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NEVER EAT page 1 alone experiences that EXCEL page 4 simplify to page 6 AMPLIFY GROWTH BEGINS WITH be intentional : page 8 YOU September 2014 | Volume 13, Issue 01
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  • NEVER EAT page 1 aloneexperiences that EXCEL page 4

    simplify to page 6 AMPLIFY



    be intentional:

    page 8 YOU

    September 2014 | Volume 13, Issue 01

  • WELCOMECongratulations on your election to state FFA office!

    As a past state officer from Rhode Island, I can share from personal experience that the year of service youre dedicating to FFA members in your state will be a year filled with personal growth potential that knows no boundaries. By now, youve received countless hours of leadership training. Supporters of FFA at the local, state and national level have invested their time, talents and treasure to develop you into the servant leader that our organization needs. Its my hope that this publication, appropriately named Bright Ideas, will be one additional resource that adds to your growth and development. Youll receive three issues in addition to the one currently in your hands: one after the National FFA Convention & Expo, a second shortly after the New Year and the final one in March. Each issue will be filled with perspectives from those who have been in your shoes; past state officers who want to share with you the knowledge that theyve gained since their time of service. Im excited to offer you that kind of wisdom throughout this year.

    I clearly remember the emotions that I felt throughout my year as a state officer. I was thrilled to be afforded the opportunity to serve, humbled by the eagerness of the members that I came in contact with and even skeptical of my own ability to serve as a leader to those in my state.

    You are meant to serve in this position.

    Regardless of what the election process looks like where youre from, someone believed in you. You owe it to that person, to yourself and, most importantly, to your states membership, to give this year everything that youve got to offer.

    We at national FFA believe in you too. Im fortunate to partner with a talented group of colleagues who join me in a commitment to your growth and success. Throughout this year, if we can be of any assistance, please reach out to us. Just as youve taken on the responsibility of serving FFA members in your state, weve taken on the responsibility of serving you as a state officer. On behalf of the entire team, I look forward to serving you this year and cannot wait to see evidence of your success.

    Warm regards,

    Shane Jacques

    Shane JacquesEducation Specialist

    Bright Ideas Magazine

    National FFA Organization6060 FFA Drive, P.O. Box 68960

    Indianapolis, IN 46268-0960Phone: 317-802-4315

  • OFF THE SHELFNever Eat Alone, by Keith Ferrazziby Bethany Parker (Bohnenblust)


    This man is a super-human networking machine. His network is larger than most could only dream of, and he puts the adage six degrees of separation to shame. Author Keith Ferrazzi learned at a young age the value of genuine connections with people. Each chapter offers advice and personal stories on making connections and how to maintain them. The first half of the book focuses on the mind-set and skill set of building a network. He gives practical advice such as remember peoples birthdays, call friends before you leave to ensure one-on-one time before an out-of-town conference and utilize car-riding time to write thank yous or send a follow-up email to a new acquaintance. The remaining chapters are devoted to maintaining relationships and how to build a personal brand to draw people to you. He says you are the marketing manager of the company called You.


    Introductions can be awkward, small talk exhausting, and you might end up learning a lot about something you dont care all that much about like politics or road biking but relationships are always worth it.

    Last week, I experienced this on an early morning flight out of Lubbock, Texas. At the time, I was grateful when the cabin lights dimmed and the roar of the planes engine overtook any thoughts rolling through my brain. Just as my eyelids began to fall, a man sat down next to me. This older gentleman was a legend in his profession. My two options: Go to sleep or glean as much wisdom as possible from this man until we land. I extended a hand and introduced myself. At the end of the 90-minute plane ride, me and Max, my new-to-my-network friend, swapped contact information, and were sure to be in touch soon.

    Building a network of friends is a choice we make. Ones network can be a powerful tool to be cultivated, shared and utilized over time. Introductions spark the friendship, and investing in those friendships leads to expansion within your network. Start being generous in the relationships you have. Pass on books to like-minded state officers, invite an acquaintance on an experience with you or offer up lessons learned from your mistakes to Greenhands. This year, you are having doors opened that may never be opened again, unless you foster the relationship now.


