who knows?” when confronted with a situation. It allows you to self reflect and find a path of possibility. The more I’ve pondered this question when faced with situations over the years, the more strength I have in controlling my initial perception. Caution: it may cause you to become an eternal optimist and see the good in situations.
Check out this three-step process from HBR and reflect on a situation in your life where you could apply it:
Now I ask you…
Have you flexed your muscles today?
Creative Director | Saskatchewan Young Leaders
Weyburn Credit Union
A couple of months ago I attended a seminar where I had the privilege of hearing Darci Lang, motivational speaker and author, she spoke to us about focusing on the 90%, the 90% positive that is. Before I attended I really took time to stop and think how I spend a normal day wondering, how it looked for me and whether or not I was focusing on the 90%.
Much to my surprise (and I like to consider myself a pretty positive person) I was literally focusing more on the negative than the positive. All the “hiccups” in a day – work, kids and home life and getting caught up in all the bad, if you will. I really couldn’t wait to hear what Darci had to say about how I could start focusing on the 90%.
From the moment she started speaking I was hooked – but there was one line that struck me… “how are you looking at life and everyday challenges?!” That was it! It was how I was choosing to see things! I needed to make a shift and look through a different “lens.” I needed to stop focusing on all the “hiccups” so to speak in a day because it was consuming me, I needed to start focusing on all the positives in a day, and believe you me the positives truly do outweigh the negatives. As soon as you shift that perspective or change your “lens” it’s quiet amazing how much it can change your outlook on a day.
So, while I was thinking of a topic to share with everyone this month, I knew this was the one I needed to share, “Focus on the 90%.” With all that is going on in the world right now let’s challenge ourselves to focus on the 90% instead of the 10%, start spreading the positive outlook on life and view life through a different lens.
March 16, 2020
Dear SYL Community,
It is with heavy hearts that we announce that we are postponing all in-person SYL events, including Retreat and the Young Leaders Inspiration Awards. These events were set to take place May 26-28, 2020.
As our province and Credit Unions manage the ongoing threat of COVID 19, we want to be proactive in supporting the health and safety of everyone within our communities. Pending updates from Provincial and Federal health authorities, we will update our event details as the situation pans out.
Thank you so much for your continued support; we look forward to seeing you at our events once the situation has passed.
2020 Saskatchewan Young Leaders Committee