A child who wanted nothing to living in poverty. A successful student to a college dropout. A call center representative to a CEO of a credit union.
Ronaldo Hardy has experienced them all during his life. And all were moments that shaped who he is today.
“As we’re navigating our journey, we miss moments on that journey because we are fixated on the shoes that are getting us there,” says Hardy, president/CEO of $104 million asset Southwest Louisiana Credit Union in Lake Charles. “We each have a unique journey, and it’s important to identify that uniqueness and appreciate the uniqueness of the journey.”
Looking back at his own journey, Hardy shared three lessons that he learned during the CUNA Young Professionals Conference Friday in Madison, Wis.:
1. Life is unpredictable. Growing up, Hardy says his parents had good jobs, and he and siblings never wanted anything. That changed when his parents decided to enter the ministry, and the family was living in poverty. He also focused on school and earned a college scholarship, but never planned on having to drop out of school to work full time to pay off maxed-out credit cards.
“We can make all of these plans,” he says. “But life is unpredictable. I’ve learned to never squander a moment because everything can change in an instant.”
2. Failure is not the opposite of success. It is part of success. After dropping out of college, Hardy says his self-esteem plummeted and he couldn’t see his path to success. He was fearful of living a life that was beneath the potential he thought he had. He thought he’d never find financial stability, never get married and have a family, never finish college, and live a life beneath his potential.
“A lot of times we can never succeed because we are so afraid to fail,” he says. “We are restricted by that fear of failure.”
3. Fear can fuel you or finish you. It’s your choice. Instead of continuing to let fear rule his life, Hardy choose to put in the work and turn his disadvantages into advantages. He put in the work and worked his way from a call center representative to supervising the call center’s team leaders. He went back to school and earned two degrees, met his wife, started a family, and obtained his first position as a credit union CEO.
“Draw from the experiences you’ve had on your journey and let that fuel you,” he says. “Sometimes we don’t get to where we want to go because it takes sacrifice.”
Taking these lessons into account, Hardy says winning—or success—happens when people:
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