Students and faculty at BYU-Idaho had the opportunity to hear from motivational speaker Paulette Kirkham at a Disciple Leadership Training.

BYU-Idaho Student Leadership Council. Photo courtesy of Student Leadership Council.
BYU-Idaho Student Leadership Council. Photo courtesy of Student Leadership Council.

Kirkham started with a question: “What is conflict?” 

As students stated the first things that came to mind, words like “difficulty,” “contention,” “misunderstanding” and “lack of communication” surfaced. 

She began to examine the “go-to” tendencies humans tend to fall back on when conflict arises and how one can reframe things to see conflict not as a competition, but a dance. 

“Show them you value their well-being as a person,” Kirkham said. “Preserve your partner’s dignity and their life space by wishing them no harm. You can’t control them, but you can control yourself.” 

By sharing many personal stories of her own, Kirkham expressed the importance of digging deep and finding a place within oneself to stand up and be a role model of patience and understanding. She shared a quote to the crowd from the famous writer Stephen R. Covey that said, “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.” 

Kirkham used this quote to emphasize how powerful a changed mindset can be when facing conflict. 

She concluded her presentation by sharing some conflict tools and strategies. These included correcting those in private and allowing others to publicly correct their own mistakes, controlling emotions when they tend to leak on others, and being hard on issues while being gentle with people.

As the event drew to a close, students said they left with a new sense of empowerment. 

“The kind of empowerment I got from Sister Kirkham and from DLT as a whole is the kind that fuels our personal and professional journey,” said a BYU-I student who prefers to remain anonymous.

The last disciple leadership training of the semester will be Thursday, July 13 from 4-5 p.m.