On January 2, I left for Tucson, Arizona. For work I help coordinate professional development conferences for association and chamber professionals. You can learn more about the program here. Our first conference took place January 5-9 at the University of Arizona in Tucson. Those who attend the program four times receive the IOM recognition, signifying 96 credit hours of nonprofit management instruction. Well, not only was I working the conference, but I also was a participant. This was my fourth time participating in the program, and consequently, I too recieved the IOM recognition! I am now officially Meghan Morgan, IOM.
The University of Arizona is a beautiful campus. Nearly everyday I was able to go walking down the main street of the campus. Usually it was morning time, and I loved watching the sun begin to rise over the mountains. As a girl from the east, it was fascinating that on my walks I would see both palm trees and mountains. I loved it.
After a great week in Tucson, I headed up to Phoenix to see one of my favorite people, Sara Picard! We had the opportunity to serve together as missionaries for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. When you begin your service as a missionary, you spend time in one of the Missionary Training Centers (MTC) throughout the world. Sara and I went to the MTC in Provo, Utah. She was the missionary I was assigned (blessed) to be companions with at the MTC. We were also able to serve together in Nauvoo, Illinois. Sara is one of those people who knows me well enough that without me even saying a word she’ll know what I am thinking (and vice versa).
While visiting Sara, we had the opportunity to attend a conference for LDS young adults living in the Phoenix area. The speakers at the conference were excellent. My favorites include Mitt Romney, Stephanie Nielson, Alex Boye, and Thurl Bailey. Below are some of my takeaways from the messages they shared:
“The scale of our service is not the measure of our success. Our success is the scale of our compassion.” – Mitt Romney.
Govenor Romney’s message was centered on defining success, not as the world sees it but as God sees it. He said that if we are to judge our success based on what the world would classify as success, then we are leaving our success and happiness up to serendipity and chance. If we do that, could we be successful? Possibly. Could we be happy? Possibly. But if we want sure success and sure happiness, we need to focus on that which is of God. We need to focus on loving and serving others, and humbly fulfill the duties that are ours to fulfill no matter who is watching.
Stephanie Nielson (you can find her blog here)
Stephanie and her husband were burned in a plane crash a few years back. She counseled those in the audience to remember that everyone has scars. We may not always see those scars, but they are there. Consequently, we should love everyone.
Alex has to be one of the most energetic speakers I have ever listened to. His main message was to believe in yourself (and the power of God) and to seek after the things that you want and not limit your potential through doubt and disbelief. He advised us to not judge our lives in the moment, but believe we will achieve greatness. He cautioned that when we focus or become so hung up on only a snapshot of our life we limit our potential.
I am going to be honest here and say I had no idea who Thurl Bailey was until this conference… Clearly, I am not a Utah Jazz fan (or NBA fan in general). Thurl’s message was so inspiring. He shared the story of his journey to become a basketball player. When Thurl first tried out in middle school, he didn’t make the team (two years in a row)! In fact, after the second year, the basketball coach told Thurl not to even come out for the team the next year. Well, the next year, the school got a new coach, and Thurl did try out. And he made it! But he didn’t make it necessarily because he was good, but because the coach saw great potential in him. As I listened to Thurl speak, my mind started thinking about potential and how important it is that we all look for the potential in others, and not doubt the potential of another person. It’s so amazing how when even just one person acknowledges and encourages the potential in another person, great things happen (e.g. Thurl Baily and his coach, Esther and Mordecai, Joseph Smith and his family, etc.) I imagine that all greatness that has been achieved throughout the world’s history can be attributed to the belief of one person in another person’s potential.
I had a great time in Arizona, but I am also grateful to be back!