November 09, 2012

6 Steps to Achieve Your Goals

Part of our trip to Utah I was able to speak several times to students about life and what I do for work. Some have said, “ …that is not much of a holiday” and they are right, the first few days in my hometown were packed with assemblies and presentations—yet, I enjoyed it. (hopefully the students did too).

My hope was that those students could see that I too sat where they were sitting when I was a student. I had no idea what I wanted become or what career to pursue. I did not even know that the Foreign Service existed! Yet here I am. My goal was to show them that no matter what their family is like, how wealthy they were, what they looked like, or how they come from a small town, they could still succeed and accomplish their dreams!

I started out at the High School Assembly by telling them that in my Senior Yearbook my “Ambition” under my photo says: “To travel the world and get paid for it!” I am lucky that I have a job that I am doing just that. I then gave them the following steps to make their dreams and ambitions come true—no matter what they are:

1-      Set Goals
a.       Set  concrete goals
b.      Write them down
c.       Remember: “Eventually you hit what you aim for; therefore, aim high!--Henry David Thoreau”
2-      Believe in Yourself
a.       Because I believed I could do it I was able to get my job in the Foreign Service and publish a book—WHITE LILIES IN AUTUMN
3-      Surround Yourself with people that Support You
a.       People along your journey will tell you that you cannot do it or that you should not try, don’t believe them
4-      Work for it
a.       Never quit!
b.      Nothing is just handed to you, you have to work for it and work hard.
5-      Take Opportunities that Come Your Way
a.       I was able to learn Tagalog. I wanted to learn Chinese or Spanish to have a language useful outside of the Host Country, but now I have been on TV and Radio several times and have multiple service opportunities in the Philippines because of it
b.      Things may not go as you had planned, but as opportunities come the journey becomes unique and wonderful
6-      Be Thankful for What you Have
a.       We are given so much growing up in the United States
b.      There are people that do not get to go to school as youth because they have to work so their family can eat
c.       There are people that live in homes that we could never imagine.
d.      THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A BAD DAY! Bad things happen, but among the bad things there are myriads of positive, uplifting and merciful things that happen.

I enjoyed speaking to the High School. I hope that they students were able to get something out of it.

The elementary school was fun in a different way. I did five different presentations to them. The sixth grade was interested in my book and what life was like in the Philippines. Details about driving, money and homes here. I had to laugh when one of them raised his hand and asked, “Aren’t you so glad to be back in Utah and eat normal food?’’ I had to pause and think about it and then tell him that after you live in several places, there IS no such thing as NORMAL food. All of it is different and good in its own way. Lady Hiva and I have learned to love the food we eat no matter where we live.

The Fifth Grade is learning about American Government and so the presentation was all about what I do for work and how the government functions. They were very educated and informed kids. I was impressed with their answers and questions. 

The younger grades were more interested in seeing photos of the cars people drive, food they eat, and hearing stories about the cool things that are in the Philippines. They laughed, gagged and talked at all the right places during my presentation! It was a good time! I hope that they know there are so many opportunities out there for them to take. Most of all I hope they build their courage to take the risks!


  1. Look at all these school things you did. Maybe you should be a teacher next! :) I wish I could've been there for some. Looks fun!

  2. Lots of exciting things for you and Hiva. You are such great examples of giving back! We wish we could have seen you guys during your trip but we expected your schedule to be super packed already :D. Next time!