Angie Balfour: Moments That Define Us, People That Change Us
Angie Balfour is an adventurer, a cancer survivor, a chief people officer, and a disciple of Christ. After her high school graduation, Balfour learned a valuable lesson when she graduated from high school about involving God in her life decisions and has since documented the defining moments from each year of her life. Today, we talk with Balfour about why she believes that recognizing the influence of people, places, and important moments in our lives is vital to our happiness.
I think we underestimate God...the vast majority of our lives here.
Articles about Angie:
"Interview With Angie Balfour, Chief People Officer at Weave"
"Weave Hires Angie Balfour as Chief"
All In episode with Brooke Romney that Morgan quoted: "Brooke Romney: Why Our Souls Crave Connection–And What We Can Do About It"
1:44- Partnering with God
5:22- To Go or Not To Go
7:25- What People May Not Know About Being Single in the Church
10:53- Value of Diversity and Eliminating Echo Chambers
19:26- Cancer and Being the Beneficiary of a Fast
26:20- The Miracle of Orange Chicken
30:01- The Dream Changes
33:20- You Get Out What You Put In
41:00- Making and Keeping Covenants
43:28- What Does It Mean To Be All In the Gospel of Jesus Christ?
Morgan Jones 0:00
I have long been a believer that everyone has a story, and I think that's why I love this week's episode so much. Since graduating from high school, Angie Balfour has written down the defining moments from each year of her life. Since then, she has lived in various locations around the globe, battled cancer, and has worked for some of the biggest companies in the world. Because of this practice of writing down her defining moments, Angie has not taken her experiences for granted, and instead has allowed them to weave–no pun intended–into a beautiful tapestry, a story worth telling.
Angie Balfour is the chief people officer for Weave, a Utah based tech company. Prior to joining Weave, Angie spent over five years at Instagram and Facebook. Most recently, she served as head of Instagram human resources and director of human resources at Facebook. Prior to that, Angie spent over a decade at Fairchild Semiconductor as a senior global human resources manager and human resources business partner.
This is All In, an LDS Living podcast where we ask the question, what does it really mean to be all in the Gospel of Jesus Christ? I'm Morgan Jones and I am so excited to have Angie Balfour on the line with me today. Angie, welcome.
Angie Balfour 1:21
Morgan Jones 1:23
This is such a treat to have you on, and I have to tell listeners–we spoke a few weeks ago and Angie shared just some of her experiences and things with me, and I think you have so many valuable things to share with people that will listen to this episode and I just am so excited. So first of all, I want to talk a little bit–you told me that you have this exercise of recording a defining moment of each year of your life since graduation–is that college graduation or high school?
Angie Balfour 1:54
High school, so it was my senior year of high school I started. Yeah.
Morgan Jones 1:57
Okay, so tell me how you came up with this idea, and then how has looking for those defining moments impacted your life?
Angie Balfour 2:06
Yeah, it started, it actually started–the thought came to me in a Sunday school class, they were talking about Alma the younger and this, what they call "the defining moment" when the angel comes and visits him and helps him see his ways that might need to change, and they called that the defining moment in the class. And I had this, just, thought and I raised my hand and I said, "You know, I'm not sure that's the defining moment, I feel like the defining moment is what he did every day after that to stay on the path. Those are the defining moments that he chose every single day."
And so that just kind of stayed with me. And so I have been making a list of a few key things that had happened to me, and I just started writing them down and then writing them out. And at first it was just like keywords, so I'd remember the experiences. And then it was kind of providing a little more detail, and then really, it changed when–I have a niece, she's now . . . 14, and all of a sudden I thought, hey, this would be really fun to give her when she turns 18 and goes off to college, and I'll kind of give it to each of my nieces and nephews as they go off to college–I don't have any kids right now. And so, I started doing that differently. And then . . . so every year, I'm keeping track of different things and then kind of choose the one that I think defined that year for me and made a huge impact.
Morgan Jones 3:21
So could you, could you give us a few examples of what those defining moments kind of look like? I love this idea, by the way.
Angie Balfour 3:29
Yeah. So I'll start with the first one. So I was, I was kind of looking over this as we're talking about it. The first one was I was 17, I was going off to college, and my dad said, "Hey, which college are you going to go to?" and I said, "I'm going to Utah State,"–go Aggies, I'm a true Aggie in every sense of the word, I love that place–and he said, "Okay, so you've prayed about it, and you feel good about it." And I said, "No, I didn't need to pray about it. I already made the decision. I'm going to Utah State."
And my dad said, "Well, Ange, that's not quite how you want to do it," like "You don't pray when you've made the decision, you pray as you make the decision and make sure that that's what Heavenly Father would want for you." And I did not like that answer. I thought that was a little off-putting and I had made a decision, I knew where I wanted to go.
And so as the scholarships started to roll in, BYU Idaho came in, and nothing from Utah State. A couple of my other schools acceptance and scholarships came in–nothing from Utah State. And finally, I just went and said a prayer and said, "I would like to go to Utah State. This is the place that I felt good about, the place I've liked the most for a really long time. But if you want me to go someplace else, I will do it. I'll just be super disappointed."
