Start a new year with new goals, a new you

Published 11:25 pm Thursday, August 6, 2015

A new school year brings new beginnings and a return to the routines, both of which can be a welcome opportunity. Figuring out how to make the most of those opportunities may come down to personal leadership.
Dr. Kevin Elko, a well-known speaker and leadership coach, recently spoke to the athletes, teachers, parents, coaches, and others in the Troy community. His message was simple and valuable, no matter whether a coach or a student: As the normal routines creep back into our lives this time of year, it is important to maintain and improve our leadership roles in every aspect of our lives.
As Elko said it all begins with how we speak to ourselves: “How do you talk to you?”
In order to be a good leader, we have to tell ourselves that we are a good leader. In short, we have to encourage ourselves in order to be able to encourage others.
And that is an important trait to master.
“Somebody told us something 5,000 times, and now you’re saying it to yourself,” Elko warned of negativity. Instead, he said, take constructive criticism in check and use it build yourself up. Let the rest of the harsh comments fade away, and continue to speak positivity.
We know for students of all ages, and for adults, negativity and doubt can be powerful adversaries. Elko’s practical advice on self-talk and bolstering a positive attitude can make the difference for students in the classroom who face the challenges of learning new materials and mastering new situations. The advice also can apply to anyone who seeks to be more successful in his chosen career.
“Just go for what you love,” Elko said, explaining that passion – for your routine, for your work, for your studies – is necessary for success and necessary for happiness, in life and in school.
Elko also reminded his audience to approach the upcoming year as a fighter, not a follower. Don’t stand in the crowd of cowards, he said. Instead, be a leader in the classroom, on the field, on the stage or in the workplace.
Those are words of wisdom that we all would do well to heed.

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