Tag Archive for: change

Anxious About Something?

Everyone will experience anxiety feelings from time to time – its a normal human emotion!
However – “too much anxious opening of the oven door and the cake falls instead of rising. So it is with us. If we are always selfishly taking our own temperatures to see if we are happy, we will not be.” – Neal A Maxwell.
So – what can I do to change?
In recent coaching discussions and from experience – its wise to slow down a little and pay close attention to what you’re thinking!
Doubtful, fearful, negative, unrealistic, or self-critical thoughts can trigger anxiety.
Stop what you’re doing for a while, sit still, close your eyes, and breathe deeply.
Make a firm commitment to focus on healthy, positive, determined and realistic thinking.
What can you do to leave the oven door closed today?


“What do you mean by reframing?”…asked the missionary.
In response I said, “Well, what I mean by reframing, is that you see a current situation from a different perspective.”
Essentially, reframing can help you see things differently, all of which can be really helpful in problem solving, decision making and learning.
Over many years in my coaching practice, I’d often use reframing to help someone become unstuck.
Similarly, I find it regularly in coaching interviews with missionaries too.
For example, a missionary may say, “I really doubt that I can do anything about this issue.”
In response, I know I’m likely to say something such as “So, what is one small step that you can take?”
I often find myself moving from the past to the future with missionaries too.
Oftentimes I’ve heard a comment like “I’ve never been good at speaking with people.”
If I hear that kind of comment, my response is something like “If you imagine yourself being successful in speaking with others, what would that look like and feel like?”
Changing the language you use is helpful.
For instance, a missionary may say “I am really struggling with my new companion, I don’t understand him, and we just don’t connect at all.”
Reframing that could look like this “Getting to know a new companion can take a lot of time and work. I have done it before successfully. It’s very rewarding and a great opportunity to learn something new about myself and others.”
Reframing is allowing yourself the opportunity to reinterpret a situation in a way, that is going to help you move through the challenge faced.
By reframing a threat to a challenge, can help us to feel courageous.
In summary, reframing an experience can give you access to more productive and positive thoughts, feelings, and behaviours.
What is your favourite reframing tactic?

And we’re off! (again)

The 𝐨𝐧𝐥𝐲 constant in life is 𝒄𝒉𝒂𝒏𝒈𝒆.
Fasten your seatbelts everyone!!!
Change in the mission field accelerates at an unprecedented speed.
Yet, our six-week mission transfer cycle ensures that the pace of change is also predictable.
While this is overwhelming for some, it isn’t going to stop anytime soon!
If you are serving as a missionary in any one of the 416 missions around the world, you’ll need to keep up!
The work of salvation is hastening even faster, there is an increased urgency and speeding up of the work, is an absolute, it is a given!
So how do you keep up?
Maintaining a regular constant regime of learning, through daily routines can really help.
In our mission, like others, there is a strong focus on 𝐥𝐞𝐚𝐫𝐧𝐢𝐧𝐠.
We decelerate on a few occasions too, in order to accelerate once more.
Slowing down in our Mission Leadership Council, Zone Councils, District Councils, Zone Conferences, weekly huddle calls and 1-1 personal coaching sessions with every missionary, allows each of us to catch our breath just long enough, communicate, have some deep dialogue, get aligned, then set the right attentions and intentions for the remainder of the transfer.
I have experienced that our environment of constant change is as natural as breathing.
But, like anything else, it takes time to adjust and find your rhythm.
Weaving agility, flexibility, adaptation, and resilience into our personal DNA help us feel comfortable.
Ultimately, change happens through people.
I have learned that if you want to keep pace with change and tackle future changes, then the 𝐤𝐞𝐲 is to 𝒉𝒆𝒍𝒑 𝒑𝒆𝒐𝒑𝒍𝒆 𝒕𝒐 𝒄𝒉𝒂𝒏𝒈𝒆 𝒕𝒉𝒆𝒎𝒔𝒆𝒍𝒗𝒆𝒔.
How do you manage to keep up with change?