    Write down the name of every person you meetindustry leaders, business owners, FFA advisors and students.

    Create a Relationship Action Plan before every event. Who do you want to meet? What questions can you ask?

    Make a second touch (email or handwritten note) with new contacts within 48 hours.

    Bethany Parker (Bohnenblust), a graduate of Kansas State University, served as a state and national officer from Kansas. Now she works with The Traveling Team campus ministry, investing in college students across the country and in several countries while helping them to determine their life purpose. She and her husband, Morgan, love their adventures together.

    Real networking [is] about finding ways

    to make other people more successful.

    1Bright Ideas Volume 13, Issue 1

  • These words were written about Norman Borlaug, a crop scientist

    who led what would later become known as the Green Revolution.

    Borlaug knew a thing or two about focus. Over his lifetime, he

    developed hundreds of strains of wheat and other crops and

    worked in dozens of countries that helped save millions of lives

    and ultimately earned him the Nobel Peace Prize. Not bad for

    a farm boy from Iowa. Perhaps the thing that helped Borlaugs

    success more than his ability to match the right strains of wheat

    was his dogged determination and unwavering focus to find

    solutions to end hunger.

    Over the next four issues of Bright Ideas, we will explore a way

    for you to maximize the personal growth that can happen from

    the opportunities presented to you as a state officer. The topics

    in order are focus, experience, reflect and simplify. Think of them

    in a circle with each part leading to the next and one complete

    cycle leading to the next cycle. Collectively, this pattern may help

    you seize opportunities you otherwise would have passed and

    dismiss some other opportunities that just arent right or at the

    right time. Lets begin with focus.

    Focused intentions and focused attention are powerful tools for

    leaders. Unfortunately, today many leaders are distracted. Its time

    to say no to the good in order to say yes to the best. Recognize

    today that leaders with many opportunities must narrow their

    focus in order to maximize their impact. This means deciding

    early on in your leadership career the experiences you are going

    to do and saying yes to them only. Lets explore three key ways

    you can sharpen your focus and maximize your opportunities.

    Develop a keen sense of what really matters.

    If someone pressed you on this topic, would you know your top

    three priorities? Knowing what matters requires self-awareness

    and constantly revisiting your personal mission statement.

    Often tasks or opportunities may seem terribly important but

    simply are not. No matter who you are, you only get 24 hours in

    a day. As a leader you have to guard your time. This means you

    must learn to politely say no to requests that stand to shatter

    your focused intentions.

    Start each day by putting first things first.

    Are you putting first things first and acting on them? Many

    people begin their day with distractors: checking email, updating

    their Facebook status or watching television. These things can

    wait. Intentional action for a day may change a mind. Intentional

    action for a week may change a heart. But, intentional action for

    ones lifetime has the capacity to change the world.

    Stop overtasking and overcommitting yourself.

    Do you water down your effectiveness by saying yes to almost

    everything? Are you distracted in relationships by trying to

    multitask? As the Spanish proverb says, You cant ring the

    bells and, at the same time, walk in the procession. Often the

    most influential moments are when you are face to face with

    stakeholders. Distractions such as technology, or simply not

    being fully present in the moment, undermine your effectiveness.

    Also, being overcommitted leads to fracturing. Its tough to be

    focused when you are spread too thin. Remember, FFA members,

    "His work sheltered perhaps a billion souls from starvation. He shaped modern life more than scholars have acknowledged,or even known. And he supported us too. You see, genes from the wheat he made for hungry nations are also in our own daily bread." - Noel Vietmeyer

    by Seth Heinert



  • your team and the many groups you represent deserve all of you,

    not just the portions you can spare.

    So, what will focused intentionality look like for you? Business

    guru Lee Iacocca said, The ability to concentrate and use your

    time well is everything. There are many opportunities that will

    present themselves over the course of your state FFA officer

    year. Consider your vision for what the community, state, nation

    and world will look like because of your leadership. Then stay

    focused on that vision and clear away anything that could serve

    as a distraction.

