By Utah National Parks Council
Aug 20, 2017

Let Them Lead: Leading Yourself

In 3rd Nephi 12:28, the Lord says, “Therefore I would that ye should be perfect even as I, or your father who is in heaven is perfect.” Though perfection may seem out of reach for us, we know that with Heavenly Father’s help and the power of Jesus Christ’s atonement, we can become better and more like them little by little.

President Henry B. Eyring said,

“The message of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ is that we can and must expect to become better as long as we live.

Prepare yourself spiritually

In order to lead others, you must first learn to lead yourself. This includes having a vision for your future, setting goals, and working every day to achieve those goals. Having a sense of your eternal potential will help you lead yourself to the realization of Heavenly Father’s plan for you.

What is your vision for your earthly and eternal future? What are you doing every day to grow a little closer to your Father in Heaven? How can you help the youth you teach to work toward perfection?

What is your vision for the future? Has it changed over the course of Zion’s Camp?

Do the youth see their own eternal potential? Do they know how to work to get there?

Prayerfully study these scriptures and resources. What do you feel inspired to share with the youth?

1 Nephi 2:9 (River running to fountain of righteousness)
2 Nephi 2:25 (Men are that they might have joy)
2 Nephi 9:46 (Prepare yourself)
Mosiah 2:19 (Thank your Heavenly King)
3rd Nephi 12:28, Matthew 5:48 (be ye perfect)
Mormon 9:27 (work out our own salvation)
Doctrine and Covenants 38:30 (Prepared, shall not fear)
Doctrine and Covenants 58:27 (Anxiously engaged)
Doctrine and Covenants 76:24 (We are children of God)
Doctrine and Covenants 101:78 (agency)
Joseph Smith History 1:1-19, 27-53 (Joseph’s example)
President Henry B. Eyring “Our Perfect Example” October 2009.
President Dieter F. Uchtdorf “The Power of a Personal Testimony” October 2006
Robert D. Hales “Making Righteous Choices at the Crossroads of Life” October 1988
Richard G. Scott “Trust in the Lord” October 1995
Richard G. Scott “Healing your Damaged Life” Oct. 1992

Video: “All I Needed”

Other resources from your personal experience and inspiration

Teaching in the Savior’s way

The Savior trusted His disciples, prepared them, and gave them important responsibilities to teach, bless, and serve others. How can you prepare the youth to teach others what they learn?

Teaching tip: Watch this video to learn how to get to know the youth and show that you love them: “Know and Love Us”


Make connections

During the first few minutes of this session, help the youth make connections between what they are learning in various settings (such as quorum and class meetings, BYC, Mutual, other church meetings, skill challenges, personal study or other experiences).

How can you help them see the relevance of what they’re learning in their lives? The ideas below might help:

  • Invite the youth to share an experience that helped them understand the things they have learned about communication, vision, and goal-setting.
  • How have these changed the way they’ve interacted this week?
  • Ask the youth what it means to be a good leader. Have them describe the best leader they personally know. What is that person like? Give them time to share their thoughts.

Learn Together

Each of the activities below will help the young men and women understand the importance of leading themselves as they work toward worthy goals. Complete each of the three sections by prayerfully selecting one or more activity in each section that resonates with you and will work best for your class or quorum:

  1. Discuss the importance of having a personal vision
    Choose from these activities:
  • Play: The Identity Game–Hawk, Snake, Coyote
    Play this  in an open area. Prepare the area by stretching a rope on the ground to separate the area into two equal parts. Mark the back boundaries of the two parts about 50 feet behind, and parallel to, the center rope. 
    Divide the group into two teams. Each team huddles, and
    members decide whether they will all be hawks, snakes, or coyotes.
    The teams face each other across the center line. At the game leader’s signal, members of each team assume the sign of the animal decided upon by their team:
    „ Hawks – Arms outstretched as wings
    „ Coyotes – Hands cupped against the head as ears
    „ Snakes – Palms held together and the hands making a slithering motion
    The key to the game is this:
    „ Hawks get snakes.
    „ Snakes get coyotes.
    „ Coyotes get hawks.
    Thus, if team A has chosen to be hawks and team B shows the sign for snakes, the snakes must run to the safety of their back line before being tagged by the hawks. Likewise, if team A shows the sign for coyotes and team B shows the sign for snakes, the coyotes must run for safety or be tagged by the snakes.
    Each person who is tagged becomes a member of the other team for the next round of the game. The game continues for eight to 10 rounds. The numbers on each team will ebb and flow as participants are tagged and change sides.
    At the end of the game, gather the youth to the instruction area and ask what they learned about playing the game successfully. Bring out this idea: You’ve got to know whether you’re a hawk, a snake, or a coyote. Once you know that, then you can use what you know about yourself to decide what you’re going to do—whether you’re going to run for safety or try to tag the other team.
    Apply that idea to leading yourself: We all have our own sets of strengths and ways of doing things. We each have experiences that helped make us be who we are today and are influenced by our parents, teachers, religious leaders, friends, and neighbors. We also have the freedom to choose much of who we will be, what guidelines we choose to follow. Understanding as much as we can about who we are is a basic part of leadership.
  • Ask the youth, what does it mean to lead yourself? Allow them to respond. Explain that before we can lead others well, we need to be able to lead ourselves. One way to lead yourself is to answer three questions:
  1. Where am I now?
  2. Where do I want to be?
  3. How do I close the gap between where I am now and where I want to be?