And the next–and I was really honest about it too, because I think that's part of having a good relationship with God is really talking with him about where you're at and, and, and being honest, like He's a father and that He is. And the next day, my scholarship and acceptance came simultaneously and as I opened it–I knew I'd gotten accepted–but as I opened it, I just had this really strong impression that was like, "You can go wherever you want to go, I just wanted to make sure that you're partnering with me, so that we can give you the best life that you, that you want. And I want us to have this relationship." And it was a defining moment of not just making decisions that make sense to Angie. But really partnering with God and asking for feedback along the way and making sure that I'm doing what He wants me to do.
Morgan Jones 5:20
I love that so much. I had a similar experience when I was trying to decide whether or not to serve a mission. I had the . . . well, it's a long story. I ended up serving a mission, later. But initially, I felt like the answer that came was like, "I am," you know, "You can go if you want to go, you can go. But I just appreciate you being willing." And, and so I was like, “Great, I'm not gonna go.”
Angie Balfour 5:50
I love that. I will tell you one of my defining moments was not going. I had always planned to go, I'd even worked out an internship that ran right up until my birthday, which is in February. I took off that year of school, I knew that I was going to go, and it was not right for me. And it turns out that what I did during those 18 months when I would have been serving a mission at that time, it was a defining moment for me socially. Those relationships that I built, I still rely on to this day, and seven of my closest friends came out of that time period and I did a lot of different things. And so, again, I think as you build and apply those things, you start to realize that when you keep God involved in the details of your life and humble enough to do something different, it works out way better. I'm sure you learned that too.
Morgan Jones 6:38
Yeah, well, I was gonna say, it's so funny these experiences are kind of similar, but different. Same but different.
Angie Balfour 6:44
Morgan Jones 6:45
So like I said, I prayed–this is like 21–prayed about whether or not to go on a mission, got this feeling, "You can go or you can not go, I appreciate your willingness to go," and I was like, perfect. I don't really want to go so I'm not going to go. And then a couple of years passed, and I was 23, and I was doing an internship in Washington, D.C. and my best friend, I was talking to her on the phone one night, I said, “Lately a mission keeps popping up. And I don't understand if I was supposed to go on a mission. Why didn't I feel like I was supposed to go on a mission a year and a half ago?"
And she said, "Morgan, maybe you didn't feel like you were supposed to go on a mission a year and a half ago, because you weren't supposed to go on a mission a year and a half ago." And it was like this slideshow of the previous 18 months of my life went through my mind, and I was like, "She's right." Like I had–like you said–these experiences and had built these relationships that I knew I was supposed to experience. And it was like, okay, then I'll pray about it again, because you're right, I did have experiences that I think I was supposed to have. So, I love that. So, now Angie, tell us tell us really quickly what you are doing in your life now? You work for Weave, in HR.
Angie Balfour 7:59
I'm the chief people officer at a company in Utah called Weave that I love. It's a great company and I've always been in HR or people organizations and so I oversee that, and I just moved out here from the Bay Area about a year ago, literally, I think I arrived like maybe a month and a half, two months before COVID hit, so it's kind of an interesting year to like change your whole life and then be in the midst of the pandemic.
Morgan Jones 8:00
So, you told me on the, on the phone when we spoke that you are a single member of the Church. And you said while you don't think that marital status defines someone, that it definitely impacts someone's experience as a member of the Church. And so I wondered, in your experience–and we've had a few people on this show, I think mostly because being single in the Church is something that means a lot to me, because it's been my experience as well–but what do you wish that those who have never had that experience understood about being a single member of the Church?
Angie Balfour 9:00
A couple of things. I think that as a single member of the Church, you're still really family oriented, and I think you can be. And again, it's what everyone–just like even those who are married, it's their own individual situation. But one, I think you can be super family oriented. I think sometimes there's the assumption that you don't want to give your time as much or be involved as much, and I think that's not usually–hasn't been my experience.
I also think sometimes there's an assumption that you have just this overwhelming amount of time, as if you haven't filled up your life with other things, you know, as well and have other obligations. But I think what we learn in the Church and, and in my case, something that may be a little bit different, or actually it's becoming more common if you look at the stats of single member adult members in the Church, but what I would say is, I think what's important to remember is that in the Church, we all fill the same and feel the spirit of unity with each other at some times, but that we all have these unique things that make us feel different, or less than, or unusual, or sometimes feels unrelatable, and I think the purpose of that is that we rely on Christ and that we . . . and that we relate to other people that are different than us so that we can develop different kinds of empathy.
I also think sometimes when you tell people that you're single, they get this look on their face, and they tip their head, and they seem to feel kind of sorry for you. And I want to be really clear, I think the best way to live is in a happy marriage. I believe in families, I want my own family and I think that's super important, and I think it's God's plan, but I also think what's really important is to support people in the plan that God has outlined for them, and making sure that you recognize that, and that, that you support people that are different than you
Morgan Jones 10:49
That's so well said–I love everything that you just said. I want to come back to one point. And this is something that people that have listened to this podcast are probably like, "You're beating a dead horse on this."
