“Your greatest differentiator is the gospel of Jesus Christ.”
That was the message Elder Peter F. Meurs, General Authority Seventy, gave to Brigham Young University-Idaho students during a campus devotional held on Jan. 24.
“As you live and apply the principles of the gospel, to your future career and every other activity in life, you will positively stand out from the world," he said. "Every part of your Church experience, when applied to the world, is extremely valuable.”
Elder Meurs shared six “gospel based differentiators.”
1. Virtue unceasingly
“In your future careers, if you let virtue garnish your thoughts unceasingly — as you demonstrate unflagging resolve to be virtuous in every situation, you will be sought after and valued,” he said. “Virtues and principles such as honesty, frugality, dependability, integrity, unselfishness, respect for modesty and chastity, consistently speaking positively about others make for the equivalent of a virtuoso leader. As you exemplify these principles you will naturally lift the level of thinking of all around you.”
“Unwearingness is a sermon in a word,” he said. “It implies continuing when we are weary. It implies doing things when others would simply give up.”
Sharing a personal experience he had as a founder and director of a restarted company, Elder Meurs spoke of the process he went through — including a lot of tenacity and hard work — to regain the trust of previous customers.
“The natural man gives up after the first failure or rejection,” he said. “The differentiator — unwearyingness, acting, following up or going back when others would not, can add blessings to your life that you can only imagine.”
It is important to be humble and learn to work with others who have different or complementary skills and abilities.
“This has been an invaluable lesson in the business world, where I found that some of the most difficult people can offer incredible value in their field of expertise,” he said. “It is often worth putting up with or seeing past some of the idiosyncrasies and differences. In fact, if you surround yourself by people just like you — you are likely to severely limit your potential.”
Elder Meurs said his father taught him the principle of humility as a young man.
“He said, ‘Peter, whatever job you have, if you will work hard and consistently contribute more value than you are paid for, then one day you will be paid more than you can ever earn.’
“This and the concept of always striving to add additional value guiding principles for my life — they lead us to search for ways to work smarter, challenge norms and constantly think about the best ways to achieve important overall objectives.”
4. Revelation through councils
“In Church and family leadership we quickly discover that revelation, solutions and change come through councils. I found that the principles of councils apply powerfully in the business world. As a leader, I was most effective when I engaged with my associates with a question, issue or problem. In these settings, it was important to show confidence in the council’s ability to deliver a solution. I continue to be amazed at the quality of the solution and the ownership participants in councils have in delivering results together.”
5 and 6. Prayer and repentance.
Sharing an experience he had in his first job, Elder Meurs told of how he was in charge of building an oil production pipeline to connect a new offshore oil platform to an existing platform.
As the project was near completion a mistake was revealed causing more work and an extra 3 million dollars for the project. Worried that his engineering career was coming to an end, he said he "pleaded for inspiration and help.”
They found a solution and after it was completed, the young engineer wrote up a close-out report. In it, he recognized his mistakes, gave ideas to make improvements in the next project, and asked for a second chance.
“To my surprise my report was received very positively,” he said. “Over the next two years I led a team that installed longer and more complicated bottom tow pipelines.”
From that experience he learned that Heavenly Father is willing to answer all of His children’s prayers — even when the subject is about work.
“I also learned the power in the world of stepping forward and taking responsibility when we make mistakes,” he said. “Prayer and principles learned through repentance — taking responsibility and offering to be part of the solutions — are valuable differentiators.
“It is my hope that you will ponder on the power of the combination of your secular education and the gospel of Jesus Christ. I hope that you will understand that applying gospel principles to everything you do will bless you and all those you associate and work with. I hope that you will resolve to be completely consistent in applying gospel principles to your lives.”
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