Tuesday, April 7, 2015

The Final Post… (Well, that gets graded anyway)

There are a lot of things that we’ve talked about this semester…and this post is supposed to be the cherry on top, the pick of the litter, the tale to end all tales. But I have a hard time writing it out like that. I think that it’s mostly because the really isn’t a way to end something like this. When there’s always something new to learn, it’s hard to state anything as a sure fact, because something will come along that will deepen your understand of said “fact”, or even convince you that it isn’t a fact at all. 

But I think that there are a couple truths that have stuck out to me more than others.
First comes from the beginning of the semester when we talked about branding yourself, making your mark. This isn’t easy, and it requires that you have faith in yourself, which can be the hardest thing to do. I don’t know about you, but I can’t see into the future. I can’t tell if the current plans I have are going to work out, and the idea that I have to trust my future with someone as fallible as I am…haha, well it scares me.

But (and forgive me if this gets a little personal), it all has to come back to faith. And not faith in myself per say, but faith in God. A fear of mine is that I will miss the right place and the right time (especially for meeting that special someone)…that I will ignore the promptings from the Lord and then *poof* opportunity gone. But God isn’t spiteful, and I think that if something is truly good for us, and is critical to our development, He will give us multiple opportunities. So who are we to decide that if we follow a path we’ll fail? Who am I to tell the Lord what will and will not happen?

Yes we make decisions, yes we are responsible to make sure we’re proactive and industrious, but if we miss an occasional opportunity that isn’t the end. One of my favorite Bible stories is about Peter, and how he denied Christ the three times. He knew that would happen, Christ had told him. So could he have avoided it? Yes, he probably could have. But he didn’t, he failed. Yet, because of that failure, Peter was taken to a point in his life where he had to do some serious self-searching, and I believe that this was the point where Peter’s inner resolve became settled, and he never denied the Christ again. So in the end, I think that small failure set him up for success as one of the greatest biblical teachers in the New Testament.

So remember, there will be times that we fail, where we fall and believe that we’ve hit the bottom. But that failure could well be the springboard into successes that we never imagined were possible. So if there are two points that I guess I’d like to narrow down from this they are these:
  1. 1.      Do what you believe isn’t possible, and believe in yourself.
  2. 2.      God’s end goal is His own, so when you feel that you’ve been set up for failure, remember that it could very well be your own springboard to success.

It’s been a fabulous semester, and I look forward to seeing the growth and changes that continue to happen in my life because of the principles that I’ve learned here.

Thanks Brother Nygren for an awesome semester of learning!


Wednesday, April 1, 2015

End Results

So last week I talked about how we were doing a bake sale to save money for Kiva and so this week I get to give a follow up about how it went. 

Well we set a goal to raise $200 for our bake sale, and we ended with $203, a net gain of $143. We were super excited to reach our goal! Even though we didn't win out of our class, we were happy to have met our goals. 

Here are some of the pictures we took of bake sale. It took a lot of work, but it was well worth it! :)

Made with a blue velvet cake mix...we called them the Monster's Inc. Cookies

Oreo Brownies...proof that Pinterest is full of good ideas.  

So these were a lot of fun to make, We dipped them in the first layer of chocolate and then drizzled the chocolate. Some of them just had chocolate, the others were covered in salt. They were super yummy!

Fun little combo packs that we put together: Pretzels, a watermelon cake pop, and Sha-la-las (crushed oreos with a marshmallow center).

These actually sold out! We put an assortment of treats in these bags and it was kind of the luck of the draw type of thing. People got really excited about it. We thought they'd be fun, but they were more of a hit than we anticipated. 

This whole thing was a lot of fun, and did much better than we thought. We've talked about doing it again, but in the summer when the weather is nicer and when we can be outside (better location). Such a success in so many different ways! To be honest, we were worried that we wouldn't even make a normal profit, so even though we didn't "win" we felt pretty victorious.

I think if we learned anything, it's that the best success is defined by how we do compared to our own personal expectations, and not by how others do. Overall though stressful, the whole thing was a ton of fun!

