How Stress Is Holding You Back From Executing On Your Credit Union Strategic Plan


How can we remove stress from our life so we can enjoy it more? I’ve often pondered that question for myself and my team, but after listening to the story of Alia Crum on a recent Hidden Brain episode, I realized I’ve been asking the wrong question. I’ve been trying to play it safe and keep myself and my team in our comfort zone. Credit union leaders, tell me if this sound familiar when executing on your credit union strategic plan.

Alia’s story starts in the student computer lab in the basement of the psychology department at Yale. The lone person there, stressing over the content of an upcoming dissertation she heard footsteps and dreaded the thought of lost time over conversation with whoever was coming down the hall. It was the head of IT in the psychology department, and as soon as he opened the door, he could tell she was stressed and not up for conversation. “Just a cold, dark night on the side of Everest,” he said and then shut the door. It wasn’t until weeks later that Alia realized what those odd words meant.

Cold, dark nights on Mount Everest are just what you experience if you are climbing that mountain. It is what it is. For those wanting to climb that mountain, it is something you experience. You cannot change it. And if you’re driven to climb that mountain you adopt a mindset that helps you cope with that cold dark night.

Alia’s work has centered around stress and how we react to it. First, stress is defined as the experience or anticipation of a threat or adversity in your goal-related efforts. Two things to unpack about stress to better understand how our mindset reacts, and therefore how we react. First is that stress usually comes in anticipation of a threat or adversity. Most important to understand though is that stress is connected to our goal-related efforts, like in strategic planning. If you care about something, stress will come.

“The term we use in our research is mindset. Mindset is quite literally a setting of the mind that orients an individual to a particular set of associations and expectations. We can hold mindsets about lots of different things, and the mindsets we choose matter for outcomes,” Alia said in a recent interview.

So, what’s the takeaway from Alia’s story on Hidden Brain? “Our research also suggests that stress (and other) mindsets can be changed. People can be taught to adopt a stress-is-enhancing mindset and reap the positive consequences including improved health and work performance.” Easier said than done, but certainly doable.

As a leader, stress is something we’ve signed up for … if we care. There’s just no way around it. Alia’s work can teach us that stepping back and pausing for a moment is helpful to gain clarity to focus on why you’re executing on your credit union strategic plan and making the tough calls. In those moments we feel stressed, we have the opportunity for personal growth, not in spite of stress, but because of it.

“If we are mindful of our mindsets about stress — and of the potential power of such mindsets — it may be possible to learn how to stress better. And to appreciate the real value in those cold, dark nights on the side of Everest.” – Alia Crum

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Reh Harvey

Vice President of Digital Strategy

Reh Harvey, our Vice President of Digital Strategy, leads with diligence and fervor. Having previously been a member of Team YMC, he is excited to return to such an amazing culture and even more amazing people (his words)! Through his experience in the marketing world, he’s found the key to success is to stay on the cutting edge and to always keep evolving.
Although originally drawn to marketing for its lack of math, Reh now finds himself doing more math than he would’ve bargained for. But his self discipline and positive attitude make it easy for him to laugh and take it in stride. Hoping to one day visit Japan and enjoy some premium Sushi, Reh lives life by his creed: Be a good human. Do good work. And above all, just keep going.

Hailey Madej

Graphic Designer

As YMC’s in-house Graphic Designer, Hailey possesses an eye for detail and a drive to innovate. It’s no surprise though since being creative runs in the family! Inspired from an early age by her mom’s work as a Graphic Designer, Hailey is a seasoned expert whose talents bring vitality and accessibility to every project. As a UX/UI designer, she expertly blends the intuitive and the creative for all to enjoy.
In addition to the occasional freelance project, Hailey also lends her abilities to supporting art initiatives within her community, such as the Belleville Mural Project. Her favorite aspect of joining the YMC team is the friendly, uplifting culture and breadth of design tasks. When it comes to marketing, she believes in pushing boundaries and maybe breaking some rules to capture her audience’s attention. Her advice to those just starting out? “Always seek quality over quantity.”

Dexter Ochoa

Development Assistant

When it comes to blending logical thinking and creative problem solving, Dexter’s abilities are undeniable! Beginning his career as a Web Developer, he’s no stranger to the wide world of Marketing and Advertising. Calling Biñan City in the Philippines home, Dexter has a burning desire to visit the Alpine peaks and valleys of Switzerland. While that journey may be far off, he is still no stranger to international travel. While visiting Japan, he was able to enjoy his favorite delicacy: Sushi and Sashimi. He also learned unexpected facts about Japanese Yen, specifically that it has special markings for the blind to know its value!

Living life by his motto to “Do good even if the world is unfair,” Dexter would also advise his younger self, “It’s hard, but you’re doing good!” Whether he’s enjoying a cup of coffee in the morning or the occasional Pale Pilsen in the evening, Dexter is eager to work with the talented professionals of YMC, and we’re just as eager to add his talent to the team as well! His marketing words of wisdom? “Be creative, and just do what you want!”

Andrew Wyche


Hailing from the NC state capital (that’s Raleigh if you didn’t know), Andrew is YMC’s Copywriter extraordinaire. That’s why he knows that “The verb form of ‘reconnaissance’ is ‘reconnoiter.’ The former is, strictly speaking, a noun.” Seriously, he knows his words and he’ll use those words to get bold and weird (in a good way) with his copy. Fuelled by a love for pasta, shellfish, a good single malt, or a meal consisting of all three, Andrew navigates life with a motto engraved in his heart: “Choose kindness. Always.” It is this guiding principle that has led him to explore the realm of marketing, driven by a desire to connect with people in meaningful ways. As he continues to chase his dreams, one bucket list item stands out above the rest – a pilgrimage to Scotland. With his heart set on adventure and his pen poised for creativity, Andrew’s journey is far from over.

Alex VanHaasteren

Senior Web Developer

Alex is YMC’s Senior Web Developer and, as the title suggests, she is an absolute pro! While she initially started in graphic design – working long and hard to expertly bring concepts to life – she also felt drawn to technology and applying her natural ability to problem solve. Web Development proved the perfect blend of her creative passion and technical savvy.

When Alex is out with friends – including her YMC colleagues – she’s up for Greek cuisine or some good pulled pork BBQ washed down with Diet Coke. Or an Old Fashioned, if the occasion demands. Someday, she hopes to go to Africa on a safari. Hopefully she’ll see a giraffe in the wild, because – as she’s pointed out – its neck is too short to reach the ground!

When she isn’t jamming out to T-Swift, she’s happy to impart some marketing words of wisdom, “Aim to create something unforgettable.” For day-to-day inspiration, she would remind you of two fundamental truths: You decide your happiness, and Ice cream is its own food group—not just a dessert.

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