Sunday, August 1, 2010

Helping people improve. Being a missionary.

Sunrise here in Provo is an amazing thing. Hours pass, the sky slowly grows brighter, but the sun stays hidden behind the mountains… threatening to never rise. You wonder if the day will just go on without the sun ever arriving; it gets late enough that you have to move on to other things. And then, in an instant, rays of light stream over the mountains, lighting the sky and bringing full day to the valley below. Life the last few weeks has been sort of like a sunrise in Provo. Everything slowly grows brighter, and then it all falls together. Life is amazing.


I recorded my full studio vocalist demo Monday. It's 4-5 songs (depending on whether I want to make someone listen to opera) that I can send to producers and others. I'm not completely ecstatic about some of the songs I did, but it worked. I'm probably my worst critic. Just email me and ask for a copy of the demos - the help I'm asking this week is that you send them on to whomever you know in the music recording world who might be interested. I'm looking for opportunities to do what's called "studio singing" – recording songs or jingles or whatever that someone else has written who needs to find a voice to sing it. If you don't know anyone, then just keep your eyes and ears open.


Wednesday and Thursday I attended the Professional Career Workshop run by the local LDS Employment Resource Center. I went in skeptical of what they could say; the only advice I had gotten before from the center consisted of line items in my resume and filling out online profiles. But the class, which went from 9-4 both days, was actually a really good program. I was by far the youngest person there – the next youngest was 33 and the average age of the group or experienced professionals looking for work was probably 50. We learned about everything from negotiation to turning negatives in our resumes into positives. We wrote and presented 30-second concise statements introducing who we are, what we've done, and what we can bring to a company. And we practiced, and practiced, and practiced – even doing multiple mock interviews with live feedback from our coach and classmates who videotaped the interview. Just going for the networking side was worthwhile; one of the men already emailed me with a lead for a group of artists looking for children's book writers. If you know anyone looking for work, that might be a good thing to suggest. For me, the timing before my interview Friday couldn't have been better.


Friday I had a job / informational interview with the co-founder of a big consulting firm here in Provo. It had been scheduled to take place at their corporate office, but was changed that day to a meeting at his house – located in a gated community in north Provo. I wasn't sure if a shiny office or someone's private mansion was the more intimidating setting. I had no idea what to expect (Is he going to give me advice? Offer a job? Just talk?), since the interview had come from networking contacts – so I wore a white shirt, tie, and carried a copy of my resume. When I arrived and met the guy, he was smiling, wearing shorts, and barefoot. We went outside to talk next to his pool and I was greeted by a massive dog that promptly began smelling everything from my shoes to my hair, coating me with inch-long gold hair in the process. The interview was sort of shocking; he ran it like a job interview mixed with personal advice on how to move up in the company. He had chosen a potential job for me within 10 minutes of beginning the conversation. I also met his wife, who happens to have written a motivational book about finding symbolism in everyday life (we're exchanging manuscripts). It was over an hour and a half long, and we only stopped talking because he needed to get ready to leave for the Middle East. As he led me back to the front door, he commented that the interview wasn't normal for him, either. "I'm not this positive for every interview. I really enjoyed this," he said… and assured me that I should expect a call from them very soon. Wow.


My thoughts this week, though (outside of stress for jobs and moving into an apartment), are on missionary work. Someone asked me a few days ago how I thought we could have the same blessings that missionaries have in the mission – being guided by the Lord, protected from temptation, amazingly happy. After thinking for a moment, I realized that the answer was actually amazingly simple. It's the same outline for every blessing; in D&C 131 it says "…when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated." You want a blessing? You follow the law that brings that blessing. You want the blessings of being a missionary? You follow the same laws as a missionary. You do what a missionary does.


Applying it to life is where most people I know just give up. They say, "We can't have the blessings of being a missionary since we can't dedicate ourselves to sharing the gospel full-time." Missionaries all over the world share the gospel in different ways. They follow a diligent schedule. They pray for guidance in building the kingdom. They study for themselves and others. They make plans. They reach out and help others. And those things everyone can do. As far as working during the day, some missionaries serve by teaching English classes to government officials. Sounds like an English teacher to me. Others sing in choirs and performances. Others do family history, or answer telephones, or serve in the temple. Others work to help with natural disasters. Missionaries do a lot more than just knock doors and stop people on the street; in reality, every honest job can be approached like a missionary would… and over time the things that each of us does in our lives, every day, become sublime.


Each of us had things that we do during the day. Cleaning a house, talking with others, working in our chosen (or current) career; but no matter what we do, we can be constantly helping others improve. The Lord has all blessings in store for us. We just need to ask for and live worthily to receive them. So that's my invitation this week. Look at your life and make it into missionary work. Everything in your life. Find meaning in the mundane things – folding laundry or counting cash in a drawer… and your attitude will turn you towards the Lord. You'll be more willing to ask Him for help, and He will help you. I know that He loves us, and that, for Him, all things have meaning beyond what we see. Everything He created in life is a symbol to help us think of the divine. As you strive to find that meaning, life will become richer… and you'll have a greater influence for good. Go out and be missionaries!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Custom Search