Forgotten Wedges

I want to share part of a talk given by Spencer W. Kimball in April 1966.
“There came to my mind an article by Samuel T. Whitman entitled “Forgotten Wedges.”
I had learned to use wedges when I was a lad in Arizona, it being my duty to supply wood for many fires in the big house. May I quote Whitman:

The Iron Wedge

“The ice storm wasn’t generally destructive. True, a few wires came down, and there was a sudden jump in accidents along the highway. Walking out of doors became unpleasant and difficult. It was disagreeable weather, but it was not serious. Normally, the big walnut tree could easily have borne the weight that formed on its spreading limbs. It was the iron wedge in its heart that caused the damage.
“The story of the iron wedge began years ago when the white-haired farmer was a lad on his father’s home- stead. The sawmill had then only recently been moved from the valley, and the settlers were still finding tools and odd pieces of equipment scattered about. . . .
“On this particular day, it was a faller’s wedge; — wide, flat, and heavy, a foot or more long, and splayed from mighty poundings. The path from the south pasture did not pass the wood- shed; and, because he was already late for dinner, the lad laid the wedge . . . between the limbs of the young walnut tree his father had planted near the front gate. He would take the wedge to the shed right after dinner, or sometime when he was going that way.
“He truly meant to, but he never did. It was there between the limbs, a little tight, when he attained his manhood. It was there, now firmly gripped, when he married and took over his father’s farm. It was half grown over on the day the threshing crew ate dinner under the tree. . . . Grown in and healed over, the wedge was still in the tree the winter the ice storm came.
“In the chill silence of that wintry night, with the mist like rain sifting down and freezing where it fell, one of the three major limbs split away from the trunk and crashed to the ground. This so unbalanced the remainder of the top that it, too, split apart and went down. When the storm was over, not a twig of the once proud tree remained.
“Early the next morning, the farmer went out to mourn his loss.
‘Wouldn’t have had that happen for a thousand dollars,’ he said.
‘Prettiest tree in the valley, that was.’
“Then, his eyes caught sight of something in the splintered ruin. ‘The wedge,’ he muttered reproachfully.
‘The wedge I found in the south pasture.’ A glance told him why the tree had fallen. Growing edge-up in the trunk, the wedge had prevented the limb fibers from knitting together as they should.”
𝑭𝒐𝒓𝒈𝒐𝒕𝒕𝒆𝒏 𝒘𝒆𝒅𝒈𝒆𝒔!
Hidden weaknesses grown over and invisible, waiting until some winter night to work their ruin.
What better symbolizes the presence and the effect of sin in our lives?
This brings to my memory some verses I heard long years ago entitled:
𝐉𝐢𝐦 𝐃𝐢𝐞𝐝 𝐓𝐨𝐝𝐚𝐲
Around the corner I have a friend, In this great city which has no end;
Yet, days go by and weeks rush on, And before I know it a year has gone.
And I never see my old friend’s face; For life is a swift and terrible race.
He knows I like him just as well As in the days when I rang his bell
And he rang mine.
We were younger then
And now we are busy tired men —
Tired with playing the foolish game; Tired with trying to make a name;
Tomorrow, I say, I will call on Jim, Just to show I’m thinking of him.
But tomorrow comes and tomorrow goes;
And the distance between us grows and grows
Around the corner! Yet miles away — Here’s a telegram, sir — “Jim died today!”
And that’s what we get — and deserve
in the end — Around the corner, a vanished friend.
Finally, I’d like to quote more lines from Whitman:
“Pride, envy, selfishness, dishonesty, intemperance, doubt, secret passions — almost numberless in variety and degree are the wedges of sin. And alas! almost numberless are the men and women who today are allowing sin to grow in the heart wood of their lives.
“The wedge is there. We know it is there. We put it there ourselves one day, when we were hurried and thoughtless. It shouldn’t be there, of course. It is harming the tree. But we are busy so we leave it there; and in time, it grows over and we forget. The years slip swiftly by. Wintertime comes with its storms and ice. The life we prized so much goes down in the unspeakable loss of spiritual disaster. For years after the wedge had grown over, the tree flourished and gave no sign of its inner weakness. Thus it is with sin.”
I commend the Spencer W. Kimball talk to you. Why not look it up?
𝐖𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐰𝐞𝐝𝐠𝐞(𝐬) 𝐝𝐨 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐧𝐞𝐞𝐝 𝐭𝐨 𝐫𝐞𝐦𝐨𝐯𝐞 𝐢𝐧 𝐲𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐥𝐢𝐟𝐞?

Time is Life

𝐓𝐢𝐦𝐞 𝐢𝐬 𝐋𝐢𝐟𝐞.

