W04 How Will You Measure Your Life?

This week I had a lot of self-reflection about where I am at and what I want to change. It was scary, but it felt good, too. One of our assignments was actually dissecting our fears, and we did this by making lists of how to mitigate those fears and what to do if they come true. It made me feel so confident in my ability to be an entrepreneur. Risk management is amazing! I was also thinking about how I have a partner, my husband, Jacob. Not only do I have to feel confident in these plans, but he does too, because they affect him just as much as they do me. I think he has a harder time feeling confident about ideas I bring up is because he would not have any control over how things go (because this would be my work) and that sort of thing is really hard for him. So I think that by having him do this exercise about how we can mitigate and overcome the worst case scenarios will really help him, too.

My favorite quote from the reading was from Clay Christensen, where he said, “Knowing what tools to wield to elicit the needed cooperation is a critical managerial skill.” Management is the part of business I am the most worried about. I am not a good decision maker, so I appreciated this advice on how to be a better manager. I think I struggle with identifying the real problem, but as a mom I have been getting much, much better at recognizing problems. I know that with more practice I will continue to do better.

Something that changed my perspective is how Elder Wirthlin said that time management is actually learning to manage ourselves. I am not always in control of my circumstances, but I am in control of myself and I think I can be more productive during certain times. The social media fast from last October showed me how even when I have a few minutes of down time, it is nice to sometimes just sit and do nothing and watch what is going on around me. There is the idea of good, better, and best. I do not do bad things, but I could definitely find better things to do.

I loved the video about effective choices. I always feel like there are too many things to do and not enough time to do them. Something my husband and I talked about this week was how we could do things differently so we do not create more work than necessary. Again, it is about finding the best way to do things, rather than just keeping our old ways because they are working just fine.

W03 Reflection

This week was focused on honesty and ethics. The devotional given by Elder Robbins gave me a list of specific things the Lord wants from me, like:

  1. Build His kingdom (a strong, valiant family)
  2. Be honest in your dealings and use your talents to serve
  3. Fill you life with good works

All of my business choices should be in line with these rules. A big focus of all the reading this week was about how when I strive to be my best, the best comes to me. It does not mean I will have a perfect life and a perfect business, it means I will have better opportunities, partners, employees, and customers if they know I have integrity. If I want to attract good business, I need to be a good business. It seems easy to say now, but I know during times of stress it will be tempting to give in, so I am glad I am making the decision now about what I will and will not do.

For an assignment we were asked to make a specific list of things we will never do and always do, and this was mine:

I will never:

  • Intentionally do anything that is harmful to others
  • Go against my word, written or spoken
  • Take shortcuts (break or bend the rules) to make a bigger profit

I will always:

  • Make restitution for my mistakes (even if it was accidental)
  • Only work with people who have the same moral standards
  • Be conscious of the impact my decisions have on others

My favorite part of our studying was a video called, “Top Ten Must Haves for a Start-Up”. Here are the two things he said that I really like:

  • Cheep, comfy furniture. It does the same job as more expensive options and it does not hurt your job performance. Invest money in people and equipment.
  • Too little money. Innovate, don’t spend your way to success.

These are practical ideas that I had not considered before. As a business owner it is important to know where to spend and where to save, and it is management decisions like this that I want to become better at. No matter how good my product is, I need a smart business plan to be successful. I love making plans and working out the details, so I am really excited do do this part of entrepreneurship.

My question is how to handle dishonest employees and customers. Depending on how serious it is, I would probably deny service to dishonest customers. I have no idea how to discipline employees, though. Again, depending on how serious and the nature of the circumstances, I would first give a warning, then demotion/loss of privileges, and finally dismissal.

W02 Reflection

This week we read a BYU devotional by Jeffrey A. Thompson about finding your calling in life. There were two parts I enjoyed the most, and the first was to discover and use your gifts, even when you do not see how they apply to a profession. It made me think about what some of mine are, and this is the list I came up with:

  • Listening
  • Praising Others
  • Empathizing
  • Identifying and Encouraging Talents
  • Sees Problem from Multiple Angles
  • Love for Strangers

The second thing I really enjoyed from his talk was finding the holiness and purpose in all of our activities, no matter how tedious or ordinary. As a new mom I have struggled with this a lot, because there is only so much purpose you can find in cleaning up juice off the floor again and again, but by remembering why I do it and who I do it for gives me purpose and makes it more enjoyable.

In the Randy Pausch’s last lecture, the theme was following your childhood dreams. I think he was able to fulfill so many of his childhood dreams because he know the value in them and did not dismiss them as unrealistic and impossible. He said that brick walls are there, “to prove how much you want something”. Those annoying barriers are there to help you, apparently, because they keep out the other people who do not want it as badly as you do. I love that perspective, that obstacles help us instead of hurt us. When you see everything as an opportunity, you can thrive even in the worst of circumstances.

I think dreaming is essential to our life’s success, because without that how would there be any real progress? When people follow the things they love and that they care about, opportunities find you. Dreaming is motivation to work harder and smarter to achieve bigger things.

As a child I dreamed about working at the zoo, and getting to play with all the animals. As an adult, I could still pursue that career, but I think that with age my dreams have grown with me. When I was young I saw working at the zoo as my best option to be home and still support beautiful, endangered animals. Now, as an adult, I know there are many other things I can do as well, like educate, volunteer, and donate to worthy causes. I think that I can still have that love and passion for animals, but use it in a different way then I had originally intended.

I also dreamed about having every kind of pet imaginable, and as an adult I still want every kind of pet, but I also understand the financial and time commitments involved. I have not given up on that dream, but I just fulfilled it in a different way. I get to visit my neighbors farms, local animal shelters, and friend’s pets. I get all the interaction I dreamed of while still being realistic to my current situation.

I think it is valuable to dream of impossible things. I think human creativity is powerful enough to achieve everything we want, just maybe not in the way we had expected. Being true to ourselves and our passions makes us stronger, happier, and more successful individuals.