    A good friend of mine, Peter, has dedicated nearly a decade to

    serving students. Post-college he bounced around to several

    countries teaching English. After traveling for a few years, his

    journeys took him to a small village in northern Tanzania, Africa.

    It didnt take long before Peter knew he needed to do something

    to help provide education in that village. Peter founded a

    nonprofit and opened the doors to a school for kids who could

    not otherwise afford to go. Over the years Peter has had to say

    no to several projects involving everything from water and

    health to microfinance. While helpful in and of themselves, any

    of these projects would likely have been distracting to the core

    mission of the school. Peter says no to the good, so he can

    say yes to the best. Peter believes that young people should

    have access to a great education, no matter where they grew up.

    Its this single-minded focus that helped Peter build one of the

    most respected and comprehensive schools in Tanzania, and

    possibly Africa. Students there today are getting an education

    and an opportunity, where before there was none, all due to

    Peters dogged determination and unwavering focus.

    What will you accomplish, who will you influence and what will you change if you can just sharpen your leadership focus?

    Seth Heinert is currently a Ph.D. student at the University of Florida studying agricultural education. He served as a state FFA officer in Wyoming and National FFA Secretary. He taught agricultural education in Nebraska and Tanzania, Africa. Seth is married with a son and resides in Gainesville, Fla.

    F O C U S

    F O C U SR E F L E C T

    E X P E R I E N C E S I M P L I F Y

    3Bright Ideas Volume 13, Issue 1

  • Most of us have probably been there . . . Youre planning a workshop for a chapter visit and you know you

    want it to be fun, engaging and memorable. Youre crunched for

    time and drawing a blank, so you grab your phone and Google,

    fun workshop activities. Scanning through the results, you

    imagine which of these would wow FFA members the most. You

    find something that pops, copy and paste the directions, and

    get to work on creating what will surely be the most entertaining

    workshop these FFA members have ever experienced!

    HOLD UP.

    Theres a better way! By approaching your planning process a

    little differently, you can create effective experiences that will

    take your workshop to the next level.

    The approach you take to creating experiences and activities

    for FFA members matters. Why? Because experiences are the

    backbone of your workshop. Were all familiar with the Magic

    Formula by now. Heres the inside scoop: The Magic Formula

    isnt magic, but it is effective. Thats because its built on the

    model of experiential learning. Experiential learning theory

    is based around this idea:

    by Renee Durham

    Experiences that Excel




  • I hear, and I forgetI see, and I rememberI do, and I understand Ancient Chinese proverb

    When you can engage FFA members in a meaningful doing

    experience, you set them up to be able to understand concepts

    at a level that allows them to apply those concepts to their life.

    With this approach, you go beyond FFA members remembering

    your workshop because it was fun you actually have a shot at

    transformation. When we look at our workshops through this

    lens, the type and quality of our experiences (in Magic Formula

    terms: support) becomes much more important. Suddenly, pulling

    something from our Internet search results because it looks like a

    good time just wont cut it anymore. With that in mind, lets take a

    look at some bad habits we can break and replace them with some

    guiding tips for crafting experiences that make learning stick.

    This phrase is probably familiar to you its one of Stephen

    Coveys 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Turns out, its a

    winner for workshops, too. Too often we try to force an activity

    to fit our agenda or point, or choose an activity first and then try

    to come up with a point that it makes. Lets flip that and reverse

    it: First ask yourself, what do you want FFA members to learn?

    What do you want the outcome to be? Start by creating your

    learning content (or in the Magic Formula, your points) and work

    backward to create an experience that supports your point.

    Effective experiences are tailored to help get the results you want

    and create your point for you.

    People learn in three main ways by seeing (visual), hearing

    (auditory) and doing (kinesthetic). While most people

    lean toward one of the three modalities in preference and

    effectiveness, everyone learns through all three. Sometimes

    when we hear the word experience we assume that were

    only talking about kinesthetic activities. But the reality is you

    can incorporate all three modalities into your experiences to

    appeal to different parts of students brains and ramp up the

    effectiveness. In addition to getting FFA members to move

    their bodies, consider having them also read, write, draw,

    sing, dance, build or match while moving. This will help make

    experiences more meaningful and learning easier to facilitate.

