Archive | August, 2011

honor code

15 Aug

From your experience, why has the Lord required an honor code at BYU?
This is what sets us apart from everyone else. This is why I’m here. This is why BYU has thrived in a world where everyone else settles. The honor code is BYU. What I love most about it though is that it is on your honor…we live it because we want to. Because we love it. Because we know it’s worth it. That choice, that reinforcement of agency, helps create people that are truly outstanding because they know what the laws of God mean to them.
They know that they want to live it, because it would have been so easy to just hang out until 12:30am that Tuesday night, but it made a difference to say no.
It would have been so easy to dress immodestly in the hot weather, but it made a difference to say no.
It would have been so easy to break the Word of Wisdom with your high school friends, but it made a difference to say no.
It would have been so easy to tolerate inappropriate language from your friends…or yourself…but it made a difference to say no.
This is the difference between Babylon and Zion, and it makes a difference to say yes.

What blessings have come into your life because of your obedience to the honor code?
The honor code are completely in accordance with the standards of the Church, and because it is so central to the lifestyle at BYU, it allows both members and non-members alike to uphold those standards in a consistent and valuable manner. It has strengthened my testimony of the Church because it reinforces what the Church teaches, and that consistency has allowed me to see the eternal significance of obedience.


divine-centered leadership

15 Aug

I just discovered that I never actually published these, I just kept them as drafts…good thing I checked. Probably should have checked sooner though. Oops.

How can the love which you reflect, reflect to volunteers?
Most people in BYUSA have different reasons and motivations for being here, but the overarching theme of not just this organization, but this university, is Christlike love. The entire reason I am here for others is to develop and share charity. I can reflect this to my volunteers by actively working with them, not just setting them on their own, and being an example of a Christlike leader.
The love I am reflecting is not my own, but is the love of Christ. It is the entire reason I am here. This organization and this university will always be infinitely bigger than me. I am not here to change them, but they are here to change me. In order to reflect the love that founded this school and BYUSA, I must embrace the vision and mission of each and understand why it is so vital for them to exist. Once I can understand those purposes, I will adopt a true love for the people, the children of God, who pass through this campus and this office.
My biggest challenge this year will probably be learning to communicate effectively, and this is the first place I need to start practicing. If I can communicate that love for Christ as well as the love of Christ through service and actions, then I can better learn how to communicate other messages in other media as well. That’s my goal, at least.

How can I be a more divine-centered leader of leaders?
I’ve been focusing lately on trying to make more decisions by prayer, not just in my own life, but with BYUSA as well. One of the things I’ve really been focusing on lately is better understanding what this actually means, and I received a really great understanding once I started trying to apply this principle:
I am not just a leader of leaders because I am in charge of people who have great leadership skills. Being a leader of leaders is recognizing that those who you lead are incredible people and that you can learn great things from them. It is being humble enough to learn from those you lead, and even follow them at times. It will never ever ever be all about me. It will never ever ever be even a little bit about me. It’s completely about them.
To me, this is what it means.
To Christ, it was never about Him.
It was about the people He loved, and for me, it will be about the people I know my Heavenly Father loves. Even if I don’t know how to love them, He does.


5 Aug

I chose very personal goals, because I figured that this was the best way that I could make a difference one day at a time.

1. Identify one specific action item you will implement to improve the five core dimensions of empowerment for BYUSA & Communications.
Self-efficacy (competence): I will know everything about BYUSA Advertising and be able to answer every question or know where to find the answer. I will do my job the absolute best that I can.
Self-determination (choice): I will choose each day to have a positive attitude, no matter what is going on.
Personal consequence (impact): I will serve one person every day.
Meaningfulness (value): I will create an environment of growth and improvement and effectiveness and faith.
Trust (security): I will complete all assignments on time/early.

2. Develop a methodology or tool that will help you measure your success in each of those action items, explain what it is and how/when you will follow up on your progress with your coordinator and team.
Self-efficacy (competence): I will count how many times I have to say “I don’t know” each week. I will make it a priority to find answers to questions I do not know within 24 hours.
Self-determination (choice): I will be happy and strive to uplift those around me. I will make OTHERS a priority. I will always believe in myself and what I am doing and why I am here.
Personal consequence (impact): At the beginning of each day, and throughout the day, I will pray to know who I can help. I will look for opportunities to improve someone’s day. I will especially look for those who seem like they could use a helping hand or a friendly smile.
Meaningfulness (value): In every meeting, I will be positive and efficient. I will strive to keep the Spirit in the room at all times. I will encourage questions and challenges and collaboration and ideas.
Trust (security): I will submit all blog posts before they are due. I will complete a list of assignments each day to ensure that all deadlines are being met. I will use Basecamp to check on the progress of every project to make sure that my ACs are not having a hard time. If they are, I will work with them to bring everyone back up to speed.

Following up with all of these goals will be important because they will take time and patience on my end, which is not guaranteed by any stretch of the imagination. Haha. I want to check in at each stewardship to ensure that I am meeting these, but I think I can most effectively gauge my progress by evaluating my relationship with each person in my area. If I can constantly work happily and effectively with them, then I know that I am doing all that I can to maintain a positive environment.


5 Aug

Prepare. Pounce. Present.

