Hattie Elliot: How to Reflect on and Improve Your Life

In Chapter 10 of 19 in her 2012 Capture Your Flag interview, female entrepreneur Hattie Grace Elliot answers "What Role Has Reflection Played in Shaping Your Personal Growth?"  She finds what separates the inspiring people in her life from others is how they reflect back, learn from their choices, plan for the future and execute on these plans.  Hattie Grace Elliot is the founder and CEO of The Grace List, a social networking company that creates destination events and experiences to forge lasting personal and professional connections across its young professional members. Elliot graduated from the University of Cape Town in South Africa, where she studied economics, philosophy, and politics.


Erik Michielsen: What role has reflection played in shaping your personal growth?

Hattie Elliot: Wow, reflection I think is one of the most painful, difficult, spectacular, and just brutal processes but ultimately in life, one of the most unbelievably rewarding. It’s why—you know, when I think about New Years and birthdays and things like that, and anniversaries, it’s why people oftentimes get very sentimental because it’s a time that you—you not only look forward but you often tend to look back, it forces you to reflect. For me, as tough as it is, I think my life has been so much more rewarding to me because I just—I force myself to kind of constantly kind of acknowledge where I am and reflect back. Coming here for instance, you know. Checking in every year with you, and talking about the business, it forces you to reflect about when I was like sitting in this seat last year, like where was I? What’s changed? But I think one of the most liberating and awesome things in life, too, about being an adult, is you have the ability, you reflect back, you reflect on the good stuff, the tough stuff, but then you have the ability to really figure out--to change what’s wrong. And I think that that’s really what separates people that I really admire and that inspire me from others is that they are people that can confront that, they can reflect back, they can acknowledge it and be accountable for things in their life and what they might need to change, and what their aspirations from what they want and they come up with a plan, and not only do they come up with a plan, they’re not all show no blow, they actually execute on that, and to their best. We’re not always gonna be successful at everything but, you know, to the best of their ability. It’s something that I really strive to do in my life, and it’s something that when I look at people that I really—I hold dear and that I really admire, and wanna be surrounded by, who inspire me to do better and be better, that’s a quality that they have as well, is ability to really reflect.

Erik Michielsen: Where do you even get started with that?

Hattie Elliot: First, I think it’s realizing what reflection is and that’s what it is. It’s that feeling that you have on those particular days, the day that your father passes away, the day that your niece was born, the day that comes around every year, something significant in your mind. I kind of even trick myself but, you know, I set up—and this is just my own little trick that I play with myself but it forces me to do it, is I set up little, you know, marks that I can use, like kind of I hedge timelines in my mind, whether it’s every Friday where I was the week before, or the first weekend of every month, and there are just specific times where I force myself to look back at my to-do list the week before and what was going on, and—what was going on with everything in my personal life, my professional life, with my finances, with the—with our membership members, with the events that I was doing, with things that made me happy, sad, and just kind of see which of those things that I can personally change, or there—that I can take action on, that’ll make this time next week Friday when I reflect that I’ll be in a better situation. Or this time next year on a date that will forever be set in my mind. Because whether it’s a happy date or a sad date, where hopefully I’m in a better place because you make your future. You make your destiny—I mean we can all be struck down with bad luck, but we do have choice, we do have the ability to be better and do better and to move forward. And that’s what I choose. That’s what I choose.