• Shelly Elliott

Reflect & React: My 2017 Motto

When I was a year old, my dad was named the head varsity boys basketball coach at Bradford Area High School in Pennsylvania. Growing up as a coach's daughter gave me front row seats to not only learn the game of basketball but also the game of life. Dad had a motto for every single one of his teams. He spent a lot of time in the off-season thinking about what next year's slogan would be, putting more effort into that than Mom's birthday and Christmas gifts. Dad was particular about the words he chose each year because he wanted it to inspire the unique personality of each team. I also think Dad knew the inter-workings of each team so well that he could predict the challenges the team would face, and he wanted something the team could rally around together to overcome obstacles and achieve success. The motto was printed on the front of every player's practice jersey, the game programs, pre-game warm-up shirts, etc. It was always in sight. My brother and I both still have garb with mottos like Success is our tradition, Play with savvy!, Never give up, and Our time is now! (Sidenote: Dad claimed this one before WWE wrestler John Cena.).

My favorite coaching photo of Dad with my foster-brother, Jerry Burgos, when the Bradford Owls beat the then #1-ranked McKeesport Tigers.

This year, rather than focus too much on a list of resolutions, I decided a few weeks ago to create my own motto for 2017 and used it in the title of my first few blog posts: Reflect & React. The last 12 months were filled with dramatic changes, and for me, it is important to emphasize personal reflection, especially as I start two new roles as wife and consultant. Then, armed with insights from this reflection, I need to react. I need to ensure I continue doing what is working well and revise what is not. Awareness is incredibly useful; but if I don't make changes to address areas I need to, how can I expect to make progress and see change? As Einstein said, "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result." What results are you unhappy with? How have your thoughts or actions led to these results? What changes do you have to make to get the results you want?

Think about what you want to accomplish this year and create your own motto as a theme to 2017. Keep it short and sweet so you can repeat it to yourself as a mantra. When you start feeling frustrated or discouraged, repeat your motto to yourself in your head while taking deep breaths to relax. When you have a great day or achieve a goal, repeat it in your head with gusto!

If you have been following the Reflect & React blog series and taking some time to do some personal reflection of your own, you should have a clear idea of where you stand. Now, think about what you want to accomplish this year. And most importantly, write it down! A useful tool for letting your thoughts flow is a mind map; it's used frequently by consultants to document ideas and establish relationships . It doesn't have to be perfect; it's supposed to be messy and is specifically designed to let you see things visually on paper and draw connections between ideas. Check out this video from CNBC Careers featuring former Google career coach Jenny Blake as she illustrates how she uses mind mapping to brainstorm goals.

Below is the mind map I created for 2017. It has multiple categories that I want to focus on this year. I put my personal and professional goals on one mind map to see both areas of my life on one sheet and also because I need to balance my home life and work life. If you prefer, put your personal goals on one side and professional goals on another. It's completely up to you because it's your year, it's your life, and you're in charge!

#tools #mindmap #reflect

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