CUNA Marketing & Business Development Council Conference

Get Off the Conveyor Belt of Life

Inspirational performing artist offers three steps to find meaning and stop time.

March 9, 2012

Life is one big, crazy, busy conveyor belt packed with commitments and to-do lists.

And then we die.

But it doesn’t have to be that way, inspirational performing artist Victoria LaBalme told CUNA Marketing & Business Development Council Conference attendees Thursday.

She suggests taking a page from singer Bob Dylan, who once said, “The purpose of art is to stop time.”

Therefore, we should all stop taking a perverse pride in being stretched thin—“Somehow this has become a status symbol,” LaBalme says, “where people brag about how little sleep they get”—and instead turn our “busyness” into art.

Doing so requires three actions:

1. Look

Reconsider how you view business and personal opportunities. “What you look for you’ll find,” she says. “But you’ll miss other possibilities along the way because you missed the full spectrum.”

Likewise, focusing solely on typical credit union solutions to business problems will keep new ideas from springing up. “Look to other organizations for marketing ideas,” LaBalme advises.

Looking also includes finding your “through line,” the actress says. “Through line” is an acting term that refers to the forces behind a character’s actions. People can find their through lines by considering three questions:

  • If you were on a desert island and could provide only one piece of advice to a loved one, what would it be? The answer is what’s most important to you.
  • What’s the nobility behind your work? Why does it matter to you?
  • What are you the personal representative for? What do you want to be known for, and what do you represent?

2. Listen

President Calvin Cooledge once said, “no one ever listened himself out of a job.”

Taking the time to listen carefully—and not interrupting or “pouncing” after a moment of silence”—shows that you care about the person who’s talking.

3. Love

LaBalme watched from her New York City apartment on Sept. 11, 2001, as the Twin Towers fell. Three months later, she lost her mother to cancer. That taught her there’s no time to lose.

“Life is short—don’t waste time,” she urges. “What are you waiting for? When you love someone, time stops.”