- Shayla 

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Reaching Goals

This week was super fun! We're getting ready for a bake sale that we're doing, and it's kind of the best thing. I've done house cleaning, but never run anything like this before, so it's super exciting. I think thought the icing on the top of the cake is that we're doing it to help entrepreneurs in third world countries get a start...and that is pretty satisfying. :) I hadn't realized how motivating it can be have a purpose in making money. I mean, I like money, but it's fun to help somebody else.

This is a great video that shows the power that Kiva can have to change lives, the power to help others live their dreams.

If you want to participate in this awesomeness visit our facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/cookiesforkiva and learn how to help.


Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Financial Peace

Where does happiness come from?

Does it actually work like this? Can having money make us happy and bring us deep satisfaction? That was one of the topic's of our class yesterday and it was based mostly by a talk given by Stephen W. Gibson, a professor at BYU.

A couple of his points stuck out to me, and helped me understand the nature of money a little better.

First: God wants to bless us financially, but like the other blessing we receive from him, they depend on our obedience to principles He teaches us (pay tithing, stay debt free, have a rainy-day fund).

Second: Be your own master. You cannot consider yourself a free person until you are free of your debts to other people. That money isn't yours while you owe it to someone else.

Third: That once the basic needs are met (food, housing, clothing) with maybe a little extra, people are happy. And while having lots of money can buy you things that bring temporary gratification, it rarely changes any lasting satisfaction. This is in contrast to people who can't meet their basic needs who are always worrying about where dinner's going to come from.

There were several other good points, but these were the ones that stuck out to me the most. I think that money can bring us peace when we have control of our finances. That while we are in charge of our budget and we aren't in debt than we're in a good situation. So does money effect our happiness? Yes, when we're constantly worried about where money for food is going to come from it's hard. But once those fears are gone, we can relax and focus on what is most important.


Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Reaching Higher Ground

Do you ever feel like you can't do something? Well, don't let that slow you down, have a look at this clip and decide if this take on a true story doesn't lighten things up for you.

Disclaimer: While Hugh Grant is irresistible, that shouldn't be the only take-home message!

If you have Netflix I'd advise that you take the time to watch the movie...because it's fabulous and there's a lot to be learned from it. We all have our goals, our impossible aims, but these people...they turned a hill into a mountain! 

How easy it could have been to go, oh well, no mountain? A lot easier than carrying tons of dirt and sod up a hill/mountain! But it was worth it to them. Are our dreams worth it to us? Are we willing to put the work in? 

Whenever I need help deciding what I want to do, I just imagine myself standing on top of my "Mountain" and how I feel there. That feeling is irreplaceable.

What are you doing today to turn your hills into mountains?


Wednesday, March 4, 2015

A Lesson in Humility

I've learned a lot about humility this week. While we talked about things like being a leader with a under-case l, and doing things to support and uplift the people around you, I kept being impressed by the knowledge that really, the best thing I can do to be a better leader is listen to that little voice that comes from God. 

The past few weeks I've gotten comfortable, and pretty content with my life. These are both dangerous places to be at, because if you aren't actively trying to move forward, you are moving backwards. And I have a responsibility to myself to be the best person I can be. That person isn't determined just by the things they accomplish, but the things they do to lift others up. 

The people I respect the most I respect because of the positive effect they have had on me and my loved ones. Their care and their sincerity really is what draws me to them, and I want people to be drawn to me in the same way. 

I've been trying to get a little direction lately, and haven't had much luck. That's kind of new to me because I'm used to having a clear course put before me. I started doubting my dreams and my goals and even began to question the wisdom of trying to start my own business. The idea scared me (still does actually), and I wasn't sure I could do it. 

But then something changed. I failed a test that I thought I'd do well in, didn't lose as much weight as I thought I should, and didn't have the kind of social life I wanted. I wasn't succeeding. I turned to the Lord, asking why I couldn't do it, why things weren't working out. That's when I realized what the problem was, the same problem with this blog post....there's too many "I"s, too much of me. 

The Lord was trying to get into my life to reassure me, and I had been focused on my abilities. The truth is, on my own I don't have what it takes to be a business woman, but with God I do have it. While maybe I don't see it in me, God does. There's such a relief when, instead of, "what's the best path for me?", you say "where will I do the most good?". Then your priorities change. When our goal is to help others we will succeed. 

So this week I learned my duty isn't to be the top of the world, but to help put other people up there. 

Good week. I'm grateful that it happened!


Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Tolerance for Ambiguity

Some days I walk out of class and the ringing message in my ears is "so you think you want to be an entrepreneur? Prove it." And at times my gut response is "Yeah! Lets do this!" and then, sometimes I just close my eyes and have to fight really hard to see myself in that future. But the biggest thing that I learned from this week, is that by having specific expectations for how things should work I could set myself up for failure. 

In everything there is a certain level of ambiguity, and the sooner I learn to accept that the better for my business. I'v had a couple really major transitional moments in my life, I served a mission for my church (pretty life changing!), I moved off to college, started to live on my own (and loving it) and though each of these steps were crucial to helping me become who I am today, I found that all of my set expectations were always blown to bits. 

The sooner I learned to get rid of my set expectations the sooner I was able to settle in and get things together. It's an easy lesson, and I find that I'm learning it over and over again in all new situations. But as I keep looking for ways to think outside of the box, I see fewer giant walls and I find a lot more doors. It's not the easiest thing, but the results in the end are always worth it. 

So when things happen and we didn't see them coming, we shouldn't panic, because there is always a way around it. It may be a little unorthodox, and perhaps a tiny bit nontraditional, but as long as we aren't breaking any moral or ethical boundaries we all have the potential to become the next Thomas Edison (who, may I remind you, didn't make the light-bulb in his 1st, 100th or 1000th try). 


Wednesday, February 18, 2015

7 Habits of Highly Effective Entrepreneurs

This week was so much fun! I must admit that I'm one of those people who loves self-help books, and even more I love lists of things to do. Whether I'm ever any good at doing those things remains to be seen, it's a work in progress. :)

So we've all heard of the "7 Habits of Highly Effective People" by Steven Covey, but my professor introduced me to a new version of these habits; specifically for those of us aspiring to be entrepreneurs.

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Entrepreneurs
  1. They believe they determine their own destiny.
  2. They deny themselves early gratification.
  3. Embrace change! Be adaptable and flexible in ambiguity.
  4. Build teams.
  5. Focus on costumers.
  6. They are excellent goal setters.
  7. They act with a sense of urgency.   

So compare these with the seven habits from Steven Covey:

  1. Be proactive.
  2. Begin with the end in mind.
  3. First things first. 
  4. Think win-win.
  5. Seek to understand before being understood.
  6. Create synergy.
  7. Sharpen the saw.
What kind of correlations do you see between the two? Do you think that you could have a full understanding of one set of the habits without the other? 

There are some definite correlations: like between the "they determine their own destiny" point from the entrepreneurs to the "be proactive" from the effective people. 

Keep looking through them and see what you can find. I'd hazard a guess that they connect in more ways than one. 


Wednesday, February 11, 2015


Before this class when I'd think of mentors this is what I'd think of:

Star Wars. I am the product of a geek family (on my dad's side, mom's side provided the love for movies like "Arsenic and Old Lace") and so whenever I think of classic mentor/leader positions Qui-gon Jinn and Obi-wan generally come to mind...oh and Yoda. But that goes without saying. 

So this week in our class we talked about them importance of having mentors: friends in high (well higher) places who can help you, given you and idea of how to get where you're going, how to overcome the struggles that are coming. As part of this, each student was challenged to find 3 mentors who would help us on our entrepreneurial journey. 

I like people, but not when I have to stick myself out there. So this was challenging for me, but I did it! Lesson one from finding a mentor: it's easier done than said. When looking for a mentor it's okay to pray for one, to find someone who will be supportive and helpful. Like my professor said, if you have lousy mentors it's your fault for picking them, not theirs. So take a little time to find them. 

Once you've found them, think about the questions you want to ask. I suggest that you take into account a couple things: the personality of your mentor, the strengths that you've seen in them, and of course what type of business they run. Then (again prayerfully) sit down and have a good talk with them. It's good to come prepared with questions, but if your inner journalist gets a lead, don't be afraid to follow it!

After the interview make sure you say thank you, than write them a thank-you letter. I'm not kidding. It doesn't have to be long, and should not be contrived. Just share with them that you're thankful for their time and their guidance. Short, sweet and to the point. Sincerity will always go farther than a lot of flashy words. 