    You dont have to use the tried and true workshop activities,

    icebreakers and energizers that youve participated in over

    and over and over. Actually, some of the most effective, and

    memorable, experiences are those that are created specifically

    for your workshop content. What can you have FFA members do

    that will usher in the atmosphere you want to create? What can you

    have them do with their bodies? Voices? Paper? Pens? How can

    you use their senses, or limit them, to create a new experience?

    What can represent the concepts you are teaching? You are not

    limited to things youve seen and done before. Get creative!

    Sure, the Internet is full of other peoples ideas, but since

    were trying to think outside the box, lets look for inspiration

    in more original places. If were trying to create experiences

    that help translate learning to real life, maybe drawing from

    real-life experiences can take our workshop to the next level.

    Ask yourself, what do FFA members encounter on a daily basis

    that can be the foundation of learning? What games are they

    familiar with? How do they spend their time? What problems are

    they trying to solve? Consider how you can take these things and

    adapt, simulate and re-create them in a workshop setting. Stuck?

    Supervised agricultural experiences, sports, social media, school,

    competition, pop culture, board games and chapter activities are

    great places to start searching for inspiration.

    When you put in the work to create experiences that are

    meaningful and relevant to your content, learning happens.

    FFA members dont just remember how exciting and fun your

    workshop was, they actually remember what you set out to teach

    them. Take the extra time to beef up your support experiences,

    and youre sure to see a payoff at your next chapter visit!

    Instead of making if fit Begin with the END in mind.

    Instead of being one dimensional Incorporate MULTIPLE modalities.

    Instead of playing copycat Think OUTSIDE the box.

    Instead of surfing the web Get inspired by LIFE.

    Renee Durham is a world traveling developer of leaders. Her experiences as a state FFA officer and national FFA staff member ignited passions for people, travel and serving others. She now works for the missions program, The World Race, as a trainer and mentor for young leaders overseas. When shes not hanging out in developing countries, she enjoys life in a north Georgia lake town and consumes all the coffee and Mexican food she can get.

    5Bright Ideas Volume 13, Issue 1


    Dieter Rams studied architecture and interior decoration at Wiesbaden School of Art in central Germany in the middle of the 20th century. After graduating with honors, he quickly found himself employed and pressured to meet high expectations at Braun, a consumer products company.

    Braun was already a successful German designer and manufacturer of electric shavers, radios, speakers, shelving units and other household items. Even though Rams was surrounded by top-notch designers employed for years at Braun, he was named chief design officer within six years of being hired. He would host his post for more than 30 years.

    What made Rams so successful among designers? It was his 10 design principles held together by one powerful idea: Weniger, aber besser, (pronounced VAY-negger ABB-er BESS-er).

    Less, but better.


    Under Rams philosophy of simplicity, Braun exploded with success. At a time of high consumer spending and when technology was only beginning to peak above a deep and rich horizon, this young designer decided fancy casing, numerous buttons and complicated design did not add value. Simplicity did. And Braun became a household name.

    Greg McKeown writes about Rams in a fascinating new book called Essentialism. Through telling us Rams story of success, McKeown makes the case that getting to the essence of a thing isnt just about designing new

    LESS. BUT BETTER.Simplify to Amplify: How Doing More Might Not Really Mean Doing More

    by Tyler Tenbarge

    photo credit Abisag Tullmann


  • products. The author begs us to consider what would happen if Rams philosophy for design were applied to our lives?

    Now, you may be thinking, Simplify?! Id love to! But life as a state officer isnt simpleits incredibly busy! I need to meet members, tweet chapter photos and write a blog post and a leadership workshop. I should also read even just one page of one book on that ever-growing stack of Amazon-delivered-but-never-really-touched pile of you really should reads. I also promised I would call home and text back a student, not to mention reviewing my keynote speech, documenting expenses, doing college coursework and preparing for the national convention and expo in a few weeks

    Whew! Its exhausting to even read that list. Its easy to talk about simplifying, but how can we sincerely talk about the goodness of simplicity with all that officers are expected to do?