It is irreversible and irreplaceable.

This year has been very different from others gone by.

For the last 10 years, I’d coach circa 15 people one on one, and have around 100 – 200, sixty-to-ninety-minute coaching conversations a year, in amongst my many other professional activities.

This year, I’ve coached circa 150 people one on one, and have had around 1000 – 1200, twenty-to-forty-minute coaching conversations, in amongst my many other missionary activities.

It’s been a little busier, very different, more intensive and a little more tiring too!

However, I absolutely love it!

In amongst all of those coaching conversations, there have been many incredible discoveries made.
Amongst the many coaching techniques, I frequently use, is a very simple one, it’s akin to judo.

The word judo consists of two Japanese characters, ju, which means “gentle”, and do, which means “the way”.

Judo, therefore, literally means the gentle way.

I did say it was simple!

This is the model.

• Invite them to share their story
• Ask questions, to create curiosity and to explore their journey.
• Share a personal story as an alternative view.
• Review – what can I do better?

As you review 2022 and reflect upon all that has gone by, perhaps you can ask yourself this question too…

“What could I have done better?”


Are you putting things off – again!?
Aren’t you tired of that lame old excuse?
Have you considered and reflected upon what really matters most in your life recently?
Far too frequently do you allow distractions of the world to cloud and distort your judgement, causing you to delay making important decisions in life? Is that you perhaps?
Procrastination is a stubborn enemy for many of us.
For some it will raise its head, over and over and over again.

“Procrastination is my sin.
It brings me naught but sorrow.
I know that I should stop it.
In fact, I will — tomorrow!”

— Attributed to Gloria Pitzer

Many, many years ago, I was given a little gift – similar to the picture above.
It was a “𝐑𝐎𝐔𝐍𝐃 𝐓𝐔𝐈𝐓”
I am sure many of you will have seen one, or may have given or received one.
Today – I wish to gift a virtual one to everyone!
Now is the time. Seize the day…!
Set out to accomplish those things that need to be done.
Change your perspective – reframe.
By doing so, it will enable you to see that things that seemed so important only a moment ago, are actually of little interest.
Don’t let those unimportant things distract you from what really matters most. Your life, your happiness, your family, a career that you enjoy, an organisation that has values congruent with your own.
Step back.
Take action.
Apply this virtual gift today.
……What do you need to consider?

Choose to Play

“𝐁𝐮𝐭 𝐈 𝐣𝐮𝐬𝐭 𝐰𝐚𝐧𝐭 𝐭𝐨 𝐩𝐥𝐚𝐲!
“𝐍𝐨𝐭 𝐨𝐧 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐛𝐞𝐧𝐜𝐡…𝐚𝐠𝐚𝐢𝐧!? – 𝐍𝐨 𝐧𝐨𝐭 𝐦𝐞!”
Why me? Perhaps the better question is why not me?
All too frequently as a teenager – that’s where I found myself in the High School Basketball team. I just wanted to play in the game.
I wanted a jersey, I didn’t want to sit on the sidelines – I simply wanted to play!
In my youthfulness and eagerness to play, long hours of practice and effort eventually paid off, and I became a regular starter – playing constantly.
I learned too, that sometimes when you are not playing well, the coach can take you out of the game.
Similarly in life, I want to be where the action is.
Sitting on the sidelines is just not for me.
At home, at work, in the community I need to be involved, I need to play, to make a difference.
As Oliver Wendell Holmes said “It is required of a man that he share the action and the passion of his time at the peril of being judged not to have lived.”
Whatever it is that is most important in your life…
– choose to be engaged
– choose to participate
– choose to practice and expend the effort
– choose to get involved
– choose to make a difference
Decide now to get up off the bench, move from the sidelines and into the field of action – 𝒄𝒉𝒐𝒐𝒔𝒆 𝒕𝒐 𝒑𝒍𝒂𝒚!
What will you choose to do today?

Face the Fear!