So go get 'em! Look for those people in your life who are on your side, and who you need. Then always be forever grateful to them for what they do for you. 


Wednesday, February 4, 2015

One of Those Weeks

Hey All!

Well, you know those weeks when you feel like this:

And you expect yourself to go around like this?

Well needless to say, it's been one of those weeks. So the theme of this week had been very timely as we've been talking about your character, who you are and who you want to be. 

One of the things that stuck out to me from class was the importance of being resilient. Recently I served a mission for the LDS church and something my mission president taught us about was being resilient. "Life can bend you out of shape, pull you thin or squish you flat, but what matters is your ability to come back to form." 

I think that one of the key things is to remember that there's nothing wrong about being bent out of shape. About life trying to blow you over. What does matter is if you let yourself get stuck in that place where life puts you. 

Either you can be someone that life controls, or you can control life. Granted you can't see the future, and some events are out of your hands, but who it makes you is your decision. 

I've heard it said that your past defines you...perhaps, but allow me to argue that you decide what it is your past defines. You set the tone, the shading, the theme music, all of it. That's your decision. So don't give up your ability to act. Fate? Fate is what you make of it. 

So when those out of whack days come, decide the soundtrack, pick the setting, then dive in. Life can only do so much. :)


Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Defeating Your Dragons

There are a lot of things that make being a entrepreneur difficult. The main challenge that I want to discuss today, is our dragons (our personal terrors), and how we can turn them from this:

To this:

What are our dragons? Quite simply, they are anything within our natures that hold us back. For some it's greed, for others it's pride. We all have little things that we need to improve. 

And if you think you can get away with just ignoring this fearsome beast here's a little quote for you. "If you refuse to face this dragon, it will keep turning up in the oddest of places, at the worst of times" (A Field Guide for the Hero's Journey, Jeff Sandefer). You know that old pair of jeans you love? And you just can't get rid of them? Well compare them to this little "problem" you have. Now say these jeans have gotten pretty worn, and you've realized that along the seam it's starting to wear. But you keep wearing the jeans. You know it's there, you know it's a weakness. But you love those jeans! Then one fateful day something happens (you eat one too many eclairs, try to jump a fence, raid a jail. etc,) and they rip, right down the seams, and if that's not bad enough, with your luck you finally got that date with Jimmy Breaker like you wanted. Talk about the worst of times...

So before we get to that date we need to get rid of the jeans. And that means we need to go through the closet. 

There are three steps:

1. Take some quality think time for yourself. If you aren't comfortable sitting without yourself in the silence, it's probably about time for you to have a chat with yourself. Be kind but firm, bring paper and pen. While it may be rough initially, you'll feel relieved once it's done. 

2. Create a plan. Write out goals. Your plans should be specific and meaningful. You want these to work, so create them with that end in mind (so you're going to have to be honest with yourself). 

3. Keep going. We need to keep going and working at it. There's nothing that we can do perfectly from the get go. So you're going to fall down on your face a couple times, and you're going to have to stand back up. But you will win when you stand up one more time than you've fallen down. 

Keep up your hard work, and don't give up! Turn your Smaugs into Puffs, and your ratty jeans into Liz Claibornes. You've got this.  

- Shayla

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Trust in God, not Hubris

Talk about a crazy week! This whole business thing is proving to be fulfilling and stretching...but the good kind of stretch (the one that makes you realize that you've been slouching your whole life and you're really 5'6'' and not 5'5''). It's been a semester for learning and growth that's for sure. I love it. It's empowering to put your mind to something and then watch it happen. But there's a downside, sometimes when a lot of things go right, you feel like you can do no wrong, that any opportunity (no matter how shady it might be) should be taken. But beware!

We are risk takers yes, but honest ones. I have only gotten this far because of God, because He has (often unbeknownst to me) guided every step I take. If I want help from Him I need to qualify for it, and the best way to lose that help is to start acting like I don't need Him. Pride does that. You start to trust yourself more than you've trusted God. If you're me, a lot of things have gone right, and you assume it's because of your own supposed brilliance things are the way they are. Wrong.

When a man resorts to cheating, to lying, to stealing, they are in effect saying "Lord, it was fun while it lasted, but I've found a better, more effective, way. A way where I'm in control". We may not realize it, but that's what we say when we turn away from Him. But God blesses those who are honest, who have true integrity, and in the end, those are the ones that He can help.

