I have appreciated the many things I have learned in this class. As I was pondering on the principles taught, I felt joyful to remember this new knowledge I have gained. There was much information to give us a taste of what it takes to be an entrepreneur. I already have a testimony of the importance of honesty and integrity in our lives, but I was impressed with how often this was included in entrepreneurial speeches. Although these two principles are also gospel principles, they apply in the secular world as well. Businesses (even large ones) fail when people get greedy and use dishonesty to steal from the company and/or others to try to make themselves rich and powerful. It seems it is almost intoxicating for many people. We can benefit from living the Golden Rule of treating others the way we would like to be treated. That seemed to be the most important ideas the different lecturers wanted us to learn and internalize.
One of the highlights of this course was learning from Steven A. Hitz. His book “Launching Leaders” was excellent with many tips on succeeding as an entrepreneur and person. I loved his videos and would be thrilled to take his course someday.
My favorite part of the class was interviewing a successful entrepreneur. I learned so much about starting a business, the daily work involved, and the rewards of being your own boss. I loved my mentor’s positive attitude and her drive to keep going no matter what! The only hard part about writing my paper was to keep its length down to two pages. I wanted to share everything I had learned.
If I had to give someone advice for starting a business, I would say first to believe in yourself. Don’t let anything stop you from reaching your dreams. Do your research to find out everything you can about your service or business. Learn how to be a leader. Learn how to budget and spend wisely. Take an accounting class or two so you will be financially savvy. Take the time to determine and develop core values. Never lose sight of those values. Learn to tell stories, so you can positively influence others and sell your product or service. Make a bucket list so you may have things you look forward to doing when the hours seem long. Be dependable—someone people can count on to get things done. Get involved in all of the assignments and save them. You will want to remember everything you learn.
I love that the readings and videos were about gratitude and attitudes this week! Our attitude can certainly turn a bad day into one that is good or at least tolerable. I believe that people who have good attitudes live their lives with gratitude. Gratitude helps you to appreciate all that you have and all that others do for you. I was recently at a reunion with my former college roommates. They asked me about the passing of my son several years ago. I started telling them about the day he died. One of them said, “That must have been the worst day of your life.” I responded, “No, it wasn’t. I choose to look at it as one of the best days of my life, because it was the last day I got to spend with my son. I was able to talk to him, to tell him the things I wanted him to know, to tell him I loved him, and for him to communicate that back to me. It was the last day our entire family got to be together. I see it as one of the best days of my life.” That whole experience taught me so much about the power of gratitude and how important gratitude is to God. I learned that when we thank God for even the simplest of blessings, it opens the door to revelation from Him. If you need answers to a serious problem in your life, first express gratitude to the Lord for the blessings He has given to you. Then the answers will come. I also liked the advice from Larry North to have a tough skin. Realize that bad things will happen randomly in life. Learn to deal with those things in an intelligent way. Drop the bad. Let go of the hurt. See the good. Figure out your best strategy. Keep on going. Never let the difficulties and discouragements of life get you down. Successful entrepreneurs always have faith and confidence in their abilities. God sent us here to succeed, and we can do it with His help.
I thoroughly enjoyed the readings and videos this week. Sometimes a few can seem a little long, but they were all so interesting this week. I especially love the ones from the General Authorities. Elder Gay’s video was inspiring. It can be easy to get caught up in the materialism of our day. We live in America, the promised land. Sometimes I forget how rich we are in comparison to so much of the world. Sometimes it is easy to take for granted our freedom, opportunities, safety, and wealth. I feel so blessed to have all that I do. I loved Elder Gay’s message of service and rescue. They can apply wherever we are. When I was a Relief Society president, I learned most people are struggling with difficult things. There were many opportunities for service and even some instances of rescue. I loved when Elder Gay told of the picture in his office of Martin Harris’ farmhouse. As he said, Martin did much for the Church, but it was interesting to me how the Lord knew his heart. I fear my heart may sometimes be too much like Martin’s. It is human nature. I am so grateful the Lord works with us to give us the experiences we need to turn us from the “natural man” in us. I also really enjoyed the speech by Muhammad Yunus. I found myself agreeing with the things he had to say. I was impressed that when he saw a need with the poor people in Bangladesh, he found a way to meet it. I can hardly fathom how 42 people needed a mere $27 to meet their needs. What a blessing it will be to live the law of consecration, for there are no poor in Zion. But the gist of this lesson, I think, is to do what we can in our own sphere of influence. The Lord may have big plans for us or small, but each of us can do something to help those in need.
An interesting question was asked in the readings this week, “What is it that makes happiness always seem to be just beyond your grasp?” It is funny how true this seems to be universally. And yet each of us has known someone or several “someones” who seem to have a grasp on happiness. I think it is a lack of gratitude. The happiest people I know are grateful. I recently read of an LDS family in Bulgaria—father, mother, two children, wife’s mom—living in a 10 square foot room. They could only sell a little candy out their window for an income. But whenever the missionaries or anyone else would try to give them anything, they would pass it along to someone who had less than they did. They were always grateful for what they did have. (Wendy Ulrich, The Temple Experience, 2012) I learned the lesson of gratitude when our 18-year-old son died of cancer. I learned that when I was feeling sad and missing my son, if I would pray and thank God for my blessings (usually something to do with my son) and then ask for comfort, God would not leave me comfortless. And in reality, He is the only one who can give us peace and joy. I am convinced that as far as everyday things go, happiness is a state of mind. Like Abraham Lincoln said, “Most folks are usually about as happy as they make up their minds to be.” Gratitude plays a big part in that, especially when it comes to being content with what you have. If you are always looking for more or comparing what you have to what others who have more than you have, you will generally feel lacking or cheated. If, on the other hand, you are happy for the good things that happen to other people, you can also be happy for yourself and what you have. Seen from this point of view, happiness then becomes within the reach of everyone.
It’s hard to believe we are so far along in our class. We have had some wonderful readings and activities this semester. Dream Big has been a good learning experience for me. I think it is important to think about what you want to do and then do it. It is imperative to have goals and ideas about what we want from life. The most important thing to me, though, has been my membership in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. My favorite reading came from Elder Oaks in his General Conference address this week. The message he stated resonated with me. How important it is to become, not merely to know. We have to do and be. I was a young girl when Elder Spencer W. Kimball asked the writer of “I Am a Child of God” to change the closing phrase from “teach me all that I must know” to “teach me all that I must do.” What an important concept! We have to become like Jesus, not just know about him. I was also deeply impressed by Elder Oaks’ assertion that charity is what we become—that it is true conversion. He stated that “the reason charity never fails, and the reason charity is greater than even the most significant acts of goodness he cited is that charity, ‘the pure love of Christ’ (Moro. 7:47), is not an act but a condition or state of being.” That makes sense with what Moroni says about having to pray for charity in order to obtain it. Elder Oaks also states that conversion “is achieved not just by doing what is right, but by doing it for the right reason—for the pure love of Christ.” It is significant to note that we can’t become like Jesus unless we live like Him for the right reasons. We have to truly be like him, to do as He did, live like He did, serve like He served because we want to be like Him. These are great things to think about and strive towards.
There was so much to read and watch this week, and it was all worthwhile. I love President Kim Clark’s talk about leadership with a small “l.” It is leading like Christ leads. It is leading with love. The teachings from our class this week go so well with the scriptures we are studying in our homes. As my husband and I have read in “Come Follow Me” the past couple of weeks, I have been impressed with the Sermon on the Mount and all that Jesus teaches in those chapters in Matthew and Luke. He teaches us to love and serve each other. He teaches us to be a light to the world. In essence, He asks us to be leaders with a small “l.” I also really like the talk by Elder Bednar to make our time at BYU-I a Disciple Preparation Center to focus on becoming more like the Savior. The most important thing for us to learn in life is to become like the Savior. We can be blessed with faith in Him as we keep the commandments and keep our temple covenants. Doing these things, becoming this type of person will help me to be successful in all my endeavors in life—the most important of which are in my home. A third thing I have noticed—a common thread, if you will—is the importance of ethics in business and in all our life’s endeavors. This is stressed again and again, because of its significance in our lives. Without absolute standards of what we will and will not do, we can find ourselves veering off the straight and narrow path into broad roads of selfishness and self-indulgence. Ethics, morals, and covenants keep up on the path of happiness and help us become the kind of people we should be. I loved the admonition to ask ourselves whenever we meet someone, “How can I help this person?” What a great world this would be if everyone would live this particular advice!
This week’s readings and videos were so good! Challenges are something that we will all have to face in our lives. How we face them will be found in how we have prepared for them throughout our lives. It’s kind of funny, we have these times of preparation for battle where we are preparing our armor. Chances are, we have no idea that this act of service, this attendance at a meeting, that prayer are building our armor into something stronger than we ever knew. Or conversely, this TV show, that shady movie, that time we skipped church to go to the amusement park have built us some rather flimsy armor that will be easily pierced and leave us defenseless. I have had a number of those challenges where my metal has been tested. Perhaps the most difficult was when our only son was diagnosed with leukemia when he was 17-years-old. We immediately started him on chemotherapy. It wiped him out and sent him to the pediatric ICU fighting for his life. After two months, he lost his battle with cancer and died on December 21st. I remember thinking early in the month of December that Bill could die on or around Christmas. My first thought was that would ruin Christmas for us for the rest of our lives. My immediate next thought was, “I can’t live like that. How can I find a different perspective to help me if that happens?” Immediately I had the answer. Christmas is all about Christ’s birth. Because He came into this world, He conquered sin and death. Because of Him, we will all live again and can be an eternal family. Christmas that year was special, maybe more so than any other I have ever experienced, and joyous because of Jesus Christ. I don’t know the exact things I did that brought me to that point in my life, but I think it’s like President Spencer W. Kimball’s talk on the parable of the Ten Virgins. He lists the gospel things we do that add oil to our lamps drop by drop—things like attendance at sacrament meeting, temple attendance, serving others, etc. I am grateful for the “drops of oil,” many of which were just mine for the taking, but I chose to add them to my “lamp” and was thus prepared for the battle that awaited me. I am grateful that God gives us challenges, but never leaves us alone to face them and will strengthen us to come off conqueror when we turn to Him.