The Center for the Advancement of Leadership (CAL) invited students to attend their “MasterMind” Lecture held in the Sorensen Center on Nov. 5. This portion of the series held speaker Amy Rasmussen to discuss the importance of self-care in a world of high-stress and responsibility. Her speech was entitled “I’m important and I’m exhausted.”
Rasmussen has been the state director for the Miss Utah’s Outstanding Teen Scholarship since 2007, and is the executive director of the Ivy Academy, which teaches elite leadership skills to young girls. She also has three years of motivational speech experience. As a wife and mother of 3 boys and an adopted daughter, she gives practical life tools, advocates bully prevention, and has worked at two non-profit organizations.
Rasmussen began her speech by asking the question “What responsibilities do you have?” to the audience. Writing down attendees answers on a whiteboard, responsibilities from the audience ranged from buying groceries, to paying bills. The exercise’s intention was to show that everyone has stressful everyday responsibilities.
She told a story of becoming the youngest state director in the nation for the Miss America Organization at the age of 23. While she loved her position, she said that she did experience a lot of stress. Breaking down the harms of being busy, Rasmussen listed obesity, dementia, eating disorders, sexual dysfunction and GERD as some of the results of high-stress lifestyles.
At a point in her life, Rasmussen said that she was diagnosed with pre-partum anxiety. “I experienced tiredness, depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts,” Rasmussen said. “This wasn’t like me, but I was turned off by other people constantly depending on me.”
Saying that she couldn’t eat or sleep, it was only when her two year old son said “mommy I need you.” This simple example of a young child looking to his mother for sustenance, helped Rasmussen remember that her son was what got her out of bed every morning. Using this story, she asked students to find whatever it was that got them out of bed in the morning, and to hang on to it, in addition to saying “no” to counterproductive responsibilities.
“Allow yourself permission to feel, and stop yourself from shutting down,” Rasmussen said. “Be strong enough to say “no” to experiences that don’t enrich your life or to the people who don’t enhance your experiences. It’s okay to feel like you don’t want to do things or that you don’t want to feel things.”
She said that the main point she wants to drive home to students is that since leadership is a lifelong endeavor, remembering self-care is crucial. “Whatever phase or season of life you are in, it’s important to keep a balance,” Rasmussen said. “Keep yourself at the forefront of that driving success—if you don’t, sometimes you will lose sight of why you matter and why the causes you attribute yourself to matter.”
Behavioral Science major Madysen Murphy is the Co President of the CAL Executive Council. She was involved with the event and provided the introduction for Rasmussen. Murphy spoke on why she thinks topics such as Rasmussen’s have a lot of relevance in today’s world.
“This message is important with the up and coming generations because life is only getting more and more hectic. With smartphones, laptops and everyone taking their work with them, it is essential to ensure to save some time for yourself,” Murphy said. “With Amy’s message it will hopefully show college students that they are not alone and give them an actual outlet for their stresses.”
The Center for the Advancement of Leadership (CAL) invites its students, UVU students, UVU faculty, and community members to attend the Master Mind Lecture Series held on the first Monday of every month in the Fall and Spring semesters. Previous speakers of the MasterMind lecture series include Greg Zippi, President of DecisionWide and renowned public speaker Judy Gaman.
Photos taken by Meghan DeHaas