The Choice Is Yours

February 6, 2014
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Article provided by: Codi Shewan, Everlearn Associates

January always brings about a sense of renewal, of fresh starts and new beginnings.  It generally also brings about a whole host of resolutions, many which have already fallen by the wayside.  February, as it is, is generally when the dust of the holiday season settles, routine reintroduces itself, and the New Year, actually begins.

This year, much like many others, funeral home operators globally will make a decision to do one of two things:

1)   Effect necessary change in their operations practices (read: Be proactive) or;

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2)   Leave it to chance (read: Force reactivity, when required).

Change.  Chance.  Two words, with only a single letter to differentiate the two, yet each can yield results that are worlds apart.

Funeral Service as a profession has long sat idly by, expecting what we’ve always done, to always work.  Many practitioners have realized that this simply doesn’t suffice anymore.  Our customer is changing.  For most of you reading this, there’s no ‘A-HA’ moment in either of these two facts.  You’ve recognized already that like every business, the funeral profession will continue to face new challenges, as the families we deal with continue to evolve as consumers and that the way they engage with us, the way they buy, how they choose to inform themselves, etc., is something that you have to be attuned to more now, than ever.


As the winter Olympics are nearly set to begin, athletes from all over the world prepare in the final countdown for their name to be called, as they step into the spotlight of their sport.  Years of training, dedication and passion all boil down down to the mere moments in takes for them to compete.  Forbes Magazine once reported that the average athlete trains 6-8 hours a day, 6 days a week.  If your calculate that by the 4 year span between games, that means that the average Olympian spends nearly 1900 hours a year focused on improving their abilities, and being the best in the world.  While much of this is routine repetition, it’s always with the intent to become better, each and every time.  Undoubtedly, they’re experts at what they do – and they’re considered experts because of the dedication and investment they continually put towards their passion.

I have made many friends over the years in this fine profession of funeral service, who are all exemplary in providing the very best service to families.  They’ve honed their craft and they continually improve not just by doing what they’ve always done, but hoping to – like the athlete – be the best there is.  Like the athlete, they know that’s not enough.  Pushing their limits, challenging the way they approach things and developing innovative strategies to always achieve even more excellence – these things that happen outside of their comfort zone – this, they know, is where the magic happens.

If we relate back to the example of the Olympian, the athlete who has proven their commitment to their sport and who demonstrates that passion through excellence – is the athlete a country will send to represent them.

As funeral professionals, ask yourself if the family you’re sitting with deserves to be dealing with an expert, or just someone who gets by – year after year – without investing in improving how they interact with and professionally serve them.  When is the last time you entered an arrangement room, sat down at the table and said quietly to yourself, “I’m an expert at what I do, and this family needs me to guide them on this path which I know better than most.”

Action breeds confidence, and confidence breeds’ success.  The action part is investing in being better and better at what you do.  The confidence is the byproduct of time, energy and commitment; and success – well, that’s what families will benefit from when the Olympian of funeral service – you – sit across from them and help them navigate through uncharted waters.

This year, be the professional who chooses ‘change’.  Change is evolutionary to some, and revolutionary to others.  Taking charge of ‘change’ never leaves your success to ‘chance’.

About the Author:

Codi Shewan, C.F.S.P., C.C.P.

Founder and President

Prior to EverLearn Associates, Codi was the National Manager of Training and Development for Arbor Memorial Services Inc. While with Arbor, he held various positions within the organization including; Chair, National Management Training; Managing Director; and Director. During his 14-year tenure with them, he held progressive positions and assumed Leadership roles in the last 5 years, respectively.

Codi is also a Professor at Humber College of Applied Arts and Technology, where he instructs the business curriculum in the Funeral Service Education Program.

Active in the funeral service community, he is the President of the College Boreal Funeral Service Advisory Board, and a Member-at-large of the Funeral Service Association of Canada’s Educational Committee.

In 2011, Codi was successful in obtaining the C.F.S.P designation, recognizing him as a Certified Funeral Service Practitioner, after having completed over 180 hours of continuing education, over four professional categories: Academic, Professional Activities, Career Review and Public Education & Service.  In 2010, he also completed and obtained the C.C.P. designation for professional coaching as a Certified Coach Practitioner.

Codi is a proud Alumni of the Funeral Service Education program at Humber College and is a member in good standing as a licensee of the Ontario Board of Funeral Services.

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