Saturday, January 30, 2016

Of Measurements and Repetition

This week we read How Will You Measure Your Life? by Professor Clayton M. Christensen of the Harvard Business School (HBS). It was published in the Harvard Business Review in 2010. His class at HBS is structured to “help [his] students understand what good management theory is and how it is built.” On the last day of class he asks his students to answer three questions:

  1. How can I be sure that I’ll be happy in my career?
  2. How can I be sure that my relationships with my spouse and family become and enduring source of happiness?
  3. How can I be sure I’ll stay out of jail?

He isn’t flippant about question three. Two of the 32 people in his Rhodes Scholar class at HBS spent time in jail. Jeff Skilling of Enron fame was his classmate. He said “these were the good guys – but something in their lives sent them off in the wrong direction.

He teaches that the “powerful motivator in our lives isn’t money; it’s the opportunity to learn, grow in responsibilities, contribute to others, and be recognized for achievements,” which brought him to this conclusion: 

Management is the most noble of professions if it’s practiced well. No other occupation offers as many ways to help others learn and grow, take responsibility and be recognized for achievement, and contribute to the success of a team.

What do we learn about going off in the wrong direction? “Allocation choices can make your life turn out to be very different from what you intended.” If we don’t spend our time doing what we want to become, we will become what we spend our time doing.

Speaking to question 3 he states: “justification for infidelity and dishonesty in all their manifestations lies in the marginal cost economics of ‘just this once.’” He gives an example of his college basketball days when his resolve to never play on Sunday was tested. He was pressured by coaches and players alike. He remained strong and didn’t play. After that experience he learned it was one of the most important decisions of his life. Why?

My life has been one unending stream of extenuating circumstances. Had I crossed the line that one time, I would have done it over and over in the years that followed. The lesson I learned from this is that it’s easier to hold to your principles 100% of the time than it is to hold to them 98% of the time.

So where does Repetition come in? I read both this and another speech this week, in a previous class. I was thinking to myself “someone really didn’t plan these courses well because they are duplicating the reading.” 

Tuesday was devotional and Elder David A. Bednar spoke. His focus was on repetition. His example was the repetition in visits and message from Moroni to the young Joseph Smith. “This repetitious teaching was intended to emphasize the deep significance of the things that had been communicated.” He then pointed out that even though the message was the same each time, it was different because new information was given with each succeeding visitation. 

BAM! Palm to the forehead moment for me! The information I had read in a previous class was so important, it was presented to me again, however this time it was given with additional information.

Lesson Learned: Stick to your principles all the time. Don’t give in to the “just once won’t hurt” lie.


Clayton M. Christensen, How Will You Measure Your Life?  Harvard Business Review, 2010

David A. Bednar, Repeat Over Again . . the Same Things as Before, BYU-Idaho Speech, January 2016

My Personal Constitution


  • I am temple worthy. I never do anything to jeopardize my temple recommend. I live my life in accordance with the guidelines to be in the temple.
  • I love my family and know that they are the most important thing in my life. I maintain proper balance between work, hobbies and interests, and family, with an eternal perspective.
  • I am generous and charitable with all that I have and I know that all I have is because of my Father in Heaven.
  • I am service oriented and compassionate because I strive to live my life as the Savior lived his.
  • I am financially self-reliant. My bills are paid. I am debt free. I have ample investments and savings to fund my life, retirement, hobbies and interests, service to God, and to give to my family. I work if I want too and work for enjoyment.

Long Term Goals
  • I will remain temple worthy. I pay an honest tithe and a generous fast offering. I am honest in all my dealings. I sustain the prophet and apostles and love the Gospel. I am faithful to my covenants.
  • I will always remember that family is more important than work or hobbies. I will take time away from non-essential things to spend time with family. I will build strong relationships with family members. I will love, serve, and honor my family. I will live in a way that brings honor to my name and family.
  • I will do more than pay an honest tithe and a generous fast offering. I will give of my time, talents, and means to help those in need. I will follow the admonition in Alma 34:28 that my “prayer [will not be] vain.”
  • I will serve others and show compassion toward them. I will live my life as the Savior lived.
  • I will be financially self-reliant by age 60. I will have sufficient investments and savings that I will retire early, serve a mission, serve God, travel, remain generous with all that I have, and give to my family.

Short Term Goals
  • I will read my scriptures consistently. I will be honest in all I do. I will be faithful to my covenants. I will keep a prayer in my heart to remain truthful.
  • I will be available to help my family when they are in need. I will give extra time to be with my grandchildren. I will be the fun grandma.
  • I will give service when asked and when I notice a need. I will give financial assistance if I can’t be there physically to help. I will pray for people in need and put names in the temple. I will finish purging all the stuff that I don’t need and donate it.
  • I will be service oriented in my job to be a good employee/boss. I will be compassionate to those in need or who are in distress. I will give this without compromising my own mental or physical health.
  • I will put 10% automatically into my tithing account. I will pay a generous fast offering when the deacons come so they can fulfill their priesthood duties. I will put 10% in my emergency fund and the use extra to pay off debts. I will finish my degree so I can earn more money to add to my retirement funds.  I will be wise and frugal in my purchases.

