14 September 2009

The Thing About Tough Decisions...

Eight years ago, my wife (my girlfriend at the time) and I drove to Johnson City, Tennessee to pick up the new love of our lives. She was cute as a button -- even better than we had expected from the pictures -- although she was still getting used to her body. Some body parts were way too big. Most were way too small. The combination was absolutely adorable.

This precious gift was an 8-week old English Bulldog we named Leota.

For the next seven years she went everywhere with us. She was the content back-seat driver for thousands of miles as my wife and I tried to maintain our long-distance relationship (for two years I lived in Richmond, Virginia, while my wife studied for her Master’s degree at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, NC). She was the flower girl at our wedding. She was our biggest responsibility, and our greatest source of pride. She was our first “child.”

Last week, we sent Leota to live with my wife’s cousin in Greensboro. Just like that. An hour and a half drive east, and the Leota chapter in our life was over.

I won’t waste much of your time discussing the reasons behind our decision, but we are confident that we did what was right for the parties involved: Leota, our son, my wife’s cousin, and our unborn son who is due in January. Right or wrong, it still hurts. It’s uncomfortable to make decisions like this. It’s tough to admit that your baby is better off with someone else...and that, perhaps, you would be better off as a result.

How many credit union executives, organizations, and volunteers are struggling with similar situations? At what point do you decide that your “baby” (project, trade association, credit union, seat on a board, business model, etc.) would be better off with someone else? New eyes. New ideas. New passions. Fewer preconceptions. Could a better life lie ahead for all parties concerned?

Uncomfortable decisions are much easier to put off until tomorrow, but who are you harming by doing so?

We wanted Leota to have a better life. We wanted our sons to have a better life. We found the perfect caretaker to help us make this happen.

How should you approach your little piece of the credit union movement?


Denise Wymore said...


Once again an amazing and thoughtful post.

I've made friends of mine promise to tell me when I've outworn my welcome. When it's time for me to move on - and that's not just when I'm at their house for dinner, the dishes are done, the vodka is empty and the sun is starting to come up......

I mean when I've nothing new to say. When I start more sentences with "Well, back in MY day...." then I do "You know what would be kinda cool?"

When I defend the past more than I'm wiling to fight for the future. The first time I say "Kids nowadays..." with scorn rather than awe.

Or when I'm old and in a wheelchair with oxygen tank in tow and still trying to dye my hair three colors. That's when I need friends to say.......it's time to shut 'er down.

And you know who you are.....Cheers!

Matt, the Credit Union Warrior said...

@Denise I read with great interest the news story about Dan Mica's retirement announcement. He mentioned a suggestion by a colleague that no one should spend more than ten years in the same role or position. That makes a ton of sense to me. I think most of us can provide much more benefit to ourselves and our employers if constantly look for new challenges. A new perspective can be an amazing addition to any organization...or psyche.

Andy Janning said...

You nailed this, as did Denise. Everyone has to know when it's time to move on. If you don't define it, it will be defined for you - and quite rudely and abruptly, in all likelihood. Hanging onto the past is easy. Creating a new future is much scarier, yet much more rewarding.

Now, can you send this to Brett Favre?

wazaroff said...

Lovely post Matt, thanks for that!

Denise Wymore said...

@Andy - Exactly.

When Brett first announced his retirement - 8 times ago now - it was met with sadness and reverence. Celebrations were set into motion. Plaques engraved. Numbers retired......and then.........I'm back! WTF?

Now its awkward and embarrassing. And when the day finally comes, he'll just slip out the back door. Maybe that's how he wanted it. But what a shame to have the final chapter in an otherwise incredible career be something we laugh about on The Soup - rather than the tearful video montage on ESPN.

Matt, the Credit Union Warrior said...

@Andy - It's funny. One of my earliest posts on the blog was about Brett Favre's original retirement (2007) http://creditunionwarrior.blogspot.com/2008/03/what-credit-unions-can-learn-from-brett.html. His antics have made me lose a lot of respect for him. My take, though, is that as long as he can contribute and wants to play, so be it. He was one play away from sending the Jets to the playoffs last year, and should have a shot of making it to a Super Bowl this year. I won't cheer as loudly for him as I once did, but I'm still rooting for him.

@William Thanks, friend!

@Denise Again, I've lost a ton of respect for Favre over the past few years...but one thing strikes me about his moves as it relates to tough decisions. He had to have known that the public would not be very receptive to yet another drama-filled comeback. Favre said "screw it. I want to play, I can play, and I have found a team that I can help win." Sometimes making tough decisions means making one that you know others don't want you to make, one that involves the most personal risk. I respect that. I'm tired of his drama, but who am I? Say what you will about Favre, he's not afraid of making a tough decision.