This post was inspired by Elder Bednar’s leadership training for church employees.
Act or Be Acted Upon
And now, my sons, I speak unto you these things for your profit and learning; for there is a God, and he hath created all things, both the heavens and the earth, and all things that in them are, both things to act and things to be acted upon.
“I just don’t know an undergirding principle more important than acting and not just sitting and waiting to be acted upon.” -Elder Bednar, A Conversation on Leadership
A few months ago in my High Priest Group I spent some time teaching on being a servant who is proactive rather than reactive. Serving in any position in life, whether secular or religious, you can easily spend most of your time reacting to problems, emails, assignments, etc. The habit of a true leader is when they are proactive or rather they act instead of being acted upon. They can put the emails aside for a time because they know certain action will get them closer to success than simply filling time being acted upon. For example, the task of simply attending your leadership meetings (PEC, Ward Council) gives you the feeling you are
busily accomplishing your leadership responsibilities. In reality the assignment to show up is acting upon you. To appropriately act it may require a good hour of preparation before hand to make sure you have beneficial input during the leadership meeting.
Some more examples…
ACTED UPON: Waiting for your priesthood leader to call you for the monthly home teaching report.
ACT: Calling your priesthood leader with your report and suggesting ideas for personal improvement.
ACTED UPON: Passively visiting a family that has been assigned to you.
ACT: Prayerfully strategizing with your priesthood leader how to more fully bless the families on your home teaching route and then following through.
ACTED UPON: Awaiting direction in a meeting from your priesthood leader.
ACT: Willfully suggesting ideas to improve your area of stewardship.
“You do not have permission to just sit there and wait for somebody to tell you how this is going to roll out. You have as much right to receive inspiration in relation to what happens in the physical plant as we do for the entire institution.” -Elder Bednar
Wherefore, now let every man learn his duty, and to act in the office in which he is appointed, in all diligence.100He that is slothful shall not be counted worthy to stand, and he that learns not his duty and shows himself not approved shall not be counted worthy to stand. Even so. Amen.
What examples have you experienced in your calling that having shown the effectiveness of acting rather than being acted upon?
How can this principle be taught more effectively to those we lead?