Angie Balfour 10:59
Let's do it one more time, Morgan!
Morgan Jones 10:59
Well, I just feel like one thing–we do ourselves this huge disservice when we think that just because of a life circumstance, that we can't relate to somebody in a different life circumstance, because I think we're, we're . . . when you really boil it down, we're all learning the same lessons, we're just learning them through different experiences. And so I wonder, working in a job that is focused on people, do you even see that professionally? Just like, people relating with one another and coming from different backgrounds, but then in a job, like we spend so much time with the people in our work.
Angie Balfour 11:42
Well, I–absolutely. I feel pretty strongly that I personally have benefited, from becoming a better, well-rounded, more empathetic disciple of Christ by spending time with people that are very, very different than me. And I think sometimes when we think about diversity, it can be diversity of thought, diversity of experience, diversity of backgrounds, it can be race, life experiences and all of that. But I think, I think the value of spending time with people that are different than you is that you, you start to understand why people make the decisions that they do, and what tradeoffs people are using, which may expand how you think about things and so that you can make better, more inclusive, well-rounded decisions for your life, but also for your business, for your team, financially, and those kinds of things.
I also think what I've really benefited is, I think, sometimes our natural instinct is to put walls up when someone's different than us like, "Oh, hey, I don't, I don't think we're gonna really have a connection." And I think one of the things that I traveled a lot for work, I was a road warrior for years, I've dropped into a lot of different work assignments that were 6 months or 12 or 18 months where I dropped in, didn't know anyone in a certain location, and then had to build a life there, and had to build relationships at work and things like that.
And, and what I've really learned through those experiences are, one, the default should be, “I know I've got something in common with you and I know there's something I can learn from you.” Because I've always been enriched by that, whether it was like rural Pennsylvania, or Singapore, or a team that I had in London that I spent a lot of time with, and I think our default is to say, if we can immediately sense the difference that we must not have something, a connection. And I actually think those are the people we probably need most in our lives. I think we're getting in a world where we build an echo chamber.
And I have found myself at times, kind of building my own echo chamber to reinforce how I think or feel about something. And I think, I think expanding our views allows us to contemplate and think about things more, and then the truth teller of the Spirit kind of helps us sort through what we need to know and believe and understand. But I think the more exposure you give to different thoughts and people and feelings and perspectives, I think that gives the spirit more to work with as it teaches you truth, because it's just more experiences.
Morgan Jones 14:02
Yeah, well, and I think that's one thing in the Church. I think it can be kind of easy to think that our experience as single members, especially when you're like a young single adult, and you're going to a YSA ward or a mid-singles ward, I think it's like, okay, well, I am surrounded by people that are in the same life circumstance I'm in. We talk about the same things over and over and over again. And so for me, a few years ago, I was like, I've got to find a way to be around people that are not in the same situation that I'm in.
And I actually set it as a New Year's resolution, and it was like a game changer for me. I found myself significantly more happy. But I love that you touched on, you know, that you've lived in other places and have seen how much, how much different backgrounds and cultures and things can contribute to our lives. I wonder, Angie, when you come into a situation like that and you do not know anyone from Adam, how do you–I guess that's something that you're good at because you work in HR with people–but how do you do that?
Angie Balfour 15:12
So, I think there's, there's what you do at the workplace where maybe you don't know anyone because it's new division or new acquisition or a whole new group. But I'll talk a little bit about kind of what you do to set up your own life. So one is, I think a constant is the Church. But as you know, the Church is the same everywhere, the principles, the teachings–but the vibe, the needs of the ward, the dynamics–they change. And so I think the first thing is to figure out where you can be a service in the Church and get that common connector in your life, or at least that's what I choose to do.
And then I usually have a routine where I'm going to be interacting with other people, so whether that's going to the gym, or it's a volunteer work, or it's figuring out something in my neighborhood, so that I'm interacting with people and kind of developing relationships. I am pretty friendly, my friends always get nervous, because I really do meet up with strangers and then end up like, "Hey, let's meet up for lunch," or, you know, like interactions and things like that and my friends are always like, "You're gonna be on a"–I love true crime, but my friends are like, "You're gonna be a story in true crime one day, because you're always–" but, but so far, it's worked out pretty well.
And I–even when I travel, I always do one day where I'm by myself. And I always ended up meeting somebody, sharing like, going and getting a lunch, or going and grabbing an ice cream or just talking with them about their life and I really like to do that. I think the other thing is, sometimes when you're at a moment where you're a little bit lonelier, I think it's a good time to recognize that you can spend a little more time with Christ.
And I–what I mean is, in your prayers, or in digging deeper in the Scriptures, and I think that there's always–when you go someplace new, there's always a little period of loneliness, where you've taken things out of your life because they're just not there right now in this new experience, and you haven't quite filled up your life yet. And sometimes we try to fill it up with everything of the world. But I think it's good to like recenter yourself and make sure that you're still prioritizing having God in your life. And I think it's a good time to spend a little more time with Him sometimes when things are a little slower. That's what I do.
