Have You Pooped today?
Over the past three years, I have had the privilege to volunteer with the Saskatchewan Co-operative Youth program and serve as sector staff at their annual Co-op Camp. The first ever camp that I staffed was the junior level, ages 11-12. I’ll admit, I was nervous being responsible for 35 kids at a remote camp in northern Saskatchewan for a week. What I didn’t factor in was how nervous the kids would be as for some; this was their first experience being away from home and a completely new environment.
In the beginning, there were the first day jitters. By day two, friendships had been formed and the participants were much more social, however, they seemed to be tired, lethargic and complaining of upset tummies. All symptoms of being home sick or nervous to try something new. Suddenly, I was met with a question asked by another staff with an audience of 35, “Steph, have you pooped today?”
This quickly became a moment of reflection for me and I instantly connected this experience to my day to day work and personal life and it all made sense. I took a moment to reflect on my response as I had a very impressionable audience. Then, it hit me. These kids haven’t pooped! That is why they are so tired and lacked energy and focus. They were not hydrated enough, and their nerves had them completely bound up. I replied, “Yup, this morning! Everyone needs to poop!” This of course was met with hysterical laughter. After a few hours, the participants continued to joke about it and there was a lot of talk about poop. This resulted in them not being embarrassed to go and the energy level soared.
By now you are probably wondering how this relates to self-development? We all have things that make us nervous or worried and can hold us back from new experiences. We are naturally inclined to fear change and disruption. When you are met with situations that make you feel stuck, unproductive, nervous or disengaged, you might just need to poop! In other words, discard the things or ideas that are weighing you down and approach new situations refreshed and inspired. This is always easier said then done, and sometimes it’s the simple fact of being able to identify contributing factors that you can then start to chip away at that helps find relief. This has had such a big impact on my own personal and professional development in my career in the credit union system. Even telling this story to a room full of professionals at the National Young Leaders conference helped me to get over my fear of public speaking. I thought I might poop right then and there but it turned into a moment of strength and the opportunity for me to leave my nerves at the door and absorb as much as I could from that experience. It resulted in some incredible networking opportunities and resources.
I’ll leave you now with two requests. First, when you are met with challenges, disruption and change, ask yourself, have I pooped today? You’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish when you are energized and fueled and leave behind the waste that weighs you down. Second, please remember to leave some toilet paper for the rest of us!
Stephanie Burkell SYL 2020 Vice Chair
Affinity Credit Union