Archive | April, 2012


14 Apr

Brigham Young was once asked which of all his leadership positions was his favorite, and he said that it was serving as a unit leader in Zion’s Camp, reporting on the welfare of his 10-12 men daily to the prophet Joseph Smith. It seems so simple, and it seems like a weird choice given his many incredible leadership opportunities, but Brigham would probably never have been able to describe what it meant to him to serve with those men and to be uplifted by the company of Zion.

On some smaller scale, I can relate to Brigham Young. I have had some outstanding opportunities in my life to be involved with truly great activities, but I will never be able to describe what it meant to me to serve with this group and to be uplifted by the company of Zion. It will be weird to not be surrounded by this fine Communications team every day. Our GroupMe conversation will die down. The quote book will gather dust in a memory box somewhere (which is actually probably best for everyone). The most important things I will remember from this year, however, are the many changes that these people & experiences have wrought in me. Especially concerning personal capability, I have started to see the BYUSA vision come to fruition in my life, and I am more excited than ever to carry it forward out of BYUSA and to spread the love and the elements of Zion that I have been blessed with. I will speak briefly about specific competencies within personal capability, and then I want to focus on what happens next.

Professional and Technical Expertise
I never would have seen myself ever knowing anything about advertising. Ever. Through training ACs, and through training the new advertising ED, I’ve realized that through continued exposure and focus, I have actually gotten to a very comfortable place when it comes to advertising policies, procedures, and resources at BYU.

Solves Problems and Analyzes Issues
I’ve been thinking a lot about how long it took for us to truly become a team. Our “storming” period was especially long, and I am actually really grateful for that now. It was a frustrating experience learning to get work with so many different personalities and responsibilities, but now I feel pretty confidently that I could face almost any atmosphere. I feel an indescribable love for this team and the people we served. That is the greatest example I can think of for learning to solve problems and analyze issues. Of course there were other smaller and more detailed experiences, mostly pertaining to advertising, but this competency immediately sparked a flood of experiences that all relate to our team.

Two heads are better than one. That is my new motto for innovation. I worked with Sarah, Brandon, and Tamara, as well as used feedback from the presidency & coordinators to develop an improved advertising program for 2012-2013. The progress we made together was beyond anything I could have ever done on my own, and I was so proud of the team effort. It was a struggle for me to be innovative because so much of my program was rooted in consistency and policy, but the challenge was fresh and very real to keep things interesting and progressing.

Practices Self Development
I got very low feedback in this area on my first 360, but in March the results were much higher, and I am proud of that. I can now take criticism much better. I more readily recognize that others want to help me, not hurt me. It’s made me less defensive to be around so much love. Practicing self-development is actually a really interesting concept because you have to find a balance between being humble and being proactive, and between placing the burden of critique on others and being able to recognize the personal need for change. In October, I definitely thought that practicing self-development meant asking for feedback and applying it. Now I realize that it actually means being self-aware and making constant adjustments to your leadership, making true progress, and being mature about feedback that others give. On that note, I just realized that there isn’t a single competency that is dependent on other people. This is alllllll me. It is about my choice to serve and my ability to make a difference, which can be inhibited by my stubbornness, pride, or negative attitude. Blaming others is how you sink.

What Now?
The nature of leadership is progress. I recently attended a fireside where Sheri Dew spoke about progress and the power to become. She said one thing that especially impressed me. “Our spirits are divinely programmed to want to progress. If you ever want to be depressed, stop progressing.” Most of the competencies I spoke about had to do with progress. That is significant. Olivia once said to me, “BYUSA isn’t the point of BYUSA.” She meant that we aren’t really only here to make an impact in a student service association. We aren’t just here to plan parties or print pretty pictures. The most important influence that BYUSA can have is what you take from it and what you do with the skills you learn. No one is meant to be there forever. You’re supposed to move on and up. Now that I know how to lead a meeting, train a new recruit, hold others accountable for responsibilities, follow up on assignments, love someone who just needs a smile, give and take constructive criticism, and especially how to direct others to the Lord through my leadership, I can apply those skills in future endeavors. That is the real point of BYUSA. That is what it means to me to “go forth to serve.”

Really though, how do you sum up a year that has changed you? How do you begin to acknowledge the infinite differences between who you were and who you are becoming? No word document or blog post could ever hold or express everything that I have learned this year. Tamara, Brandon, Olivia, Mallory, and Sarah were five of the greatest blessings I have ever had. I learned so much from each individual. Seriously. I laughed every single day. I was challenged and stretched and pushed and grew because of them. I had to look closely, but I found Zion. 3400 was consistently the best part of my day, and I looked forward to seeing these people – some of my best friends – and serving alongside them. Although it certainly wasn’t always that way, that is definitely how it will stick in my memory. Like Brigham Young, I know that this will always be one of my favorite leadership positions, even though I’m sure that there are many other opportunities that will come.

I have been thinking about writing this final reflection since August. It has taken on much more significance now that the experience is over. We have been talking about the end for months now, but this is really it. I will always swear by my previous statement that applying for ED was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made in my entire life. I am positive that it will continue to shape me and be a catalyst for future opportunities. It will continue to bless my life in quiet, sometimes invisible ways that will always be precious and very, very dear to my heart, just like each of you.



14 Apr

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too:
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim,
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same:.
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build’em up with worn-out tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings,
And never breathe a word about your loss:
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on!”

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much:
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

-Rudyard Kipling

leading in the home

9 Apr

Please describe how you feel you can apply the leadership lessons discussed during this session as a leader in your family.
One thing that Vice President Scharman said really impacted me with regard to my future family. She said to not focus on leaving your mark, but to figure out what the Lord is doing. I love that she said “doing” and not “trying to do.” I will apply these leadership lessons by carrying out the Lord’s will and not trying to further my own agenda or playing to my pride, as well as setting priorities and sticking to them. Lately a lot of speakers in Church and General Conference have emphasized that in order to find any kind of success, family must come first, followed by the Church, and then all else will fall into place.

Recognizing that you will meet and likely marry someone who will come from a somewhat different background and family than your own, please identify what you will do as a leader in your home to insure that you have a unified and succesful family.
I have a “parenthood binder” where I stick talks and scriptures and insights about how to be a good mother and wife. I am obviously nowhere closer to that stage in life right now than I was when I woke up this morning, but I can still do my best to be prepared. The future of my family is not set in stone. We do not have to fail just because most of the families I am surrounded by have succumbed to the temptations of the world and allowed their trials to sabotage their marriages. I can choose success, and I can choose it today. That is my standard. I want to marry someone who is worthy to take me to the temple. Just because someone comes from a different background does not mean I should settle for a lower standard, and to seek out equal caliber is the challenge of Zion.
Having a unified and successful family, in my opinion, will be contingent upon our acceptance of a “new family”. Obviously we will both have backgrounds and ideas and traditions that will shape our approach, but just because my parents raised me to always have Christmas with just our family doesn’t mean that we can’t visit the in-laws for brunch. Just because I grew up doing whatever I wanted on Sunday afternoons doesn’t mean that my husband and I can’t set new traditions and new standards for what will be necessary and best for OUR family.