And then I think service and laughter are the quickest way to make friends. So pick one or both, and if you can laugh with somebody, that's a connection, and if you can figure out a way to serve them that is, and also letting people serve you. If you're new and people know that you're new, a lot of times they'll reach out. And for a long time, I think I felt a little uncomfortable. But . . . you know, I'm pretty independent and so I didn't want them to feel like they had to like take care of me or things like that. And what I've realized is, that's an opportunity for them to serve and for you to be humble. And so those, I think those different things.
And so I still go back, like I was in rural Pennsylvania, where I thought I would never, you know, but I was there for a year, and I still go back and have friends there, in Maine, my friends in Singapore, my friends in Europe, different places, even in Mississippi, where I was for a brief period of time. So, and those are people that have changed my life and are mentors and good friends to this day. My favorite thing to hear is, "I never thought I would have someone of your Church as a really close friend."
Morgan Jones 18:08
Angie Balfour 18:10
I hear that a lot from my friends, and I think–I love it. I think that's the best thing to hear. Because I think we need a lot more of each other. I think we need less sameness and more reaching across different aisles. Not, I think politically, we talk about that a lot right now, but I just think in general, like people need kindness and they need empathy. And they need people that are different than them, so that they can kind of build those up. So that's been good for me. And hopefully helped make me better. I hope.
Morgan Jones 18:39
Yeah, those are, those are such good points. And I think, you know, the one about finding, basically finding something to belong to in order to make friends. I remember when I went away to college, my aunt said, "You want to find something, that if you don't show up one day, somebody will know." Like, it sounds silly, but it made, it made a huge difference for me in school. And then I love what you said about, you know, these spaces where it feels lonely, or where you feel like there's a gap and you're like, “Okay, what do I do to fill this gap?” I do think it's so easy for us to be like, "Oh, well, I just need to make myself busier." And I think it is smart to take that, like you said, a moment to recenter. Angie, your world was kind of turned upside down when you learned that you had cancer.
Angie Balfour 19:33
Morgan Jones 19:33
And I would love to hear what it was like for you to receive that diagnosis, and also what that experience taught you.
Angie Balfour 19:44
It was pretty shocking. In fact, I think I've always had a fast paced, busy life, filled with lots of people and goals and activities and things to plan to do and learn and travel and all of that and a fun job that I really loved–and I got sick. And as I went to the doctor, I could tell they were more concerned than I would have expected as I started describing my symptoms. Um, and I remember–you never want to hear this, but–over a period of time, the doctor called me and said, "Look, we know you have some kind of cancer. We know it's not terminal. But we also know that it's complex. And we're going to need to take another week to figure this out. And we'll call you."
And so I had this whole week of like thinking about that. And it had already taken a few weeks. And it turned out to be multiple kinds of cancer–two separate kinds of cancer. And what I . . . what happened is, from that day that those diagnosis came in, everything stopped. So, I wasn't going to my job anymore. I wasn't doing anything that I had done prior to that, whether it was activities, or friends, or service, or community involvement, anything. Everything just kind of stopped. And it was like this really weird period of time, where there's one sole focus, and that is to get better. And you're also the most vulnerable and weak of your life. And so it's just a really weird time where the stakes are the highest, and you feel like maybe your capabilities or your stamina is the lowest. And so, it's just a really weird time, at least it was for me.
And I feel like, this is relatable for a lot of people. I'm not the first person to get cancer. I won't be the last, but I feel like it's touched all of us in different ways. But for me, I had to rely on a lot more people. And one of the sweetest things was, I was living in California at the time and I was out there by myself. I didn't have my family close by, but a lot of friends. And I had to send an email out to a bunch of friends when I told them, and that I needed to have someone with me every week for 16 weeks. So that's like four months of people. And it got filled up in 24 hours. Friends from elementary, junior high, high school, college, grad school times, I'd lived in Utah times, I'd lived back East people–my friends in California, and everyone did that.
And, and so I had to learn to ask for help. And one of the things that was the most painful–I didn't tell a lot of people. In fact, I didn't tell my ward, I just was really private. I was still processing and it had been about three weeks in. And I think everyone deserves the right to be private about something like that. But everything was going really well, and then a complication happened with the first treatment. And the doctor couldn't figure out why that was happening. And I had ovarian uterine cancer–just so that it's not mysterious as we're talking through it–so it required . . . the good news is it was super complicated, because it was multiple, but it was not too advanced. So there was a lot of treatments they could do, including a surgery, but my body didn't respond as they thought it would.
And I had this prompting, like, "You're going to have to ask your ward to fast." And for me, that was like the worst. I have never had a fast on my behalf from a ward, and I never thought twice about doing it for somebody else. Never. I never thought like, why are we doing this? Of course, I would always be willing to do.
