Hold out your hand: Lessons from Brandi Carlile

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Many of us in the Pacific Northwest have known and loved Brandi Carlile for years. When she won big at the 2019 Grammys and stole the show with her stunning performance of The Joke more of the world took notice. As a longtime fan, I constantly replay my favorite Brandi songs. When my husband asks if we can listen to something else, I go to Brandi’s channel on Pandora and still get the eye roll. Don’t get me wrong, my husband loves her too and says her live performances rock your world, he just likes a bit more music diversity.

In every live performance, you can see that she’s rooted in the moment. An impassioned storyteller, Brandi sings her heart out, bringing her fans with her. As she soars, we’re left feeling so lucky to be alive at that moment in time. Her book, Broken Horses, reveals someone who is humble, authentic and on a genuine mission to give back. Big on collaboration and making connections, she joyfully shines the spotlight on others on her social media feeds.

This summer, when I saw all the clips of Brandi Carlile getting Joni Mitchell back on stage to play a full set for the first time in more than 20 years, so many lessons became imprinted in my mind. Here are a few.

Be Present

You can feel when someone is distracted. Your team knows if you’re distracted in a meeting. Members know when you’re distracted while helping them open an account or perform a transaction. Being present is a choice. It requires letting go of the internal dialogue and it takes practice. When I’m in the audience at a Brandi Carlile show I feel she’s there for me. I’m certain of it.

Foster Collaboration

As a Grammy winning artist, Brandi chooses collaboration and connection. She is a force for good: from helping Tanya Tucker make a comeback and Joni Mitchell get back on stage, to countering a male dominated music format by launching Girls Just Wanna Weekend with an all-female line up. What great lessons for our credit union movement. How can credit unions make a bigger impact by building connections with others? Where are the collaboration opportunities in our communities and at our SEGs? Maybe your mission is elevating financial well-being, helping members afford daily life and achieve their dreams. Why not team up with other wellness providers at your SEGs or mental health professionals to elevate overall well-being? Are there new mediums to educate your membership? The opportunities to collaborate are everywhere. Find the ones that help live your mission.

Be a Mentor

To me, Brandi is the ultimate mentor. She is consistently bringing in new talent to her shows and the result for these artists is life changing. What are we doing to mentor, advise, encourage, and nurture growth of employees new to our industry or those looking to explore new opportunities? Let’s make time for them, even seek them out. It might be one of the most rewarding things you ever do.

Cheer with genuine joy

When Brandi is onstage with another artist, the pure joy she expresses is like a 10-year-old seeing their idol they’ve had on a pedestal their entire life. She cheers them on and gives them so much credit. It makes me think about who we choose to shine the spotlight on. In meetings, are you complimenting and cheering on your coworkers who accomplish goals? Are you an advocate and cheer those who are taking risks, even when making mistakes along the way? Genuine joy is one of the sweetest gifts you can give someone.

Tell Stories

I believe one of the reasons Brandi’s shows are so magical is because she tells the stories behind her songs. She brings them to life. The songs are more meaningful because we now recognize and see ourselves somewhere within them. Become a story collector of how our products and services have made a difference. Then share them to help members find the best path forward. Help them feel like they are part of something bigger than themselves, a cooperative financial movement that is striving to achieve financial well-being for all. I feel connected to Brandi because of her extraordinary storytelling ability. We can do the same and foster that feeling of genuine connection with our members too.

If you’re not yet a fan of Brandi Carlile, hit up one of her shows. I promise it will rock your world. If you’re a raving fan like me, I’ll see you the week of January 9th in Mexico at Brandi’s Girls Just Wanna Weekend!