Work and Self-Reliance

“Be anxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things of [your] own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness” (Doctrine and Covenants 58:27).


Here are some ideas for developing the kind of hardworking and self-reliant character you will need on a mission.

1. If possible, work with the missionaries in your area.

“The single most important thing you can do to prepare for a call to serve is to become a missionary long before you go on a mission.”

Elder David A. Bednar, “Becoming a Missionary,” Liahona and Ensign, Nov. 2005, 45.

  • Talk to your bishop, as well as your ward or branch mission leader, and arrange to accompany the missionaries.
  • Watch episodes of The District to learn more about the kind of work missionaries do.

2. Become more proactive and independent.

“Whether future missionaries go away to college or for work, living away from home helps them adjust to the necessary independence of being a missionary. This also provides opportunities for them to wash their own clothing, clean their own living areas, prepare food, and be responsible for their own safety and well-being. Even if future missionaries cannot live away from home, they can be more independent by taking on these responsibilities.”

Robert K. Wagstaff, “Preparing Emotionally for Missionary Service,” Ensign, Mar. 2011, 23.

3. Meet new people and talk to them about a variety of topics.

“[Young people need to learn] social and other skills: how to participate in a conversation, how to get acquainted and interact with others, … how to pursue hobbies without becoming addicted, how to correct mistakes and make better choices.”

Elder D. Todd Christofferson, “Brethren, We Have Work to Do,” Liahona and Ensign, Nov. 2012, 48.

  • At the next family party, Church activity, or other gathering, talk to someone you’ve never talked to before. Find out more about that person, and talk about a topic that interests him or her.

4. Plan and set goals.

“It is necessary to prepare and to plan so that we don’t fritter away our lives. Without a goal, there can be no real success. … Wishing will not replace thorough preparation to meet the trials of life. Preparation is hard work but absolutely essential for our progress.”

President Thomas S. Monson, “Treasure of Eternal Value,” Liahona, Apr. 2008, 5; and Ensign, Apr. 2008, 7.

  • In chapter 8 of Preach My Gospel, “How Do I Use Time Wisely?” study “How to Set Goals” and “Accountability” (pages 146–51).
  • Try using a calendar to plan your activities for the week, including time for personal study. Set goals for the week, including daily goals, and record your progress. Arrange with parents or Church leaders to report your progress to them.

Additional Helps