But I had to send out . . . like I had to call my friend who was serving as the Relief Society president at the time and be like, "Okay, I feel really prompted that I need a fast. And we need to tell people." And it was just . . . one of the harder days for me. I just didn't really want to be defined by having cancer. And so we sent it out, they fasted, and from that point forward, everything in my treatments went ideal. Like my doctors were like, "I would not believe this if I wasn't the one doing your treatment, but I cannot believe how well your body is responding. It doesn't even, you know, it's doing so well."
And, and everyone knew, and then all of a sudden it was this huge ward family like helping me in all these different ways that at first I'd been reluctant to, so that was really good for me. But then I'll be really honest with you, you beat cancer–which I did–you go back to your normal life, but you're not going back to the way things were. And I just kept trying to get back to who I was before cancer, and it was finally through a little bit of therapy and a lot of prayer that I realized, I shouldn't be trying to get back to anything. I should be trying to move forward and that the Lord had changed me with this experience–just like he changes all of us with experiences.
And sometimes when we're negative, we try to get back to who we were before, because we feel like . . . and we want to make sure we're getting back to a status where we were maybe happier, felt more optimistic or whatever and I really had to realize, "No, you were changed by this experience. He doesn't want you to go back, He wants you to move forward, and there's a better version of you in the future. And you've got to run towards that, rather than looking backwards."
So that was kind of my experience, and it was asking for a lot more help and not focused on anything I had done for the previous years. I wasn't focused on work, I wasn't focused on goals, I was just focused on the one goal–getting better.
Morgan Jones 24:48
I love what you said about, you know, not looking back and not going back, but moving forward. And I think this is like a miniscule comparison, but I think a lot of people, as we kind of move out of this COVID time–
Angie Balfour 25:03
Morgan Jones 25:03
–Are like, "I need to get back to what I was before." And it's like, "No, like, let it change you and move forward." I also love what you said about asking for help. It's so funny that you said that, because I was just reading this morning, Jenny Reeder was on our sister podcast, This Is the Gospel, and she was talking about her experience having had cancer, and she talks about her Ward fasting for her and I had never–Angie it's so like, it's funny, because I never until this morning, have I had the thought, "Oh, that would be hard. To have a bunch of people fast for you," and then you say that.
Angie Balfour 25:43
It is! And it's because–and also for them to fast, they have to know some details that you're still processing, but it's also the chance to be super vulnerable. And if you're the person who's not used to doing that–I mean, to be honest with you, I think cancer taught me a lot of humility. And I didn't realize how much I needed to learn in those areas and what that meant for me and so it was hard. Yeah, it was difficult for me and no one thought twice about it. But for me, it was, it was a hard moment. And I'll tell you what, those people served and took care of me and are still some of my closest friends. They–it was really great. Yeah.
Morgan Jones 26:16
Okay. So before we move past that period of your life, though, I do want to ask you, when we spoke on the phone, you shared a story about orange chicken.
Angie Balfour 26:26
Morgan Jones 26:27
And I'm wondering if you can share that.
Angie Balfour 26:29
Yeah, sorry. I got a call from my doctor on a Friday that was like, "Hey, we know it's going to be cancer, but we don't know what kind of cancer it is."
Morgan Jones 26:36
And then you have like the week from heck.
Angie Balfour 26:39
Yes! And also they had had like, I think at that point, 26 pathologists looking, it was just kind of complicated, they couldn't quite figure it out. And it's because they didn't realize it was two separate cancers. On my family's side, my grandmother was living with my parents and had just, my grandmother was probably getting close to passing away, and there had been a different kind of cancer–breast cancer–in my family. And so I knew that if I just called my family and said, "Hey, I have some type of cancer," like, you can't tell your parents that, or maybe you can, but I didn't want to without saying like, "This is what it is and time to do it."
So there was a period of a few days where, I didn't really tell anyone. I was just at home, thinking about it. I told a few close friends, but one of them was a girlfriend from work, and her name is Candy and she's the best and we're really different. Candy was raised Jewish, is atheist by choice, and we just kind of, we have this fun friendship of how different we are but how similar we are. Funny, I was just talking to her last night. But I called her and I told her about and she said–she lived about an hour away–and she was like, "Hey, I'm going to come visit you today." And it was on a Sunday, and I was just feeling not good–as you can imagine. You're like, not feeling great. And I was really tired.
And I thought, I just like developed this overwhelming craving for orange chicken. And I will tell you this, I've never had it before since, orange chicken is not even in my top 100 foods, I think. But I was just laying there thinking, if I had the energy to drive, I would go get myself orange chicken, but I can't. And that's okay. And I was just laying there thinking–almost obsessing over–which is really weird. And this friend showed up, and as she walked in the door, she was carrying a package. And she was like, "This is going to sound really weird. I don't know if you should be bringing orange chicken to someone who just got diagnosed with cancer, but I was walking on the street before I drove down here and I passed this place, and I walked past, like, came back and then I walked away and came back and thought, 'I should just get Angie some orange chicken.'"
