Archive | September, 2011

servant leadership

29 Sep

In your own words, briefly describe the “servant leadership” model we discussed in class.
There are three quotes/concepts that stood out from the lesson that define servant leadership for me.
“Never ask people to do things that you yourself wouldn’t be willing to do.”
“Remember that the mantle of leadership is not the cloak of comfort but rather the robe of responsibility.” – Thomas S. Monson
“Care less about what others think of you and more about what others think of themselves.” – Stephen R. Covey
The influence that I can have in this world is directly related to the amount of good that I put in it. Leadership is not about being comfortable. It is about being humble enough to know and admit when you are wrong and strong enough to take a stand when necessary. It is about seeing a person as they could be, not who they are today. It is about two-way trust and a deeper meaning in all things. It is about being aware. It is the least convenient, most difficult, and most meaningful form of service. How lucky am I that I get to practice it every day??

Identify someone with whom you have been personally acquainted and who exemplifies the concept of servant leadership. Briefly describe the leadership/life style of this person(s).
The first person I thought of was my mother. Over the last few years, when she has described her role as essentially being a single parent, she has always put other people first. She has two children still at home, as well as my father, who is not always able to take care of himself, and she is completely selfless.
She never buys new clothes for herself. She only buys new shoes when every pair she owns is completely worn through. She makes sure that everyone else has eaten before she eats dinner. She consistently takes care of others before she takes care of herself. In high school, I had several friends who came over to hang out with my mom rather than me because they loved talking to her so much, and that was because she is so invested in other people.
Her character as a servant leader has made her the most incredible mother, Church member, and teacher. She can always find some way to help someone, even when they don’t communicate specific needs.

Some argue that a servant leader will not have much success in his/her career because they will give too much attention to others and too little consideration of their own professional advancement. How would you counter this argument?
The strong relationships they develop by giving attention to others is more beneficial in terms of professional advancement in the long run than anything else could be. People are more important than work, and by being genuine and making other people know how important they are, the networks that the servant leader make become solid and resourceful. Although that is not the primary motivation to be a servant leader, it is a result that should be considered a blessing and not a goal.


introductions to DCL

25 Sep

Motive is the central element of the Divine Centered Leadership Model. Please describe what motivates you to volunteer as a leader in BYUSA.
I have never been entirely sure exactly why I came into this office in the first place. I think my motive has changed over the last year. Originally, I was excited about the new opportunity, and then I felt an obligation to accept a leadership position, and now I am much more concerned with being a Christlike leader and providing those opportunities to other people. Anyone else could do the business elements of my job, but this role is an opportunity to see other people through Christ’s eyes, and that is something I want to take advantage of. I am finally finding that I am motivated to serve people, not to do work. With that as my central desire, I have become much better at delegating, teaching, and understanding. It’s easier to love people when you want the best for them.

“Each of us might well ask, ‘In what ways am I shrinking or holding back?’ Meek introspection may yield some bold insights! For example, we can tell much by what we have already willingly discarded along the pathway of discipleship.” Describe how you can use this question to help you improve as a leader in terms of the concept of challenging unrighteousness.
I am far too personally concerned with how other people will take criticism. I can’t handle other people being upset with me. As a leader, this causes problems when it is my responsibility to guide people in a direction that they may not like. I have spent a lot of time shrinking and holding back when it came to dealing with conflict.
I decided a few months ago that I could skirt conflict by handing it off to other people or dancing around it. I decided it wasn’t an important skill for me to learn, but I’ve realized that there are few things that are more important. Conflict isn’t just about dealing with problems. It is about learning to love people unconditionally.
In the future, I will further analyze the things that I have decided aren’t important. Usually, they are just things I didn’t want to deal with, but they are worth learning. Challenging unrighteousness is about being a courageous leader, being willing to accept and defend what is right and good and true. If I’m not willing to do that at least with myself, there is no way I will be able to continue being an effective leader or improve or learn anything from this experience.

