Credit Union People and the Third Eight
Did you know that during any given day you have eight hours at your disposal, to prioritize and fill?
The philosophy of the “third eight” was coined by Phil Smart Sr. In a 24-hour day, we try to work for eight hours and sleep for eight hours, but Phil believed that what we do with the remaining eight hours makes all the difference in the world. His example taught that when we give a slice of our time in the third eight to give back to our community, or help someone personally, the world is a better place.
Phil passed away several years ago and he is remembered as a stalwart of Seattle civic life. Phil volunteered at Children's Hospital for 46 years, visiting children in the rehabilitation unit on Wednesday nights and for 26 years showing up on Christmas mornings as “the real Santa Claus.”
Phil is a great example for credit union people to emulate. I met him in 2003 through a Chamber of Commerce leadership program. It was always apparent just how much joy he received through the service of others. For Phil, service was more than duty. He truly loved his kids and spent his third eight spending time in their hospital rooms, listening to and playing with them. Phil helped raise millions of dollars for Children's Hospital and he personally touched the lives of thousands of people.
Investing part of your third eight in selfless service is transformational. At first, providing selfless service and investing part of your third eight may seem like a big sacrifice. Do it anyway.
Life is busy, and the third eight may already seem stretched too thin. But over time, somewhere between the desire to get started and the love we find for the people we serve, we and our organization collectively are transformed.
I know personally that it is in walking this transformational path that we find the greatest meaning in life and real joy. While not the original intent, I have also seen a strong service culture transform credit union business models across the country, leading to greater growth and profitability.
Here's my question. What does the “service” in “not for profit, not for charity, but for service” mean to you? Is it the friendly customer service that has become commoditized, or does it run deeper than that?
There are many great examples of meaningful credit union service to follow. Chances are you may be one of these great leaders or, if not, you probably know of them. Some are large in profile, scope and impact, and big enough to consistently be in the headlines. Others are more personal and small in scope, flying under the radar, known only to a few close to the giver and the receiver. Either way, this service is meaningful and transformational.
Discover more meaning. If you are looking for more meaning in your own life, or you are trying to increase the relevancy of your credit union in your community, take a look around for any local needs that may require more attention.
This can be on a big scale, like ending hunger in your community, or it can be smaller and more personal. You can re-prioritize and reallocate your third eight. Serving others is not always easy in our crazy life, but I know that the blessings that come from consistent selfless service far outweigh any perceived sacrifice. Just do it; you and the people around you will smile more, and the joy you experience will be contagious. More people will want to collaborate with you, your team, and your community.
As a business model, history has taught us that the “not for profit, not for charity, but for service” is successful. Passionate pursuit of a higher level of service creates relevance, purposeful cultures, growth and sustainability.
After all, credit unions were formed to be more than a financial institution. Credit union pioneer Roy Bergengren summed it up best: “The real job of a credit union is to prove, in modest measure, the practicality of the brotherhood of man.”
Scott Butterfield is principal of Your Credit Union Partner in Sumner, Wash. He can be reached at (253) 507-2443 or scott@yourcredit unionpartner.com.