The skill I chose to work on was judgment.
I can be really horrible about judging in a few different ways, so I knew it would be perfect to work on for me.
1. I judge situations before I have all the facts.
2. I judge others on their ability to work with me in any issue.
3. I judge myself critically, which often leads to me not believing in myself.

It’s funny how once you learn something, you start seeing it everywhere. Over the last week especially, I have seen conflict in so many different forms, many of which I had never realized existed before.

I chose to read the talk “Developing Good Judgment and Not Judging Others” by Elder Gregory A. Schwitzer, given in the April 2010 General Conference. I learned a lot of really great things that helped me gain perspective when dealing with conflict.

His opening story was especially inspiring, and helped me with the first issue: judging situations.

“The story is often told of the time when Jesus visited the home of Mary and Martha, who lived in Bethany with their brother, Lazarus. It was a welcome place for the Master, where He could rest and enjoy the surroundings of a righteous home. During one of His visits, Martha was busy preparing a meal and Mary elected to sit at the Master’s feet to receive His instruction…”But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? … And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.”

I feel like that could say, “Karen, Karen, thou art careful and troubled about many things…” I worry about everything, good or bad, big or small. But the advice that the Savior gives is that one thing is needful, “and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.”
There is much to be learned from conflict for every person involved. The situation is almost never as grave as I initially deem it. This week I learned to stop worrying so much about things that seem horrible in the moment, because in less than two hours, office hours will be over, and life will go on. Yes, the work still needs to be done, but there will always be work to be done. That will never change. Each example of conflict is only one situation, and if I can solve it, then great! If not, then life will go on. The way I see it, so far, everything has worked out. Why should I expect for the future to continue differently?

Yesterday I ran into a problem with one of my ACs. I tried not to stress out about it, but the dread inevitably came and I became worried that things might not work out the way that I would like them to. In the same day that one of my ACs told me he would not be returning, I was blessed with interest from two other people in being an AC. I didn’t have all the facts about the situation before I started worrying, but it all worked out anyway, in fact, it worked out better than I would have hoped.

The next story Elder Schwitzer tells is about when Christ taught Martha about the Resurrection, and her powerful testimony is shared. He says the following about this judgment incurred in the scriptures,
“Many a sister has often heard the first story and wondered if she were a Mary or a Martha, yet the truth lies in knowing the whole person and in using good judgment. By knowing more about Martha, we find she was actually a person of deep spiritual character who had a bold and daring testimony of the Savior’s mission and His divine power over life. A misjudgment of Martha may have caused us not to know the true nature of this wonderful woman.”

I am AWESOME about making snap judgments of people I don’t know and then acting on them. I won’t be rude or snippy, but I might be condescending with my opinion or less trusting of their input. I don’t allow myself to learn from everyone around me very readily.

I have had two experiences this week that have forced me to open myself up to others and to let them into my life, hasty judgments and all. On Monday night I had a conversation with someone who was able to see the bigger picture. I had another similar conversation with the same person tonight. Both experiences were overwhelming in the amount of goodness, strength and knowledge that I felt and gained. But what would have happened if I had not trusted her? Would I have ever asked for her help in solving my problem? What if my initial judgments about her had been negative and had interfered with my ability to get to know “the true nature of this wonderful woman?” The more time I spend in BYUSA, the more I completely believe that there is something to learn from every single person you meet. I have to suspend those judgments that mean nothing and are completely selfish in order to allow myself to be blessed by those interactions.

Finally, I am very guilty of judging myself critically. Elder Schwitzer says, “Good judgment is needed not only in understanding people but also in facing decisions that often lead us to or away from our Heavenly Father. As I look back over my own personal life, I can see many instances in which a slight change of course based on poor judgment would have led me far from where the Lord wanted me to be—decisions like having a family while obtaining an education, being active in all aspects of the gospel, paying tithes and offerings when income was severely limited, and accepting callings at difficult times, which helped me to understand more about sacrifice. Many blessings in life are missed because worldly judgment was applied to what was really a spiritual decision.”

He offers four guidelines that I tried to employ this week, and that I will continue to work on. I have noticed so many opportunities for growth just from following these four principles.

1. Put your own personal standards in alignment with the gospel of Jesus Christ.
2. Listen to the messages of the living prophet.
3. Cultivate with the Holy Spirit a relationship of listening.
4. Keep the commandments.

In doing what I know I am supposed to be doing, there comes a confidence that is unmatched in power. When I do all that I can to invite and maintain the Spirit, I can recognize my own potential and do what I know I need to do. The hardest part for me was realizing that when I am doing what I should, there is no need to criticize myself. Sometimes it seems like the tasks given me are not bold or pretty or fun or inspiring, but my perceived quality of the task should have no influence whatsoever on the way that I accomplish it. The Lord knows what He needs me to do, and if it’s enough for Him, then it’s enough for me.

Most of all I learned that conflict is healthy, especially because it stretches the soul and expands the mind. It allows you to be flexible in your growth and reinforce your convictions. There is a lot of good to be found in seemingly awful places, but in order to find it, judgment must be suspended.

I taught this principle to my sister as she was struggling with one of her future roommates. She seems really weird and freaky, but I tried to tell her that there is no way she will be able to have a good experience and be friends with her if that is the only perception she is willing to adopt. We had a great discussion about being less judgmental towards others, and it really helped me to define what I had learned by exercising good judgment instead of self-serving and easy judgment.