The Year of Ownership

January 2018

It’s that time of year when I reflect on the past year and do a self-assessment on what I’ve accomplished, where I failed, and what should I improve on throughout the upcoming year. When my sister and I turned 35, we started our own tradition of using our birthdays (7-27NOV) as the time to create our new goals and plans for the upcoming year rather than creating new year resolutions. We continue to do it and we usually celebrate by doing something together and talk about our accomplishments and new goals.

Each year our goals rarely change. They typically fall into the categories of finances (decrease debt), nutrition (eat cleaner), fitness (get fitter), and maybe something to do with a relationship or relationships. Many times I have also set a milestone goal – something related to school (e.g. defending a dissertation) or my work (e.g. current or future job).  And in recent years, I have chosen a theme that I try to focus on throughout the year for personal growth and development.

One year my theme was ‘simplicity’. I felt that my life needed to be less cluttered and I needed to be more deliberate on what I was doing, how I was spending my time, with whom I was spending my time, and why. I desperately needed to get “back to the basics” and live more simply. So, I spent a year with that focus in mind.

Another year I chose to work on ‘patience’. And I learned several things throughout this year: 1) I learned what it felt like to fail over, and over, and over again; 2) I learned that God has a sense of humor and He had fun at my expense by testing me for me the entire year; and 3) I learned that patience is a virtue in which I have very little, and I cannot develop patience in one year or several. It takes a lifetime to truly develop and also improve, as with many of the personal things I choose to work on.

Last year my focus was on ‘Mission’ work.  Not only did I plan on and actually go on a mission trip, back to the Philippines, I was also on a personal mission of finding my life’s calling or purpose. I truly felt adrift and unsure of the direction I wanted to go professionally since I graduated from Case in May 2016. And what I learned most during this year is that my ‘calling’ is not out there somewhere to be found. Nor is it as if God is holding this deep dark secret and waiting to reveal it to me at some special moment. What I “found” was a deep understanding that I merely have to CREATE it. And that no matter what I am doing, where I am working, I get to CREATE my purpose. Create meaning. Create impact. Create change!

It is very liberating once I embrace it. It is also quite daunting. To CREATE implies ownership. And ownership of something means you take on the necessary responsibilities to include being held accountable for those things that you own. And perhaps the latter is what scares people from taking ownership of what they ought to. This past year, I have been creating what I hope are meaningful opportunities for people at work, and I know I must own the processes to ensure I continue creating these opportunities. Whether the experience is meaningful or not is not necessarily up to me, but part of my responsibility is to share what I can so that others might be inspired and motivated to also be engaged.

Therefore, it is only natural that this year’s theme is OWNERSHIP. For 2018, I need to truly embrace ownership of my own paths in life and ownership in my work, and to do this, I know I need to be more disciplined – disciplined in doing what I want and need to do to get closer to reaching my goals, and disciplined in creating meaningful experiences and opportunities throughout the year, not just for others or coworkers, but also for myself.

Thank you 2017 for a wonderful year of exploring, growing, and creating. I look forward to an exciting 2018! I am sure to face many disheartening challenges along the way, but those too, I will own.


  1. What significant lessons did you learn in 2017?
  2. In what areas do you plan to grow in 2018?
  3. What will you create and own this upcoming year?

“Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss it, you will land among the stars.”

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