    So much of the culture around us says that the more we do, the better we are. True, if I didnt sit down to write this article, it wouldnt get done, and if it didnt get written, I would miss a chance of possibly helping another person, or even just a chance for self-actualization; however, simplifying your life isnt found in avoiding work. Its found when we are more intentional about what we do.

    Sir Isaac Newton spent two years thinking and writing exclusively on his physics-changing discovery of Universal Gravitation and the three Laws of Motion. Two years for the mere discovery of what could be boiled down to four lines. But those four lines made space travel possible some 300 years later.

    Bill Gates, founder of one of the largest and most productive companies in the world, took a week off twice each year during Microsofts busiest seasons so he could read and think about the purpose and direction of his company. The business-connection icon, LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner, intentionally schedules about two hours of solitary blank space on his daily schedule. Couples take a honeymoon so they can focus on their marriages, monks spend years in solitude before making the decision to take final

    vows, and most officer candidates devote months super-focused on preparation before getting elected.

    From the worlds greatest scientists, businesspeople and political leaders to young couples, reclusive monks and state officers, we find that focusing on doing less affords us to do what we do better. Weniger, aber besser.


    As you have probably experienced, when you do well at one thing, you will be asked to do more things, even things that are unlike the first thing you did well. Maybe youll do more, new things very well, too, and if it works out, maybe you and others will benefit from your work. These are the blessings of success.

    The problem in success is that other people will never see your unique skills and talents as clearly as you can. So, only you can decide most accurately whether a new opportunity is something that you could or should be doing.

    Take state office for example. You probably showed promise as a local or regional officer. Then people suggested you should run for a bigger role: state office. This year, after you wrote a wonderful article for the newspaper or facilitated a rockin workshop, requests came in for more of you. Its only natural.

    People will call upon good people.

    The challenge is that while saying yes may be good sometimes, we will get pulled to pieces and our work will suffer if we dont occasionally take time to simplify and refocus our lives.

    Weniger, aber besser, worked for Rams because he constantly asked, What is the essence of the thing? The same could be asked of each of us: What makes you, as a state officer in your state, uniquely inspiring and effective?

    Stay tuned: In the November issue of Bright Ideas, we will continue this discussion of focusing on our unique contribution to the world by looking at The 3 Criteria we should consider before doing anything.


    Journal about what you did each day at night before going to sleep. Awareness begets change.

    Set a repeating calendar event for two hours of refocus time on the first day of each month. Feel free to move it around within that day, but do not move it off that day. Spend time reading your journal, reviewing goals or reflecting on how youre being called.

    Plan a two-night personal retreat before your next big task or project. Set your voicemail and email response to Im away, and I am happy to get back with you next week, giving you some time even after your retreat is over.

    Make a list of priorities as an officer and post it near the place that you often get requests. What comes first: returning communication, listening to a teammate or FFA member, writing thank you cards, physical activity, reflection?

    When asked to do anything, say, Thank you for asking! Let me make sure thats something I could do. May I get back with you in the next couple of days? Then, take time to consider it before responding.

    Tyler Tenbarge is a former state and national FFA officer from Indiana and is currently studying for priesthood for the Diocese of Evansville at Saint Meinrad Seminary and School of Theology. After serving as a facilitator for the Washington Leadership Conference, he has remained involved in FFA by developing and facilitating various pieces of curriculum and content for state FFA officers. He also blogs at

    7Bright Ideas Volume 13, Issue 1

  • FFA makes a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education. Undoubtedly, you have written, recited and/or recalled the mission statement of FFA at least 100 times in your quest to be and serve as a state FFA officer thus far. The brain does not even have to go into thinking mode to recite those familiar words, yet those three powerful tenants of the mission statement are so essential to your year of service as a state officer. Vital to the success of any leader, though, is personal growth. Personal growth arent words that should be robotically recalled from memory in recitation of the mission but truly taken to heart as officers influence members during their service to others.