Share a simple example of how this might work (mountain climber, student, etc.). Ask youth for a few more examples from school, church, their family, sports, etc. Compare knowing where you want to be with having a personal vision of what future success looks like. Explain that later in the week, the youth will develop their personal vision. For now, they need to start thinking about where they are now and where they want to be. Think big. Where do they want to be in 10 years? 25 years? Have them write some ideas in their journals.

  • Other activities to demonstrate importance of personal vision as you are inspired.
  1. Help each youth recognize at least one new way of thinking about himself or herself.
    Choose from these activities:
  • Have everyone cross their arms, then recross them the opposite way. Discuss comfort level with difference and the fact that there is no right way. For some people, right over left feels more natural, for others it’s left over right. Ask all right-handed participants to raise their hands, then ask a show of hands of those who are left-handed. Ask a show of hands of people with blue eyes, then of those whose eyes are brown. Some traits (like which way we feel better crossing our arms) may have no clear explanation, but they are still part of who we are.
    Emphasize the fact that to lead yourself well, you need to know as much about yourself as you can. Who you are is not just whether you are a coyote, a hawk, or a snake. Who you are is not just how tall you are or the color of your eyes or what kind of music you like, but also how you make decisions when you are with other people and how you make decisions when you are alone. Encourage the youth to think about the traits that make them who they are. How do they see themselves? How do they think others see them? What about Heavenly Father? Have them write down some qualities they possess.
  • Other activities to help youth think about themselves in new ways as you are inspired
  1. Describe the phases a person experiences while moving toward a goal or learning a new skill.
    Choose from these activities:
  •  Ask the youth to think about an experience they’ve had working toward a goal or learning a new skill. Was it difficult? What was the experience like? How did they feel during the process? Explain that even though we are all unique, most of us go through the same stages as we are moving toward a goal or learning a new skill. They happen to be the same stages that teams experience: Forming, Storming, Norming, and Performing.
    Whenever we begin to learn a new skill or begin making our way toward a new goal, we have lots of enthusiasm but we probably also have lots to learn before we can get very far. When we begin any new skill or goal, we will always be back at Forming. The same is true when using a real compass. If you want to head out in a new direction, you need to point your direction-of-travel arrow toward your destination and begin working your way through the phases again.
    Ask the youth to consider a new skill they’ve been working on this week and think about which stage they are in—Forming, Storming, Norming, or Performing.
  • Other activities to demonstrate the process of achieving goals as you are inspired.
  1. Recognize the phases a person may experience as he or she progresses through learning/achieving experiences.
    Choose from these activities:
  • Show video clip 5-12, Leading Yourself (Part One), which begins with “Whether you have a strong personal vision or one that involves others . . .” Add these thoughts to the video presentation:
    • To move toward more advanced stages of self-leadership, it’s important to reevaluate your goals. Are they getting you closer to realizing your vision of success?
    • You can recast your goals. You can refine them to make them more powerful.
    • You can also seek the help of others. Find people who can help you set your goals, teach you skills, and evaluate your performance.

Continue through the interactive scenarios at slide 5-13, Leading Yourself, and video clip 5-14, Leading Yourself (Part Two), to the Be, Know, Do summary. The foundation of leadership is Be, Know, Do:

  • The BE of leadership—Who you are and how you use your strengths
  • The KNOW of leadership—The skills of teaching and helping others achieve their goals
  • The DO of leadership—Tools for communicating, solving problems, and resolving conflict

We each have responsibility for figuring out where we are, where we want to be, and how to close the gap in between—in other words, to develop a personal vision, determine the goals to fulfill that vision, and make plans for reaching our goals.

Knowing about ourselves will help us understand why we are where we are now, where we want to be, and how to close the gap between our present situation and what success looks like. Understanding the stages we go through as we learn a new skill or work toward a goal can help us better understand the process and get through difficult times more efficiently

  • Other activities to show the learning process as you are inspired.


Invite to Act

Ask the youth how they will use what they learned about leading themselves to change their actions in the future. What will they do differently today, tomorrow, this week, and this year? Have them write down their ideas.

Encourage youth to use their NYLT compasses to chart their individual progress through the Forming, Storming, Norming, and Performing phases as they learn new skills and work toward personal goals. This is a personal activity that they can continue to do throughout the course and when they return home.

Discuss with the youth what their next skill application challenge will be. Ask them to consider how what they’ve learned about leading themselves applies to the challenge. Encourage them to apply their new skills and ideas to the activity.

This series was adapted from National Youth Leader Training to help leaders teach LDS youth leadership skills so that those leaders can confidently “Let Them Lead.”

Authors: Maria Milligan and Darryl Alder | LDS NYLT writing team; at Utah National Parks Council, Maria is Chief of Staff and Darryl is Strategic Initiatives Director. Together they help LDS Stakes meet their camping and training needs in a customized basis.


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