We cannot make it in this life without God. We cannot reach our full potential without God. We cannot overcome the trials of life without God. We are nothing without God. It's hard, it hurts, but that's the hubris talking, and the sooner we admit that the better. We want to pick up and take our lives in our own hands, thinking that if it's all our idea that it's the best. But God has lived a lot longer than we have, seen a lot more lives than we have, and honestly done more than we have. I mean, when was the last time you created a planet? How about a human heart?

Trust Him, He knows what He's doing. There is no better being to have on your side than the Lord, no better help. Turn to Him and He will help you overcome it all. So be honest, be true, be a person of integrity and let God help you do it.


Wednesday, January 14, 2015

All, My Trials Lord...

One of the things that I really, really love about studying to be an entrepreneur, is the huge emphasis that is put on the importance of failing, of going through hard times, and following your gut.

As I was thinking about this, a song I grew listening to came to mind. My favorite version is sung by Peter, Paul, and Mary. The chorus opens up with "All, my trials Lord, soon be over." That's the day to day prayer of every college student I think; yet, the Lord has His own timing.

Patience is a well earned gift, and He really, really wants us to have that gift. So sometimes these trials may seem to go on for ages, but remember, who's the Master? Not you. Who sees the beginning from the end? Not you either.

Sometimes we are put through the refiner's fire, and we don't know why, we don't understand, but in the end, we see our real potential. We see what God would have us be. And the whole time He has us in His hands.

So here's a suggestion, take some time each day and pray to the Father asking to know Him better, to know His Son better. Strive daily to develop a relationship with them, and you'll find two things:
Faith and Patience.  And these will get you to the end of what the Lord would have you learn, and you'll see what He'd have you be.


Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Here's Some Dream Juice

So I know life is hard, that sometimes it's easy to want to curl up in the corner and sleep like Rip Van Winkle and only wake up after all the hard work is finished...but the thing is, if you don't do it, no one will. Your dreams are yours, no one can dream them for you, so if they're going to happen then it's your job, your responsibility to make it happen. But don't sweat. I truly believe that those inner desires we're given to be great, to be successful come from God. That as long as our endeavors are righteous and noble, He will help us get there.

So here's a clip by Ryan Shupe and the RubberBand to help you shake off the shackles of self doubt and disbelief.                        

You got this! 


Wednesday, January 7, 2015

The Beginning

This is supposed to be professional, and that is my goal in writing this journal, but forgive me if I get a little personal (or a lot) as I write down my thoughts and impressions. Learning what you want to do with your life is a big thing, but learning who you want to be is even bigger. 

As I was studying for my class Introduction to Entrepreneurship I was very impressed by the first chapter of the book A Field Guide for the Hero’s Journey, by Jeff Sandefer and Rev. Robert A. Sirico. To be frank, all I knew at this point was that I wanted to do something, to make something. But I hadn't committed fully to the idea of going big or going home. But as I was reading this sentence stuck out to me "Just about anyone can do great things, can live a life that's remarkable, purposeful, excellent, and yes, even heroic. If you want to be a hero, you can be" (emphasis added). I could be a hero. Wow. 

I continued with the assigned readings and just kept being blown away by the power and conviction of the writers, how their drive and determination kept them going on even when things got hard. I became more and more impressed that I can do something big if I wasn't too afraid to fail, if I wasn't too afraid to try. By the end of my readings, and after class I asked myself "am I too afraid to live?"

I realized that for much of my short life I had been too afraid. Hanging onto the things that I was naturally inclined to do, not pushing myself out. I haven't always been that way, I'm a pianist and pushed myself to perform and compete, but I'd hold back from poring everything I had into my pieces, afraid that if I were to give my whole heart to something and fail, that it'd break me. 

But as I was reading it occurred to me that was choosing between a failed moment(s) or a failed life. Well, I ask you, which would you prefer?

If there’s a single boiled down lesson that I could pick from my readings this week, it’s that I can do it. I’ll fail, a lot, but I can do it and I will. I’ll succeed eventually and find joy in that, and help others along the way. I want to dream, and then look up one day and see that dream change another person’s life.

So, did I learn something this week? You decide.