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What lessons have you learned in the past year? What hopes do you have for 2018?

I'm not one for making New Year's resolutions. I'm more of a year-round continual improvement kind of person. However, I do like using the change of year as a time to reflect and plan. A group of business women that I've collaborated with over the last few months selected the following questions to reflect on in early January:

- What lessons did you learn in 2017? What are you most grateful for? What accomplishment are you most proud of?

- What do you want more/less of in 2018? What's one thing you are welcoming, excited about, scared of? How do you want to feel?

Open ended questions allowed each of us to go in different directions with our answers and opened us up to being vulnerable. At the same time, hearing my own voice sharing my accomplishments and aspirations with the group gave the ideas a power that's lacking when it just stays in my head. Because of this experience, Paul and I decided to do a similar exercise prior to our annual strategic planning meeting for Flow Circus. This new approach led to one of our most effective meetings yet.

Taken a few years ago the morning after a winter storm, this image seemed perfect for this quote. For me, the old leaf represents the past, the beauty of the icy coating and snow illustrate the present, and the beam of sunshine illuminating the leaf and the green growth in the background of the image emanate hope for the future. When I go out with my camera, I try to slow down long enough to see the out of the ordinary, not your everyday imagery. Similarly, taking a pause at the beginning of the year provides a break from the usual, everyday routine in order to honor past success, be present in the moment, and see new possibilities.

Happy New Year!

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