Describe an experience where you have had to make a sacrifice in a leadership role. How did this experience help you improve as a leader?
I have had to sacrifice a lot of ease and comfort. Elder D. Todd Christofferson gave a talk called “Reflections on a Consecrated Life” and in it he said something that I think about almost every day: “God has designed this mortal existence to require nearly constant exertion.” Life is not meant to be comfortable, and I have gotten by far too long being at ease and not being challenged. At the beginning of the summer when I started finding all sorts of things I needed to change and improve about myself, I was confused because I figured that it had worked for me for over 20 years, so why should I change now? But change requires ultimate sacrifice of the self. In order to get along with others, I have to sacrifice the things that I am comfortable doing. I have to stop thinking about myself and step outside of my comfort zone in order to reach out to others.
This sacrifice has absolutely helped me improve as a leader because I have had to do things I’ve never done before. It’s made all the difference, and has made me much more open to taking on new challenges. It’s allowed me to accept my responsibilities and duties and to want to do them well. Most of all, it’s allowed me to develop stronger relationships with the people I work with and truly come to love them.

but for a small moment

15 Sep

“The tests that we face are real. They are not going to be things we can do with one hand tied behind our backs. They are real enough that if we meet them we shall know that we have felt them, because we will feel them deeply and keenly and pervasively.”

“Christ on the cross gave out the cry “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” That cry on the cross is an indication that the very best of our Father’s children found the trials so real, the tests so exquisite and so severe, that he cried out–not in doubt of his Father’s reality, but wondering “why” at that moment of agony–for Jesus felt so alone.”

“If God chooses to teach us the things we most need to learn because he loves us, and if he seeks to tame our souls and gentle us in the way we most need to be tamed and most need to be gentled, it follows that he will customize the challenges he gives us and individualize them so that we will be prepared for life in a better world by his refusal to take us out of this world, even though we are not of it…What, therefore, may seem now to be mere unconnected pieces of tile will someday, when we look back, take form and pattern, and we will realize that God was making a mosaic. For there is in each of our lives this kind of divine design, this pattern, this purpose that is in the process of becoming, which is continually before the Lord but which for us, looking forward, is sometimes perplexing.”

“I don’t know how many people have lived on the earth for sure, but demographers say between 30 and 67 billion. If you were to collect the agony for your own sins and I for mine, and multiply it by that number, we can only shudder at what the sensitive, divine soul of Jesus must have experienced in taking upon himself the awful arithmetic of the sins of all of us–an act which he did selflessly and voluntarily. If it is also true (in some way we don’t understand) that the cavity which suffering carves into our souls will one day also be the receptacle of joy, how infinitely greater Jesus’ capacity for joy, when he said, after his resurrection, ‘Behold, my joy is full.’ How very, very full, indeed, his joy must have been!”

“You and I will one day know, if we do not know now, there is no way we can escape from God’s love, because it is infinite. However many times in our lives we might rather go to a Tarshish than a Nineveh, he will insist that we go to Nineveh, and we must pay ‘the fare thereof.'”

“It is required of us not only that we endure, but also that we endure well.”

“Every time we navigate safely on the strait and narrow way, there are other ships that are lost which can find their way because of our steady light.”

“God is totally serious about his purpose “to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.” I don’t think God’s too interested in real estate. He owns it all anyway. He does seem to be incredibly interested in what happens to us individually and will place us in those circumstances where we have the most opportune chances to grow and to carry out our purposes.”

“That is why we are so in need of the Spirit–so that knowledge can arc like electricity from point to point, aided and impelled by the Spirit–aid without which we are simply not articulate enough to speak of all the things which we know.”

“You’re soon going to go out into a world full of marshmallow men. Like the act of putting a finger into a marshmallow, there is no core in these men, there is no center, and when one removes his finger, the marshmallow resumes its former shape. We are in a world of people who want to yield to everything–to every fad and to every fashion. It is incredibly important that we be committed to the core–committed to those things that matter, about which our Father in heaven has leveled with us through his Son, Jesus Christ, and his prophets.”

“There was more power processed and expended on that single night in Gethsemane, in that small garden, than all the armies and navies have ever expended in all the battles on the land and sea and in the air in all of human history. The catalyst of prayer helped Jesus to cope with suffering, and by his suffering he emancipated all men from death and made possible eternal life.”

“The gospel of Jesus Christ is specific because God cares specifically for each of us and, caring for us, will mark the way carefully lest we fall. A vague creed is fitted only for a vague God. We have a Father who loves us specifically and gives us things to do and, because he loves us, will cause us, at times, to have our souls stretched and to be fitted for a better world by coping with life in this world.”

“Whatever the form the test takes, we must be willing to pass it. We must reach breaking points without breaking.”