Daily Task List
  • I will read my scriptures when I eat breakfast. I will pray morning and night. I will serve in my temple calling with a glad heart. I will attend church each week.
  • I will give love, encouragement, and appreciation for the things my family members do each day. I will put my family before hobbies and down time.
  • I will pray for opportunities to give and to serve others.
  • I will think about my goals and how much stuff I have before I buy anything and ask “do I really need this?”
  • I will seek out a way to do exercise that my body can handle and that won’t take too much time from my already busy schedule – because nothing else matters if I am dead or too unhealthy to enjoy life.

Saturday, January 23, 2016


We read a case study of a woman named Magdalena Yesil. She was an entrepreneur turned venture capitalist. She was instrumental in getting internet payment systems going and internet to the colleges and the masses.

The thing that really spoke to me as I read about Magdalena, was her firm belief that gender was irrelevant to accomplishment. This is amazing to me considering that she was from Turkey, which is an incredibly patriarchal society—even still today, much less growing up in the sixties. This belief would have served her well when she went from an all-girls school to a technical institute, of which 94% were men. The field she chose, Engineering, is a heavily dominated industry today. She would have been an anomaly in the seventies and eighties.

Why this really speaks to me is that I believe you can change the word “gender” to any word that fits your situation.

 “_________ is irrelevant to accomplishment.”

For me, turning 48 next month, “age” will be one word I put in there. Age is irrelevant to accomplishment. Who cares if I will be 51 when I graduate! I will still do it. Maybe I will go on for an MBA. I will be 53 by the time that happens. This still leaves me with 12 – 15 good years of working before retirement.

Would it have been better if I had gotten my degree in my twenties? Sure. But today is better than never.

Of Honesty and Business Ethics

This week we were discussing Honesty and Business Ethics. We read a speech given by Elder Lynn G. Robbins of the Seventy titled Making a Living and a Life. I read this in a previous class and it made a huge impact on me. Elder Robbins discusses the types of businesses we should aim for and the type of employee we should strive to be. These were rated on a scale from A to F. 

Primary Motivation
Secondary Motivation
 Love of God and fellowmen
Income  $
 Money  $
Love of fellowmen
 Love of money  $
Indifferent to customers
 Filthy Lucre   $
Harmful to customers
 Filthy Lucre
Harmful to customers and to society, nations destroyed.

Satan uses money and wealth as a powerful way to tempt us to believe that “this world is our destiny and that anything and everything in this world is available for money.” We were sent to this earth to work and make a living, not just to survive, but thrive, and to see if we would be honest among our fellowmen.

Satan quickly recognized the work environment as a strategic setting to stir up all manner of sin, including covetousness, jealousies, self-indulgence, living beyond one’s means, anger, contention in marriages, infidelity, greed and envy, selfishness, even theft and murder.

One of his examples was the difference between George Bailey and Mr. Potter in the movie It’s a Wonderful Life. One was working for the love of his fellowmen; one was working for the love of money.

I am a loyal employee; sometimes loyal to a fault. One thing I have learned so far in this course is that it is OK to move on. There are times when you have to move on because the opportunity for growth, learning, and advancement is gone. I am at that point. I need to move on because I am stagnating where I am. My goal is to seek for Grade A company to work for where I can learn and grow and get on my way to becoming what my Father in Heaven wants me to be.


Robbins, L. G. (2010, October 12). Brigham Young University-Idaho Devotional. Retrieved from

My Personal Code of Conduct

I will never:
·         Do anything that puts my temple recommend in jeopardy
·         Steal
·         Cheat to get ahead
·         Lie to cover up mistakes
·         Allow work to become more important than the Gospel or my family
I will always:
·         Be honest in my work
·         Be proactive and do the work necessary
·         Remember that the Gospel and my family are the most important things
·         Be myself

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Of Fellow Travelers and Chameleons

What is an entrepreneurial hero? It is someone who lives life as an adventure, as did Sir Lancelot or Harry Potter—or any other mythical childhood hero. It is one who digs deeply to find special talents and gifts, then uses them to bring joy, enrich life, and serve others. This isn’t an easy journey, which is why it is called heroic.

Life is difficult. This is a great truth, one of the greatest truths.  It is a great truth because once we truly see this truth, we transcend it.
—M. Scott Peck

In learning about living life as an entrepreneurial hero, one of the ideas that stood out was the concept of choosing your fellow travelers well

I read somewhere that you are the aggregate of the five people you spend the most time with. I had to stop and think - am I spending time with people who lift me, make me better, share my goals and morals?

We are like chameleons; we take our hue and the color of our moral character, from those who are around us.
                                                                                                    --John Locke

According to Jeff Sandefer of the Action Foundation for Entrepreneurial Excellence, "Choosing your fellow travelers may not seem as exciting as slaying the dragons of competition, but it may well be the most important decision an entrepreneurial hero will make."

