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Dec 01 2018
Dare to Achieve!
Erik Wright, CBF, Spectrum Engineers

Perhaps many of us have had one of those moments in our lives that has inspired us to make a needed change. Oftentimes these pivotal moments are when we turn a negative event or circumstance into a positive experience that we learn and grow from. If you haven't had one of those moments, surely you will.

One of these instances came to me about 15 years ago shortly after an unforgettable meeting I had with my company's CEO who had just broken the news to me that our firm had acquired a competitor and that my position was going to be eliminated and replaced with the new company's department head.

This unfortunate event happened to be the catalyst in my life that motivated me to find the necessary courage, to not be fearful or complacent, to challenge myself, and to be more engaged in my work. I committed myself to look for opportunities, pursue them, and to not let them pass me by. By trying to live up to this commitment, I have found that there are positive side effects. Self-confidence and resilience are the natural rewards that come from being willing to step out of your comfort zone.

The credit field is one that requires plenty of hard work and dedication, and for most of us, we could not think about pursuing any other career. The simple fact is we all take pride in our work and our profession. Our desire to be the best credit professionals we can be leads us to seek our professional designations, then, it encourages us to mentor and instruct others to obtain them. I'm inspired by Susan Lujan who stated, "the biggest accomplishment in my education is when I share what I have learned." Isn't it true that we generally learn and gain more for ourselves when we help others to succeed? Our objective should be simply: learn, contribute, learn, and contribute more. Whether we contribute back to NACM by helping others to obtain their designations, by participating in a committee or industry groups, or by teaching a class or giving a presentation of what we have learned, not only do we benefit personally, but it can also benefit our industry and ultimately our employers can profit from it. As we learn and contribute, we grow and develop professionally.

Dare to Achieve! That really should be every credit managers' motto. It means to have courage to try and venture to carry out your goals to receive the results of your exertion. To achieve anything of significance, you accomplish it usually through a gradual progression of trials and errors. NACM has laid a road-map that has enabled us to establish realistic goals that will help us become the credit professional that we imagine we can be. Over the past few years I have been actively engaged in my preparation for the CCE exam. And like for many of us, this has taken me down a challenging road which has occupied much of my free time with class work, homework, case studies, and exams. This has made receiving my CBA, and my CBF designations more worthwhile. Recently, I sat in on the CCE exam and gained a greater appreciation for this designation. It's not easy - but since when is something easy worth anything? I'm now confronted with another challenge - taking the exam again! Do I dare do it? I have never wanted it as bad as I do now - never before has it meant as much.

DARE yourself and you can get further in your business, get the designation that you've wanted, learn to become a better credit professional without fear. What people who dare have come to recognize is that life begins at the end of their comfort zone and that there is no reward and pleasure in playing safe and small.

Let us change our perspective and realize that playing it safe is also a risk and it can be our biggest gamble of all. Not taking any chances is as much a decision as taking that first step toward a change.

Dare to break free from old patterns, limiting beliefs, habits and bad experiences. If you don't pass a designation exam this time, don't let it discourage from taking it again. Create new ways, form new empowering habits and a new paradigm for your life. Just do it!

The road-map toward contentment, happiness, and success, like the road-map to our professional designations is challenging, which can make it intimidating yet very rewarding. The outcome however, like the natural rewards of stepping out of our comfort zone, is that even the journey offers a wide range of benefits. But most importantly, by earning our designations we receive a heightened professional recognition that truly attests to our abilities, knowledge, and experience; all the more important in this challenging time.