-Neal A. Maxwell, “But for a Small Moment” Sept. 1, 1974, BYU Devotional
[new favorite talk]

his grace is sufficient

13 Sep

“I know that I have to do my part and then Jesus makes up the difference and fills the gap that stands between my part and perfection. but,” she asks, “who fills the gap that stands between where I am now and my part?”
“Jesus doesn’t make up the difference. Jesus makes all the difference. Grace is not about filling gaps. It is about filling us.”

Jesus filled the whole space. He paid our debt in full. He didn’t pay it all except for a few coins. He paid it all. It is finished.

Christ’s arrangement with us is similar to a mom providing music lessons for her child. Mom pays the piano teacher. Because Mom pays the debt in full, she can turn to her child and ask for something. What is it? Practice! Does the child’s practice pay the piano teacher? No. Does the child’s practice repay Mom for paying the piano teacher? No. Practicing is how the child shows appreciation for Mom’s incredible gift. It is how he takes advantage of the amazing opportunity Mom is giving him to live his life at a higher level. Mom’s joy is found not in getting repaid but in seeing her gift used — seeing her child improve. And so she continues to call for practice, practice, practice.
If the child sees Mom’s requirement of practice as being too overbearing, perhaps it is because he doesn’t yet see with mom’s eyes. He doesn’t see how much better his life could be if he would choose to live on a higher plane.
In the same way, because Jesus has paid justice, He can now turn to us and say, “Follow me”, “Keep my commandments”. If we see His requirements as being way too much to ask, maybe it is because we do not yet see through Christ’s eyes. We have not yet comprehended what He is trying to make of us.

We are not earning heaven. We are learning heaven. We are preparing for it. We are practicing for it.

Latter-day Saints know not only what Jesus has saved us from but also what He has saved us for. As my friend Brett Sanders puts it, “A life impacted by grace eventually begins to look like Christ’s life.” As my friend Omar Canals puts it, “While many Christians view Christ’s suffering as only a huge favor He did for us, Latter-day Saints also recognize it as a huge investment He made in us.”

The miracle of the Atonement is not just that we can be cleansed and consoled but that we can be transformed. Scriptures make it clear that no unclean thing can dwell with God, but, brothers and sisters, no unchanged thing will even want toHeaven will not be heaven for those who have not chosen to be heavenly.

The miracle of the Atonement is not just that we can go home but that — miraculously — we can feel at home there.

If Jesus didn’t require practice, then we would never become pianists. When a young pianist hits a wrong note, we don’t say he is not worthy to keep practicing. We don’t expect him to be flawless. We just expect him to keep trying. Perfection may be his ultimate goal, but for now we can be content with progress in the right direction. Are the only options performing at Carnegie Hall or quitting? No. Growth and development take time. Learning takes time. When we understand grace, we understand that God is long-suffering, that change is a process, and that repentance is a pattern in our lives. When we understand grace, we understand that the blessings of Christ’s Atonement are continuous and His strength is perfect in our weakness.

Grace is not a booster engine that kicks in once our fuel supply is exhausted. Rather, it is our constant energy source. It is not the light at the end of the tunnel but the light that moves us through the tunnel. Grace is not achieved somewhere down the road. It is received right here and right now. It is not a finishing touch; it is the Finisher’s touch.

“Grace shall be as your day”: grace shall be like a day. As dark as night may become, we can always count on the sun coming up. As dark as our trials, sins, and mistakes may appear, we can always have confidence in the grace of Jesus Christ. Do we earn a sunrise? No. Do we have to be worthy of a chance to begin again? No. We just have to accept these blessings and take advantage of them. As sure as each brand-new day, grace — the enabling power of Jesus Christ — is constant. Faithful pioneers knew they were not alone. The task ahead of them was never as great as the power behind them.

Grace is not the absence of God’s high expectations. Grace is the presence of God’s power.

Don’t quit. Keep trying. Don’t look for escapes and excuses. Look for the Lord and His perfect strength. Don’t search for someone to blame. Search for someone to help you. Seek Christ, and, as you do, I promise you will feel the enabling power we call His amazing grace. I believe in you. I’m pulling for you. And I’m not the only one. Parents are pulling for you, leaders are pulling for you, and prophets are pulling for you. And Jesus is pulling with you.

-Brad Wilcox, “His Grace is Sufficient” Jul. 12, 2011, BYU Devotional