How To Use Fear As A Credit Union Leader

yellow character sweating with gray fear folder

I often share just how badly fear can hold you and your credit union back from its fullest potential. Fear can lead you to pivot from your credit union’s strategic plan, make poor decisions, or worse: no decision at all.

What if you could channel your fear to your advantage?

A friend of mine recommended a book called, The Gift of Fear, by Gavin De Becker. It was a fascinating book, and nothing like I anticipated it would be. But one line stuck with me that is worth sharing with fellow leaders:

“If you can’t imagine it, you can’t prevent it.”

The ancient philosopher Seneca wrote, “The unexpected blows land heaviest.” This is a thought with which I challenge many of my clients as we work through their credit union’s strategic plan. I use this example:

Let’s say it’s October 2019, and I tell you that you have 24 hours to close your branches completely. At that point in history, you would have called me crazy and given me every reason under the sun why it would take months or years to do such a thing, if even at all. Then COVID struck and most likely you did indeed shut your branches down on a day or two’s notice.

One hot topic of conversation in strategic planning this year is what happens if your fee income goes away. It’s either met with a great discussion on the potential scenarios or, “That will never happen.” Questions like this can be scary and exacerbate fear, but if channeled properly without overreacting (or burying your head in the sand) you can be prepared when the unthinkable comes calling.

I would urge you to debate the heavy topics and expect the unexpected in your next credit union strategic planning session. Position your credit union to avoid the heavy blows by making the big decisions. Seneca was right: Those are the blows that land the heaviest and are the costliest to you personally and to your organization.

Make The Big Decisions

Let's Get Started!
Get Started!

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.

Download Teal Paper!
Download Teal Paper!
Download Teal Paper!
Download Teal Paper!
Download Teal Paper!
Download Teal Paper!
Download Teal Paper!