And – “No matter how talented the person is, life is too short to put up with jerks. And life is too long to associate with liars or cheats or gossips.”

Lesson Learned: Surround yourself with people you want to be like. Not jerks.


Sandefer, Jeff. "Living Life as an Entrepreneurial Hero." n.d.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Of Childhood Dreams

We were asked to skim the transcript of Randy Pausch’s last lecture and watch a small segment. I had read the book The Last Lecture, by Pausch, but hadn’t listened to the lecture, so I decided to watch the entire thing. His lecture was part of the Last Lecture series at Carnegie Mellon University and just happened to literally be his last lecture. It was titled Achieving Your Childhood Dreams. 

But remember, the brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want it badly enough. They’re there to stop the other people.

Why do you think Randy Pausch was able to achieve so many of his childhood dreams?
I believe Randy was fortunate in that his childhood dreams were dreams that stayed with him into adulthood. They were things that he was actually able to accomplish in a professional setting. This coupled with the fact that he had very supportive parents and colleagues, and mentors who helped him reach beyond what he thought was his potential, created an environment in which he was able to achieve many of his dreams. I feel a bit of serendipity went into his meeting with Captain Kirk.

Do you feel that dreaming is important? Why or why not?
Dreaming is very important. If we didn’t have dreams, or hopes and aspirations, none of us would reach for something beyond where we currently are in life. Dreaming is what makes us take chances on a new job, going to school, getting married and having children, traveling to distant lands. It is the stuff of adventure and making a life worth living.

Discuss at least one of your childhood dreams. Explain why you believe you can or cannot achieve this dream.
When I was a little girl, I wanted to be what most little girls dream of—a ballerina, a nurse, or a teacher, and something to do with horses. I took ballet lessons and decided that wasn’t for me. I took horse riding lessons with my mom during high school. I realized I didn’t have the stuff of nurses or teachers. 

In high school, I decided I wanted to become an interior designer. I started going to college for that but got married, started working, and then had kids. Later when I wanted to go back to school I wanted to be an author. I was going to study English with an art minor so that I could write and illustrate children’s books. Life happened and that dream didn’t.

Now I am studying Business Management because it goes more along the lines of my work and my natural abilities. I wouldn’t say it was a dream of mine as a child, but I have always been good at organizing and taking control charge of things.

Now that I am older I have different dreams. Hopefully, I am on the way to making some of them come true.


Pausch, Randy. "The Last Lecture: Achieving your childhood dreams." Carnegie Mellon University, n.d.

Of Stepping Stones, Callings, and Stars

This week we worked on discovering what we want to be when we grow up and how we are going to get there.

First, we created a Bucket List. This is something I've never put down on pen and paper. There have been things that I want to do, but I've never taken the time to create an actual bucket list. I think I felt like -- if I don’t actually tell anyone, then I won’t be as disappointed if I don’t get them done.

My top three items were very easy. Visit the pyramids in Egyptdo a photo safari in Africa, and finish my degree in Business Management. The first two things I have wanted to do for a long time. I quickly put in a few more, but then had to really stop and think. I looked on the internet for ideas, that sparked more ideas, and I also included things I have already accomplished. A few are very simple such as take a pottery class. Others will take a lot of time, planning, or money, such as ride an elephant, learn Italian, and discover my true calling in life.

Next, we created Stars and Stepping Stones chart. This is following the premise taught by Steven Covey of beginning with the end in mind. Your star is your calling in life. 

Picking your own star involves understanding what is important to you in life, and what is likely to remain important.

We visualized ourselves at age seventy then thought of what we would like to have said about us if at an awards dinner. What do we want to have accomplished? etc. Then work backward to fifty. What do we need to do to get there? This was an interesting exercise to actually put in writing. Again, similar to my bucket list, putting things in writing is like admitting I really want it. What if it doesn’t happen?

The ultimate horror is not death. The ultimate horror is to wake up at age fifty-five or sixty and realize that you have wasted your life; either that time has slipped past while your dreams waited, or that you never had any dreams at all.

Lesson Learned: Having dreams is good. Making them come true is better.

Reference: Sandefer, Jeff. "Stars & Steppingstones: Some choices only come around once.", n.d

Thursday, January 07, 2016

Learning to be an Entrepreneur

I have never thought of myself as an entrepreneur. I have often wished I was. Wouldn't it be amazing to come up with the next "it" item, the software that makes everyone's life easier, or a time-saving gadget that everyone is clamoring to buy?

In studying business, it seems that even if you aren't an entrepreneur, you need to learn to think like one, because business today can turn on a dime. When someone else comes up with that next "it" item, your world could change in an instant.

So, here I am, studying entrepreneurship.

I will be discovering my entrepreneurial "calling." Learning and developing constructive habits. Selecting my next "stepping stone job." Embracing Disciple Leadership. And, journalling my discoveries along the way.

Here we go!