    Think back to the time you decided to run for a state office. What were your reasons for running? Was it to give back? Was it because someone influenced you through their leadership, and you wanted to do the same for others? Was it because someone told you that youd be a good state officer? Whatever your reason for running, you were elected so the real question is, Now what? Was getting elected your end goal, something you could say you accomplished or check off your bucket list, or was it simply the beginning? If you think that getting elected and putting on that association jacket is the check mark on your goal sheet, the challenge to you is to dig a little deeper and see how your own personal growth can and will give you a deeper level of influence with those you come into contact with this year.

    Youve learned through the work of John Maxwell that leadership is influence and that influence begins with having a position. That is where you are right now in your year of service. You have a title and a name on an association jacket, but what type of influence comes with that title? You become more influential when you model expectations for those around you, and it is imperative that you model for others your own commitment to personal growth. Maxwell challenges you to think about how you are growing and developing as a person and what are others learning by watching you navigate that process. When others witness your leadership, they should see a leader who knows:

    themselves (strengths and weaknesses and how to manage both).

    where they want to go.

    the difference between what you want and what youre good at (they arent always the same.)

    what drives you and gives you satisfaction.

    how to align your values with that of the organizations.

    When you are able to model expectations of a commitment to your own personal growth, your leadership becomes a bit more influential with those around you. But still, this is only the beginning so stay tuned to the next issue of Bright Ideas to find out about the environmental factors that affect your growth as a young leader.

    Amy Nicol has been a career and technical educator for the past 18 years. She served as a state FFA officer and has worked with state officer programs through the National FFA Organization. Amy lives in Marysville, Ohio, and enjoys being active in her church and community through various service activities.

    A YEAR OF GROWTHBe Intentional: Growth Begins with Youby Amy Nicol







    9Bright Ideas Volume 13, Issue 1

  • Bright IdeasNational FFA Organization

    6060 FFA DriveIndianapolis, IN 46268-0960



    NATIONAL FFA ORGANIZATION 2014 The letters FFA, the FFA emblem, Future Farmers of America and Forever Blue are registered trademarks of the National FFA Organization and cannot be used without permission.

    FFA MISSIONFFA makes a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education.

    THE AGRICULTURAL EDUCATION MISSIONAgricultural education prepares students for successful careers and a lifetime of informed choices in the global agriculture, food, fiber and natural resource systems.

    The National FFA Organization is a resource and support organization that does not select, control, or supervise state association, local chapter or individual member activities. Educational materials are developed by FFA in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Education as a service to state and local agricultural education agencies. The National FFA Organization affirms its belief in the value of all human beings and seeks diversity in its membership, leadership and staff as an equal opportunity employer.

    At FFA, were proud to say that when you talk, we listen. So thanks to you, weve been able to make some exciting new changes to that will help improve your experience, all based on your feedback.

    Achieve more.

    Single Sign-OnOne user account for

    all FFA services.

    perSOnAl dAShbOArd (MY FFA)

    Easily reach the tools relevant to your FFA role.

    deSigned FOr AnY deViCe Built for desktop, tablet and mobile.

    enhAnCed SeArCh

    Find what you are looking for easily.

    perSOnAlized experienCe

    You will be recognized every time you return.


    eASY tO uSe nAVigAtiOn Streamlined page menu structure.

    FreSh lOOk And Feel

    Giving a new and clean look to

    MY jOurneYYour path to premier

    leadership, personal growth and career success.

    psst ...its coming soon.YOur new FFA Online experienCe.

    The State FFA Officer Programs are made possible through sponsorship from the following organizations as a special project of the National FFA Foundation.

    Bright Ideas Magazine is sponsored by CSX as a special project of the National FFA Foundation.

    Off the Shelf | Never Eat Alone, by Keith FerrazziMaking Workshops Work | Experiences that ExcelLess But Better | Simplify to Amplify: How Doing More Might Not Really Mean Doing More

    Never Eat Alone: Experiences that Excel: Simplify to Amplify: twitter: Page 2: Page 41: Page 62: Page 83: Page 104:

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    web: Page 2: Page 41: Page 62: Page 83: Page 104: