Wednesday, March 25, 2015

My Friend Eleanor

Saturday, March 21, 2015

I went to the funeral of a friend today.  I will miss her.  I want to be more like her.
In reading this week I came across something that describes her perfectly.
“If you want to shape your own hero’s story, you first must know yourself and then 
choose challenges that help you develop a sense of mastery.  You must be willing to 
invest in the growth of others, prepare for and learn to embrace adversity and practice
 courageous acts of character building.” 
I learned things about my friend I had never known before.  Her daughter gave an excellent life sketch that made me love her even more.  You see, Eleanor always gave to me and asked very little in return.  She was the grandma I needed when my kids were small and my own mother lived far away.  She had the uncanny ability to know when I needed her and had just the right kind of support ready to help me through whatever hardship or grief I was experiencing at the time.  She never let on of the things she had already suffered in her life, she only shared the wisdom she had learned from them. 
She was willing to invest in my growth having already embraced adversity and courageously moved on from it.  She was one of the happiest people I know.  
Much of my course work has talked about finding mentors, people who have been where I am and already know the ropes.  I am to search for those I want to emulate and learn to be successful from them.  But, am I a mentor for someone else?  This is the question I have had on my mind this week.  Am I helping to lead others down the paths I have already gone through?  Can I do more for others so they see the path for themselves?  Can I be an Eleanor for some else?
I want to be.  I can be.  This is what we are here for.  This is what I need to learn to do, to invest in the growth of others.  True Charity.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Becoming a "Yes Man"

  I admit it, I trend toward the selfish side with my time.  I always have a list of the things I need to do and have a schedule for how to get it done.  When asked to change this schedule, for whatever reason, I usually start thinking about what is left to be done instead of focusing my attention on the person who needs me.  There is a line in the Disney movie “Frozen” where Ana asks Christoff if her hair looks bad.  Although he answers her the way she wants, Olaf, the snowman, points out that he paused before answering which makes his answer sound manufactured.  I know I do this same thing to people.  I pause.  It’s not that I don’t want to help, I just know I have to rearrange things for myself before I can help another.  This is the attitude I don’t like in myself.
     I recently watched a recording of Guy Kawasaki (Garage Technology Ventures) speaking to a group of business students at Standford University.  He suggested we develop an attitude of always defaulting to Yes.  It should be an immediate response to requests.  It immediately puts us on the path to giving service to someone else.  It isn’t an attitude of martyrdom, there will be time after the “yes” to analyze and schedule.  It is simply a statement in the affirmative saying we will help in whatever way we can. 

     So, as I think about how to apply this to my life, I keep remembering the sweet sister in my ward who called on Sunday morning to ask me if I would feed the missionaries sometime this month.  What I said was, “I don’t know.  Let me look at my calendar. Oh, yes, this day works for me.” 
  Next time, I will say, “Yes.  How does such-and-such day work for you?”