And I couldn't believe–I was really stunned. It was just very . . . this, what you originally would have called random, but I think it wasn't. But what I realized, I said, "Oh my gosh, I've had a craving for orange chicken, Candy. This is the miracle of orange chicken." And she goes, "It can't be a miracle. I don't believe in God." I was like, "Well, He believes in you, and He's utilizing you." And it sounds kind of funny, or like why would that be so significant to you? But it really was one of the defining moments for me. And the reason it was is, I was like if God knows me well enough to know that I was craving orange chicken, then He knows that He created this body, He loves this body. I'm a daughter of Heavenly Father and Heavenly Parents, and He is going to help me and He's in the details of my life.
And for whatever reason, from that moment forward, I felt so much peace. And I will tell you that beating cancer is hard. And anyone who's gone through it will tell you that, but there was an overwhelming added layer of peace from that point forward, from the spirit, of just like, "I've got you, we're going to do this together, this is going to work out." And it really changed–she always jokes, she's like, "I cannot be part of your miracle. I am an atheist." I was like, "No. God believes in you. You're part of it."
Morgan Jones 29:43
It's such a, it's such a great story. And I think, you know, everybody, I think a recurring theme in this conversation is we all need people. And sometimes they may be people that are a lot like us. Sometimes they could be people that are very different from us, but we have something to gain from those relationships in our lives.
Angie, I want to transition a little bit to talking about your work experience. So you had your dream job, you were working at Instagram.
Angie Balfour 30:14
Morgan Jones 30:15
And you said it was your dream job, but then you walked away from that job. And I think it's interesting because you said you still loved it when you left. So tell us about why you love that job, and then also how you were able to walk away from something that you enjoyed that much, because like I said earlier, like a job is a huge part of somebody's life, and so I do think choosing to walk away from something that you love is not easy.
Angie Balfour 30:45
Yeah. So, well, one, I will say, I loved that job because of . . . it was in tech, it was fast paced, it was challenging, and I worked with amazing people. And I just, I love that brand, and I loved so much about it. And so it was such an opportunity to scale, you know, I joined it when they were around 200, and then we scaled them to 1500. And so to be a part of such an influential company, and then, and learn and, and help scale them and develop them was just like such a great opportunity. And it was my dream job. And I remember–it's kind of nice when you recognize in the moment that you're living your dream, because sometimes I always haven't done that. So I recognized it at that time, for sure.
But I think, I think the point, the reason I left, is the dream changed. And by that, there was some family obligations and some things happening with my family and, and the health of a family member where I needed to . . . I realized that the job became the reason why I wouldn't be able to be as involved with helping care for that family member as I want it to be, and so all of a sudden–and you know, what's great about that place is as I shared it with the leaders and the people I was working with and the leadership team there, they're super supportive.
And I just said, like, "Hey, I really . . . I need to go and I need to be physically in Utah, and I need to do something different." And so the dream changed and what I–and I just, for a while, had the incorrect thought that what lies ahead professionally couldn't be as great as what I'd been. And then I, I think we underestimate God, I would say the vast majority of our life here. I think we're always learning how He comes through, how He always has our back, and He always has a plan that's beyond what we're capable of seeing. And I think that's just the story of our lives.
But, when I, when I opened myself up, because I fought it for a little while it just was like, I don't know if I can leave this, you know, but I knew that it was the right thing to do for my family and for what I needed to do and who I wanted to be, in that regard. And so when I was finally open to that change, then this opportunity came and the dream changed. And now I've got this other new dream job of working at Weave, and it was even more than I could have hoped for. And I've really loved and I've learned a lot and it's really stretched me in new ways. And I joined a company–what? Six weeks before COVID?–and so that was a big year for things that need to be done in a company and to be new was challenging in those ways. But I got to work with great people and it allowed me to really understand the company in a really condensed period of time. So I think . . . yeah. I think we need to be open to the dreams changing or having a start and end, and pivoting.
Morgan Jones 33:20
In your experience in work, and then also just in having lived a lot of different places and been part, like you said, the Church is the same, but there are different dynamics, and very different situations that people are worshipping in, what have those experiences taught you about service in Church callings?
Angie Balfour 33:40
Yeah. So, I do think, so I also had the experience of moving into a new Ward. And you know, being in a new location this year. I moved, obviously, from California, and then I built a home, then I moved into a new home ward, and all of this in the midst of a pandemic. And so it's just a different way of like, breaking onto the scene, right? And making your friends. And so when you're in isolation, I think, one, there's a lot more one on one going on, and it's a lot more finding out about the individual. So, I think for me, what I still felt a lot of strength and still do, you know, going to Church on zoom. Which I would never have really thought. And at first it was kind of different, and . . . but it's–you can get more out of it with what you show up for.
