The Un-Final: This is more of a new beginning.


Since 2000, I have known that I would be involved in the social sector.  However, I learned that involvement in the social sector was not enough. I crave social innovation. I want to be part of something that actually solves the world’s greatest problems.  My unique takeaways from this class regard: my fit, root cause and flow of power/ power maps.

My Fit

Historically I fell into the mental fallacy that the most influential individuals were those that worked with the “one.” These are the overworked and underpaid front line employees who dedicate their lives to social work, childcare, teaching, etc.  This created an internal battle for me because I think the front line is exhausting. My life question became “can I find fulfillment in work, make world changes and feel invigorated?”  The answer I found is “yes.”

Although the world needs many people to work with the “one” the world also needs people to participate in organizations at various capacities. In fact, often it is non-front line individuals who can reach the masses, the policy makers, the voters, etc.

This class has helped me embrace, guilt-free, that I’ll never aspire to be Mother Theresa (the all-time best front liner). I still want to do great things, but I want to approach them from a predominately non-front line position. I would still like to have a pulse on the front line activities because I believe it will help me be more effective with policies, programs, campaign creation, etc. Ideally I’ll be involved with the front line 20% of the time (after all even though it can be draining, it is also extremely rewarding).

Regarding Root Cause

There are so many causes I am passionate about.  I have limited time and resources to dedicate myself to the many world problems. As a result, I have easily been drawn to organizations that solve symptoms.  For example, Sub-for-Santa, I can spend 20 minutes at Target picking out a gift.  I feel warm and fuzzy thinking about the kids expression on Christmas morning.  Check.  I have done my service for the day. Symptoms are “fun” to address because they have the quick emotional reward.  However, this does not address why the child’s family is poor.  What if I could find the root cause for the families impoverished situation and as a result they would have enough money for food, shelter and life’s large joys.

I am now more critical about putting my life’s work into “symptom alleviating” organizations. I am dedicated to working for the social sector and because of this class I am committed to find employment exclusively with organizations that address root cause. That being said, if I have the time and money, I will be happy to contribute to select organizations like Sub-for-Santa.

Flow of Power/Power Map

Since my time and resources are limited, I want to make sure I am making the greatest impact with my personal skill set and talents.  Looking at flow of power in our Midterm assignment has helped me find the holes in world issues and where the biggest changes take place. My goal is to find holes that align with my passions and talents.

When I find the holes, Todd’s power map lecture taught me how to assess and approach power. I was given great tools to start practicing. Strategically I can be effective by approaching things in a new way, asking different questions, finding allies, figuring out “what’s in it for the person who holds the power”, etc.

I have been putting these concepts into practice and will continue to work on developing these skills.


Much of my self-reflection is based on maintaining a balanced life.

I am constantly reflecting and working on maintaining balance of the:

  1. Spirit (peace of mind, relationship with God, etc.)
  2. Mind (learning, pursuing new talents/hobbies)
  3. Body (health and fitness)
  4. Relationships (creating and maintaining long lasting connections)

When I have these four items in balance, God has directed me to do things beyond my perceived capacity.  Each time I have been stretched I have learned many new things.

My life becomes out of balance because I naturally lean towards learning new things and spending time with people (preferably those that I can engage with in interesting/dynamic/funny conversations).  My favorite way to learn is actually through people.

As a result, I have had to spend more of a concerted effort on fostering the spirit and body.

I have learned that if I do not spend enough time caring for my body and spirit, my mind is not as sharp and I feel more like an attention-deficit leaf in the wind.  Letting life take me wherever it wishes. Jumping from one exciting thing to the next. I like the carefree mentality of the leaf but in regards to life fulfillment and over all “depth” of life it leaves one wanting.

In regards to layered learning here is what I have on queue:

  • Mind goals: I hope to join the Ballard Center book club, take at least one academic course per semester, and talk with Todd about “next steps” for my career. I will also be writing down all of the classes that are of interest and prayerfully deciding which ones will be have the greatest impact to my life’s mission.
  • Body goals include: drinking more water, Zumba twice a week and either an entry level dance class or tennis.
  • Spirit goals: Get involved with the BYU meditation group, document when I feel the spirit, and seek more opportunities for daily service.
  • Relationship goals: Building stronger connections with close friends through increasing vulnerability, acts of love, and quality time.