I first heard of Janus when I was in the tenth grade during a welcome-back address from our vice principal after the Christmas break. Considered the God of Gates and Doors, this Roman god lent his name to the month of January and had a rather unusual appearance. He was depicted with a double-faced head, each looking in opposite directions. It is believed that he was depicted in this fashion because of the notion that gates and doors look in two directions. In this way, one of his faces was able to look backwards while the other looked forward, representing Janus’s contemplation of the happenings of the old year while looking forward to the new one.
A time of celebration
We all possess the dual-face characteristic of this ancient Roman god. It is a quality I wholeheartedly endorse. As we close out the old year with family gatherings and festivities, we usually spend time musing over the happenings of the past year, while considering the paths that we want our lives to take in the coming one. The end of the year is primarily about celebrating. And while it is fitting to celebrate the season, you should also take time out to celebrate all the hard work you put into attaining the goals you set over the past year. And if, for whatever reason, the year did not turn out as well as you anticipated, you should still celebrate the small victories you enjoyed along the way.
A time for contemplation
Although this is something that should be done throughout the entire year, this is the time of year when traditionally, most people give thought to the direction they want their lives to take over the next twelve months. They contemplate the goals they want to achieve, the lives they want to impact, the personal relationships they need to cultivate, the business contacts they need to establish, the changes they need to embrace, and ultimately the person they must become in order to make it all happen.
A time for new beginnings
In his role as the Guardian of exits and entrances, Janus was also believed to represent beginnings. He was frequently used to symbolize change and transitions. These include the progression of the past to the future; the transition from one condition to another, or of one vision to another. He was worshipped at the beginning of the harvest time, planting, marriage, birth, and other types of beginnings, especially the beginnings of important events in a person’s life.
You play an even more significant role in your life because, in addition to representing new beginnings in your life, consciously and subconsciously, you are also the creator of the events in your life. Not only on January 1st, but every single day of the year. Janus could observe the happenings on either side of the gate, but I am sure you would agree that he was powerless to affect the change necessary to ensure the future would be different from the past. Unlike Janus however, you have a mind that allows you to recall events from the past, analyze them in the present, and project them in the future. This means that through this incredible endowment, you have the ability to observe your life—not just like a historian or a fortune teller—but like a sculptor, through vision and painstaking work, sculpting a life of your design.
A time for self-evaluation
As you emerge through the door or gate of the old year to enter the new one, do so through a process of self-evaluation. Don’t rest on your laurels. Refuse to be complacent, for that will only breed failure. Rather, seek ways in which you can improve your level of effectiveness. Here are some questions that may help:
What habits did you develop over the past year that served you well?
What habits do you have now that do not support the goals and aspirations you have this year?
What was the biggest challenge you overcame last year?
What was your biggest setback(s)? What lessons did you learn from it (them)?
Awake the Janus in you, and start planting the seeds that will help you to create an abundant harvest—and a new beginning. Do it today.
Keep On Pushing!
As an original member of the 1988 Jamaican bobsled team and captain of the 1992 and 1998 teams, three-time Olympian, Devon Harris achieved his grand dream. His current dream is to inspire others to achieve theirs. Tapping the same energy, determination, and skills that enabled him to bobsled with the best in the world. Devon, as a motivational speaker, is now sparking audiences of all ages to dream big and take their “game” to the next level.