“Aren’t you a little nervous?” asked the missionaries. “Not really” I said, “well maybe a tiny wee bit!”
And off we strode to stand out front of the theatre in Amsterdam yesterday.
What a hoot we had, talking to those exiting the theatre. It was fun. I really enjoyed myself as I talked with many people about their experience.
Several times I was invited to see the musical, “it is great entertainment,” said many.
Entertainment – “the action of providing or being provided with amusement or enjoyment, or diversion provided especially by performers.”
My response was “no thank you, perhaps you’d like to read the book instead.”
The official church statement about the musical reads:
“The production may attempt to entertain audiences for an evening, but the Book of Mormon as a volume of scripture will change people’s lives forever by bringing them closer to Christ.”
The Book of Mormon certainly changed my live – forever!
I met Tom, a production assistant, touring with the show. We talked for a while, and I shared a copy of the Book of Mormon with him.

Face the Fear

I was overwhelmed by the fearlessness of all the missionaries. With faith they were able to quiet their hearts in the midst of the confusion and uncertainty in the moments that followed.
It is a daunting task!
Yet, each one of them with great courage spoke to the very best of their ability, addressing complete strangers, over and over again.
To young men and women everywhere – have faith against fear, faith with great courage and conviction in Him who will not forget us or leave us alone.
All missionaries teach and testify of our Saviour – Jesus Christ.
In General Conference yesterday, President Russell M. Nelson said; “His gospel is the only answer when many in the world are stunned with fear. We have the sacred responsibility to share the power and peace of Jesus Christ with all who will listen and who will let God prevail in their lives.
The spiritual darkness in the world makes the light of Jesus Christ needed more than ever. Everyone deserves the chance to know about the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. Every person deserves to know where they can find the hope and peace that “[passes] all understanding” (Philippians 4:7).”
If you’ve seen the play, then I’d suggest you may want to read the book, as I know the Book of Mormon changes lives for the better, and it can change yours too.

Lessons that change us

𝐋𝐞𝐬𝐬𝐨𝐧𝐬 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐝𝐨𝐧’𝐭 𝐜𝐡𝐚𝐥𝐥𝐞𝐧𝐠𝐞 𝐮𝐬 𝐫𝐚𝐫𝐞𝐥𝐲 𝐜𝐡𝐚𝐧𝐠𝐞 𝐮𝐬 – Brad Wilcox
This is a cracking photo of two young missionaries, returning home exhausted, after another long hard day. This was outside our Stowe Road apartment in Shepherd’s Bush, London – in January 1984. I’d been out only a few weeks in the England London Mission.
I had the best trainer ever in Kelley Gray
Times never to be forgotten.
Those were the days!!
Every day those lessons in the mission field challenged me.
More significantly, they changed me.
Now, as Monic and I lead the Belgium Netherlands Mission, frequently I see great power and wisdom in the phrase “𝒍𝒆𝒔𝒔𝒐𝒏𝒔 𝒕𝒉𝒂𝒕 𝒅𝒐𝒏’𝒕 𝒄𝒉𝒂𝒍𝒍𝒆𝒏𝒈𝒆 𝒖𝒔 𝒓𝒂𝒓𝒆𝒍𝒚 𝒄𝒉𝒂𝒏𝒈𝒆 𝒖𝒔.”
For all who have served or are currently serving, I am absolutely certain each of you will know exactly what I mean.
That said, these lessons don’t only take place in the mission field.
What lessons have challenged and changed you?


“Wees niet bang om fouten te maken, iedereen die een nieuwe taal leert, maakt fouten!”

In other words, don’t be afraid to make mistakes, anyone who learns a new language makes mistakes!

After a few months in the Netherlands, words to that affect frequently run through my mind.

That said however, I had a funny experience at Schiphol Airport last week, whilst picking up the new arriving missionaries.

Whilst Monic and I, along with Elder Ornelas were waiting for the final missionary to arrive at Gate 2, I was approached by a complete stranger, looking for directions to the other arrival gates 3 & 4.

Having just come from gate 3, I gave him the directions in my best Dutch, pointing at the same time…

“Ga rechtdoor, dan rechtsaf, 100 meter rechtdoor en dan is het aan u rechterhand”

He thanked me and then headed off in that direction.

I turned back to Monic and Elder Ornelas, and it struck me that this was very similar to that moment when Elder Calhoun in the movie “The Best Two Years” directed a complete stranger at the railway station.  For those of you who have seen the movie, you will recall that precise moment.  If you haven’t see the movie – then watch it, it has to be one of the best movies about life in the mission field.

We laughed together as we talked about the movie and Elder Calhoun!

In that moment, I realised without thinking that my Dutch is improving!!

What is improving for you right now, that you may not have noticed?