Creating New Beginnings

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 face looking in opposite directions. It is believed that he was depicted in this fashion because of the notion that gates and doors face two directions. In this way one of his faces was able to look backwards while the other looked forward; representing Janus’ 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 whole-heartedly 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 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 you should do throughout the entire year, this is traditionally the time of year when 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 plan 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. It is no surprise that he was worshipped during the planting and harvest season, as well as during other important “beginnings” such as marriages and births.

You play an even more significant role in your life because you are the creator of most of the events that take place; 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 that the future would be different from the past. Unlike Janus however, you have a mind that allows you to recall past events, analyze them in the present, and project them into the future. Through this incredible endowment you have been given the ability to do more than just observe your life like a historian or a fortune teller. Like a sculptor, through vision and painstaking hard work, you can shape your life to your will.

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.

What habits did you develop over the past year that served you well?
What current habits do not support the goals and aspirations you have for the coming year?
What was the biggest challenge you overcame last year?
What was your biggest setback?
What lessons did you learn from them?

Awaken the Janus within and start planting the seeds that will help you to create an abundant harvest and a new beginning. Do it today.

Keep On Pushing!


About the Author
Devon Harris is a member of the original “Cool Runnings” Jamaica Bobsled Team which competed in 1988 Winter Olympic Games in Calgary, Canada. He has also competed in the 1992 Olympics in Albertville , France and the 1988 Games in Nagano, Japan. He is currently a Motivational Keynote Speaker, Workshop Facilitator and Author. Visit his website at


  • Devon Harris

    Devon Harris was a member of the Jamaican Bobsleigh team and competed in three Winter Olympics; he later joined the army and attended the Royal Military Academy in Sandhurst. Born on Christmas Day, 1964 and raised in a violent ghetto environment in Kingston, Jamaica, the greatest gift Devon Harris ever received was the belief that a positive attitude and a never say die philosophy would carry him farther than a sense of injustice and a heart filled with anger.A graduate of the prestigious Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in England, Devon received a Queen’s Commission in December 1985 and served in the officer corps of the Jamaica Defence Force until December 1992 when he retired as a Captain.At the heart of Devon’s message are the lessons he has learned of the power of persistence over all sorts of obstacles in order to live one's best life. His mission is to bring this message of how everyone can keep on pushing and working for their dreams every day of their professional as well as personal lives.Encouraged by his commanding officer, Devon tried out for and was selected to the first Jamaican bobsled team which competed in the 1988 Olympic Games in Calgary, Canada. Their exploits inspired the Disney blockbuster movie Cool Runnings. Devon also competed in and was captain of the 1992 Winter Olympic Games in Albertville, France and the 1998 Games in Nagano, Japan.The Keep On Pushing Foundation which he founded in 2006 aims to support and enhance the education of kids in disadvantaged communities around the globe by providing practical solutions to the challenges that are preventing them from getting educated.Through the Keep on Pushing Foundation, Devon also works with Right to Play as an athlete ambassador, supporting Right to Play’s efforts in using sports and play in refugee camps around the world to enhance child development and build community capacity.As an ex-serviceman, Devon understands the commitment, sense of duty and sacrifices made by those who volunteer to serve. As a private citizen he is cognizant of the fact that the freedoms he enjoys are paid for by the courage and sacrifice of these men and women. As a result he has also devoted time to visit the troops serving in the Persian Gulf.He is the author of the motivational children’s book, Yes, I Can! and the semi-auto-biographical motivational book Keep On Pushing: Hot Lesson From Cool Runnings.

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