Archive | February, 2012

keep the chain unbroken

20 Feb

When I think of the wonders that have come to pass in my lifetime–more than during all the rest of human history together–I stand in reverence and gratitude. It is all so miraculous and wonderful. When I was born, the life expectancy of a man in the United States was 50 years. Today it is more than 75. To think that 25 years have been added to the life of an average man in North America and western Europe is miraculous. And with all of this there has been the restoration of the pure gospel of Jesus Christ. You and I are a part of the miracle and wonder of this great cause and kingdom that is sweeping over the earth blessing the lives of people wherever it reaches.”

“…In that sacred and hallowed house there passed through my mind a sense of the tremendous obligation that was mine to pass on all that I had received as an inheritance from my forebears to the generations who have now come after me.”

“As I sat in the celestial room of the temple pondering these things, I said to myself, ‘Never permit yourself to become a weak link in the chain of your generations.’ It is so important that we pass on without a blemish our inheritance of body and brain and, if you please, faith and virtue untarnished to the generations who will come after us.”

“Stay close to the Church. Stay close all of your lives. It really does not matter where you serve, what office you fill. There is no small or unimportant duty in this Church and in the kingdom of God.”

“It is not the calling we have, it is not the office in which we serve, but rather the manner in which we serve.”

“Brothers and sisters, as President Clark said: ‘In the service of the Lord, it is not where you serve but how.’ Is there gladness in our hearts and joy in our lives as we reach out to bless others?”

“God bless you, my dear friends. Be faithful. Be true. Be loyal to the great cause of which you are a part. Never become a weak link in the chain of your family’s generations. Do whatever you are asked to do, and do it with a glad heart. Do not worry about office or position in the Church. Simply do whatever your calling requires, and do it with joy and gladness.”

-Gordon B. Hinckley, “Keep the Chain Unbroken” Nov. 30, 1999, BYU Devotional

leadership in the church

18 Feb

1. President Samuelson warned of the dangers of waiting to serve until you are less busy. Describe how you will make yourself available to serve, even in the midst of a ever-increasing schedule and responsibilities.
This semester has been the perfect practice for this. Between 3 jobs, 13 credits of demanding classes, my ward calling, BYUSA, and other commitments, I feel like I have been given the opportunity to define where in my life I prioritize service. I can still look for the minor opportunities, because those just as important, if not more important, than the more obvious ones, like volunteering at an event or being active in BYUSA. I can drive someone to the store. I can make a schedule for someone. I can walk with someone to class and just listen if they need to talk. There are opportunities EVERYWHERE! It reminds me of the analogy of the jar filled with rocks. It will look full even if it just has rocks in it, but then you can also add sand. Then it will look very full. And then you can still add water. Work, school, church, and BYUSA are my rocks, but the little moments of selflessness, inspired by the quiet whisperings of the Spirit, are the sand. They are found within the rocks as well, but I would bet money that there are a lot more grains of sand in that jar than there are rocks.
I don’t know what the water is yet…but it’s important too.

2. In sharing his experience in speaking at a funeral, President Samuelson encouraged those in attendance to have the courage to say what needs to be said, when it needs to be said. Describe a time when you have had to stand alone in your role as a leader. Please include how you will respond to future opportunities to stand alone as a leader.
Last night, there was an honor code issue in our apartment, and I was the only one who was really aware of it. I had to ask my roommate about it and we had a very short, very awkward conversation. It ended with a simple request to follow the honor code better. The entire situation was actually extremely uncomfortable, because her boyfriend happened to walk in while I was talking to her. Eesh. However, after he left, she came into my room and thanked me for encouraging her to be better about it, because she had known she was slipping lately. I offered her a cinnamon bear and all was well.
That was a first-hand experience that taught me that it only takes one person to stand up. People are willing to follow, but not unless someone is willing to be the leader. I think that is what a lot of my training this year has gone towards – I have become significantly more confident in my abilities as a leader.
At Adventure Experience, in the letter my dad wrote me, he talked about taking advantage of opportunities. He then said, “That’s what leaders do, and you have always been a leader.” I didn’t really understand that, because I had never really felt like a leader before. I am coming to understand, however, that leadership is a much broader concept than I ever imagined. Taking risks in order to do what is right is a principle of leadership that takes a whole lot of courage, but it has never failed me yet.