So for the first little while, I was kind of treating it like conference weekend and showing up in my sweats and not turning on my video, and, you know, you know, I was kind of like, "Hey," I was treating it like the conference weekend which I consider like the LDS holiday or whatever. And so what I've realized is when I wasn't getting as much out of it, it's because I wasn't making comments, I wasn't doing my reading and prepping for it, and so that's–and like the physical hours of the Church, but I think beyond that is . . . We have a small little street that we're on and I've been able to reach out to those neighbors and get to know them better and kind of be creative in the way that you connect with people, and I've actually been so impressed with how many people are trying to connect with me, who is a single woman who's moved on to a street in the middle of a pandemic. And my ward has just been really good about texts and reaching out and stopping by with a mask and six feet apart on my, on my porch and just like, letting them know, or . . . so that's kind of been my experience.
I think when you prioritize people you can find a way. And what I realized for a while is I probably wasn't doing that as well as the people around me, but their example made me realize I had to step up my game a little bit, and make that–that there was a way to do it.
Morgan Jones 35:39
So interesting, because I kind of have had a similar experience. And lately have just been like, I gotta, I gotta make more of an effort myself. And so I think we had a, we had a podcast episode where Brooke Romney talked about how, in order to have a friend, you have to be a friend, and some times that means, you know, really getting out of your comfort zone. And I know Angie, that you're a super friendly person, so that may come very natural to you, but like, for me, I'm like, oh, like, showing up to somebody's house with a gift is a little bit out of my comfort zone. And I think recognizing though how much it means, and that that's the way that you form connections is so, so important.
Angie Balfour 36:22
Well, and I think so, but for me, I mean, I'll be honest with you, my connection way is in person, and nobody wants to meet a new friend in person during this pandemic. They don't know who you are, where you've been, what you've had, and so you got to figure out different ways to do it.
And so I think for me, you know, at times, I haven't done it as well, I also think, like, I think we're all giving each other a break. Like there's a lot of like, assume positive intent, give each other the benefit of the doubt, and I think that's super important. I also think, for me, and I know we'll probably talk about this a little bit later, we talk about like the all in because that's–but I think all in is really about having your relationship with Heavenly Father and Christ be the priority of all the different stages of your life.
And I think for a long time, I felt like you had to do it perfectly all the time. But there's always this adjustment period where you're not quite sure how to do it. And I think the pandemic was a really good example of that. Like, people had been used to worshipping collectively together in a physical body, you know, a group of individuals, and when everything became remote, and especially for someone who's single, I wasn't doing Church with my own little family. I'd sometimes jump into my brothers and sisters, or my friends or things like that, but I had to like, "Okay, how am I going to prioritize this and still have spiritual experiences, and keep the spirit with me, doing it in a new way?"
And I think you have to, like, do that course adjustment, rather than have continual perfection, because that's just unattainable. But you're just like, "Okay, I'm going to give myself the benefit of the doubt. I haven't shown up as well the last couple of weeks in this new environment, and what do I need to do differently to reprioritize that?" For a long time I've always tried to do it the same way. But I think you have different life experiences, a pandemic is one of them, moving is one of them, an illness could be one of them a new job, or, or whatever–you name it, it can happen.
I think it's like, "Hey, what do I need to do differently so that Christ is still at the center of my life?" and give ourselves some grace to figure that out. And there's a process and Heavenly Father wants to help us find it. And I remember like, when I went to grad school, I was working full time, I was doing grad school, a professional program at night. And then I made, I got an opportunity to teach a college course in the morning. And for whatever reason, I thought this was a good idea to teach from seven to nine, work from nine to five, go to school from six to ten. And it was an intense period of time for me . . . it was a really intense period of time.
And what I realized in that moment is how I did in school and my job and even teaching that course was not tied to how much time I was spending, because at first I just started spending so much time studying or so much time, you know, late at night doing work. And what I realized is when I kept the priorities that Christ had asked for me to do and kept those daily scripture study, attending the temple, serving people, prayer, when I did those things, then my capabilities in all these other areas were improved greatly. I think the spirit enables you to do more things and you can be way more productive than you realize.
But I think our first default is to just be like, "Okay, I need to do this more. I'm going to, you know, I'm going to study as much as I can. That's how I'll do really good in school," but really, it's doing those things, so that–and I think, I think when we're humble enough to do the priorities that God has given us, and we do His priorities, then He can . . . blessings and allows us to be more productive in all these other areas of our lives. Because as long as . . . we have to decide and give Him our agency and allow our hearts to be changed, and once that can happen, He can help us retain information quicker, share information, have a better understanding, you know, be insightful on certain things.
And so I think that's just kind of, at least in my experience in life, that has been the ongoing thing that I've learned, is when things aren't going, as well, for me, I always just go, "Hey, am I doing the basics?" And if I'm doing the basics, and just keep doing them longer, because you're never going to give those up, it's not the point in your life, you're like, "Hey, I don't need the basics." Sometimes you just need to keep doing them longer and make sure that you're open and can get the most out of the situation.
Morgan Jones 40:35
I could not agree more. And I think, you know, one thing that always has frustrated me is when people say like, "Oh, the Sunday school answers," and I'm like, "Well, they're the Sunday school answers, because they are the answers," you know? Like, that's the reason they're getting repeated over and over and over again, because they matter and they are the groundwork.
