A few months ago I had the pleasure of visiting Boston for the first time. Not having ever been to Boston, I chose to hit the streets and begin my aimless pursuit of a mug of Boston's finest.
As I was strolling through Boston Common dodging historic monuments, I spotted a face on a giant stone that at first glance looked vaguely familiar. It was that of Edward Filene, who played a major role in underwriting efforts to organize the country's first credit unions. Being the sentimental credit union gal that I am, I had a "moment" there in the middle of Boston Common's Great Square staring into the soulful eyes of Mr. Filene. I remembered an important quote that I keep at my desk that he once said: "The door to success is always labeled push." I have to admit that the quote has kept me from running out the building a time or two and makes me think of all the different types of doors I've had to push my way through lately.
* Automatic Doors: Sometimes things are just too good to be true like when you get approval for a community charter. You think, "I've got it made. Members will flock to my doorstep." Nope. That was just the first door.
* Drawbridge Doors: This happens when you arrive back at the doorstep of your neglected sponsor company, and you need someone from the inside to let you in.
* Trap Doors: This happens when you go to your boss and ask for more money to buy more media advertising and he wants to know the return on investment.
* Elevator Doors: This happens when decisions you make right now determine whether or not your credit union's future is looking up or is falling to the basement.
* Doggy Doors: Unfortunately, you learn little lessons and find that the doors you worked so hard to push you wish you could crawl back through to the other side.
Was Mr. Filene right? To really find success in our highly competitive environment, we do have to push ourselves, our management teams, our boards and each other. Yes, I'm pushing my way through many doors, Mr. Filene. It has been a push kind of year. I have to admit that from time to time it seems that the hinges on those doors gain a little rust and hurricane force winds seem to want to keep them closed. But if there's anything I've learned in my career in the credit union cooperative spirit it's that if you really want to open a door get a bunch of CU friends and just push together. But I must say it really helps when we're all on the same side of the door.
Kelley Parks is with Call FCU in Richmond, Va., and can be reached at kparks<at>callfcu.org.