3. President Samuelson shared an important lesson he learned about making assignments in his role as an Elders Quorum President. Please identify what you believe made the difference in the outcome he described going from having to complete the assignment himself to having others take accountability. How will you apply this concept to leadership roles you have in the future?
Accountability was a completely new thing to me this year, and I’ve had to learn it the hard way. I have definitely come to understand that people are invested as you give them opportunities to be. If I do everything for my ACs, there is no reason for them to be here. But if I show that I trust them, support them, and love them, they are much more invested in their work. I think I did that better with certain ACs, and not as well with others. I wish I had taken more time to express my love for them and to give them opportunities to shine instead of assuming that nothing would get done unless I did it myself. In return, I have learned how to be invested in the success of others – I find joy in seeing other people reach their goals and accomplish great things! In the future, I look forward to rejoicing in triumphs instead of waiting for failures. It’s just a better way to live.

leadership in your career

9 Feb

Bro. Cox

Bro. Cox shared 13 tips on leadership in your career. Please choose two of those tips and describe how you might apply those in your current role, then how you might apply them in your future roles.
One of his tips was to do more than is expected. I have always felt greater fulfillment from my roles when I try to go above and beyond, and I think this is an excellent concept. It ensures that the needs of the organization is met, but also allows you to leave it better than you found it. That is my number one focus right now as the year is winding down. I want to leave BYUSA better than I found it. That is becoming extremely difficult as my program will not exist (in its current form) next year, so basically everything I’ve done will be washed away. But I can still leave it better than I found it by sharing my knowledge and failures and successes with students who will pass through in the future. I was not the first, and I will not be the last, but I can still “leave my legacy.”
Another tip he shared was don’t value security more than service. I’m especially trying to apply that right now. No one ever became great by being safe. That is true in every aspect of life, the gospel, my education, BYUSA, etc. Leaving the familiar to learn new things and to reach out to others in need will always be a risk, but I have never regretted the risk in the past. Something tells me I won’t regret it in the future either. Especially if those risks are righteous risks.

Dr. Ben Wilson

1. Dr. Wilson spoke about the effect working in Student Leadership at BYU had on helping him become a “grown up.” Please describe the ways that your involvement has helped you develop as a leader from when you started serving until now.
Wow. How to tackle this question…Most importantly, it has given me the opportunity to be a leader. Because of my involvement here, I’ve had so many experiences that have enlightened me about myself, my skills, my weaknesses, etc. It’s ripped me to shreds and then pieced me back together slowly enough to see how I can change. When I started serving, I had absolutely no idea how much I had to improve on and how much I had to learn. I have definitely seen so many instances where I have tried to be a leader and crashed and buuuurned. But I’ve also had times where I come to know Christ better for what He experienced and why He did what He did. Now, I have a much better grasp on what it means to actually BE a leader, and why it is so critically important to do everything I can to be of use to my fellow men using my skills and talents.

2. Dr. Wilson shared his experience serving an internship in Jerusalem. This experience was not part of his program, but was approved because he was willing to do additional work to make it possible. Please describe the ways you can be effective in advocating for change or making improvement in existing programs.
People don’t give assignments that are perceived to be irrelevant or too hefty. But to those few people who are excited to take on the challenge, they are willingly distributed because they are still beneficial. I can advocate for change by deciphering which opportunities are beneficial and assessing the situation to see if I am capable of pursuing them. This requires dedication, research, and awareness, and even if it’s not deemed necessary or if I get turned down to do something, it’s always better for my leaders to know that I am willing to work hard. In this way, advocating change or making improvements becomes easier because people will take you more seriously when it’s a personal investment, not a delegated suggestion.