And I think especially this year, when you were talking, I was thinking about how, one thing for me that has always helped me make sure that I was keeping God in proper priority was going to the temple. And then all of a sudden, this year, you don't have the temple to go to. And it's like, okay, so you really are down to what can you do in your home, by yourself, and recognizing that you can get just as much from that worship, as you would get, you know, I mean, obviously, not exactly the same, but.
Angie Balfour 41:32
No, I totally agree with you. In fact, it just reminded me of something, it was–and I know it's kind of in a theme, but it was a defining moment for me–but years ago, I was living up in the Avenues near the Salt Lake temple and a friend called me, I was on my way to the temple. In fact, I was literally just about to turn into the parking lot, and she was like, "Hey, I was moving today and people totally backed out and I have to be out in the next five hours, can you come over and help me move?" And I was like, "I'm so sorry. I can't, I have something planned." And then I kept . . . I hung up the phone and I kept driving.
And the Spirit in what I will say was a pretty strong rebuke, as it can be sometimes, very direct, was like, "Angie, we go to the temple to make covenants, but when we leave the temple, we should be keeping the covenants. And this is an opportunity to keep your covenants–go serve." And so I actually turned back around, got out of the parking lot, called her, and said, "Hey, my plans have changed. I'm totally free." And I thought about that a lot. And I think, you know, I too, like going to the temple was a really a consistent part of my life and had been for, you know, a couple of decades at this point.
And one of the things that I think we can bring the spirit of the temple, obviously, into our homes, but I think we can also do a check and say, "Hey, are we keeping our covenants?" and to be honest with you, sometimes in all the distraction of the past year, probably not doing that as well. And this isn't a guilt trip, because I think life is about assessing yourself, making course corrections and moving forward. And I think the time when I've made the least amount of progress is when I'm focused on a guilt trip for myself or being too hard on myself, rather than using that energy to just improve or be like, "Yeah, I didn't . . . I'm really not nailing that right now. I got to regroup and course correct," so. But I totally agree with you on that.
Morgan Jones 43:17
That's such a good story and such a good reminder, you know, it's like, what, what are we making covenants for if we aren't keeping them? So thank you so much for sharing that. You already kind of beat me to my last question, but I just wonder if you have any other thoughts on what it means to you, to be all in the Gospel of Jesus Christ? I love what you already said, by the way.
Angie Balfour 43:42
I think for me, like I mentioned, being all in is about figuring out how to keep Christ at the center of your life, having a relationship with Him and God during all the different stages of your life and really learning how to do that. But I think all in, like, I had a friend one time, she called me really just . . . and she was like, like, "This hasn't happened. My life hasn't turned out how I wanted it to be. I just don't think that Church is for me." And the conversation that I had with her–and it was good because sometimes I think you have conversations with people because you're having it with yourself, and it's good for you to hear it–but it was like, hey, this is true. And so no matter what's going on, we just have to keep doing the right things longer. There is no point that we get to in this life where it's like, “Well, this stuff hasn't worked out, so, so I gotta be out.” Because, you know, that's not what it is. It's, "Do we believe it's true?" "Are we continuing to do–you talked about the basics or the Sunday school answers–and are we continuing to get better?"
And I think that has been really fulfilling to me. And I think the question when I'm the happiest has been in my prayers when I'm like, "What is my purpose? How do you want to use me at this stage where I'm at? The people I'm associating with, where I'm living, where I'm working, the stage that my family has, how do you want to use me?” And I think when you understand and have the promptings of how the Lord wants to use you in that moment, you will always feel purposeful and all in. And sometimes when people have questions or concerns, that doesn't mean you're not "in," that just means you're at a stage where you have some learning to do. Sometimes you get the answers right away, and sometimes you have to put them on a shelf and be open for when those answers come to you. So, that's what it means to me.
Morgan Jones 45:32
I love those thoughts so much. And I have loved so many of the things that you've shared. I remember a few years ago, I had a roommate who said that her dad, she was talking to him about something that was not going well in someone's life, somebody that she cared about, and she was just kind of like, "I just don't understand why this would happen to this person." And her dad said, "You just haven't given God enough time to work it out."
Angie Balfour 45:58
Morgan Jones 45:59
And I think a lot of times, like, that is the situation. And like you said, "We don't give God enough credit." And so we have to, we have to recognize how He's always pulled through for us in the past, and trust that He will, at some point in some time, pull through for us in the future. And there's no reason, I think, like you said, you know, there's no point at which it's the right decision to just be like, “Oh, He hasn't delivered.” We're not talking about FedEx here.
Angie Balfour 46:31
Morgan Jones 46:31
So I think it's really important to realize that God does deliver, but He delivers on His timetable. And I just Angie, thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and your testimony and just your goodness with us.
Angie Balfour 46:45
Oh, well, thanks.
Morgan Jones 46:49
We are so grateful to Angie Balfour for joining us on this week's episode. A huge thank you, as always , to Derek Campbell of Mix at Six studios for his help with this interview. And thank you so much for listening. We'll be with you again next week.