Suzi Finkelstein on her words for 2019 

Jamila Rizvi

I often quote Maya Angelou: `I have great respect for the past. If you don't know where you've come from, you don't know where you're going.’ This was a `practice what you preach’ moment!

Over the holiday break, I created some space to look closely at 2018 in readiness for some forward gazing. I noticed there were many moments that made me proud. In my close of year message, I described the activities in detail so I remained at a higher vantage point.

There were moments when I stood tall, when I stretched myself, when I backed myself, when I tested my resolve, when I surprised myself and often times when I surpassed expectations. 

There were also moments when I felt disappointment, dissatisfaction and overwhelmed by distractions. 

I recognised the ingredients for development and also more opportunities for further growth. 

Last year I had a set of words that I ‘partnered with’: words that I drew on for inspiration, insight and to boost my courage when I felt the ‘wobbles’

  • Calm: to remind myself to breathe and notice what the moment was truly requiring.
  • Considered: with all decisions and responses, this was my reminder to slow down my reaction to be reflective and informed.
  • Confident: I have reached a place where I have much to draw on and it was finally time to recognise this. This was a reminder to consider myself as a valuable resource.

These words served me well. They reminded me to search within and find the voice that could give me clarity and strength. These words were not only drawn on in moments of stress, but they also created the space for foresight and planning. 

To motivate more of this positive growth, I went about finding my set of words for 2019, and arm me for the next year in my career.

In the book The Power of Moments:  Why Certain Experiences Have Extraordinary Impact by Chip and Dan Heath (2017), I discovered the power of a defining moment and the essential ingredients to create one. In these defining moments that can often be life changing, we need at least one of these four elements:

  • Pride: ‘defining moments capture us at our best - moments of achievement, moments of courage. To create such moments we need to understand something about the architecture of pride - how to plan for a series of milestone moments that build on each other en route to a larger goal.’ (p. 13)
  • Insight: ‘defining moments rewire our understanding of ourselves and our world.’ (p. 13)
  • Elevation: ‘defining moments rise above the everyday.’(p. 12)
  • Connection: ‘defining moments are social. These moments are strengthened because we share them with others.’ (p. 14)


These words not only excite me but they create a stepping stone that is quite dynamic. I have tweaked them in order to suit my purpose. I intend to also use these to guide the targets I will set to measure success and to give myself a framework to recognise my powerful moments:

Pride: a reminder that ‘what gets measured gets managed’ (Drucker). To celebrate the steps as they will be celebrations in their own right and of course will inspire more. 

Elevate: this will serve as a reminder to stretch and back myself. To rise to a higher platform. I believe my role requires this of me not only in terms of the stretch but also with regards to creating the space between the doing and acting. I need to be more strategic with my engagement and time allocation.

Insight: this will serve as a reminder to once again draw on my knowledge and also to increase mine as I am informed by others. 

Connection: I am a social being and my community is important to me. I can easily strive for my targets and have little energy left for the ‘people’ element. This also serves to remind me to slow down and reconnect to self. 

To take this up a notch from my experience in 2018, I intend to be more proactive and create these moments, not only reframe and reflect upon them.

`We can be the designers of moments that deliver elevation and insight and pride and connection.

These extraordinary minutes and hours and days – they are what make life meaningful. (p.266).

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