Reflection, Motivation, and Inspiration

This year many of us will try to accomplish goals with our students and in our personal lives. I think as we approach this process it is important to consider our reflective rituals, how we receive inspiration, and identify what works for us in achieving our goals and what prevents us from achieving our goals. I tend to be successful in accomplishing goals and so I’d like to share with you some of my process.


As 2012 approaches, I think about what a year of transition and great accomplishment 2011 has been for me. I have undergone so many life changes this year that I often marvel how I was able to be part of the success of so many of the educational projects I was involved in. These transitions included moving Rosco, my pug, and I from our home in Germany to America, transitioning from being a classroom teacher to a teacher trainer and speaker traveling the world, working on my first book to be published, undergoing an invasive surgery, and seeing the end of an important relationship. Collaborating and communicating with my Personal/Passionate Learning Network (PLN) through social media has transformed my life in such positive ways. I feel extremely blessed and consider many of the educators in my PLN and you readers as close friends. Many of you know a lot about me and when we visit the time spent is inspirational. For example, many of you who have spent time with me this year know that I love to be by the water. This is my reflective ritual where I get to take in the vastness of the world- where land, water, and sky meet- and think about how blessed I am. Many of you have sat with me during these times either literally or online as I post pictures and songs that come to mind. I believe it is important to be a reflective individual in order to keep a balance emotionally, spiritually, and mentally. Educators have tough jobs and if we aren’t daily participating in some kind of reflective ritual then I believe we will carry the weight of the world on our shoulders. That is such a heavy burden that leads to burn-out and impacts our relationships with students, family, and others. In 2011, I also adopted other regular reflective rituals which include stopping to take in the sunrise or sunset, spending time to write in a journal or this blog, jogging, and exercising. I think these reflective rituals are one of the reasons I am able to stay motivated, accomplish a lot even with life’s many hiccups, and not get burn-out. What reflective rituals did you adopt this year? How have they helped you accomplish your goals?


One of the reasons I am able to continue to be a part of such incredible education projects that are making ripples is because of the inspiration I receive from my PLN. Often what is shared online inspires me. Many of the projects shared offer a look into what students are doing, or how the world is changing in positive ways because of educators and world changers. I love the videos, music, poetry, and writing shared that exude and reflect the passion of my PLN. I will share some quotes, posts, and videos I hope will inspire you as you approach your 2012 goals.


Love the life you live, live the life you love. ~ Bob Marley

This is the mantra I try to live by everyday.

Success isn’t a result of spontaneous combustion. You must set yourself on fire. ~ Arnold H. Glasow

A great reminder of how we need to continually feed our passion with inspiration or our souls will fill starved.

Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do. ~ Apple, Think Differently Ad

This has really inspired me to try to change the world and I am crazy enough to think I do. We all do even if we only reach one student because that student will in turn make a positive impact on the world.

To surrender dreams — this may be madness. To seek treasure where there is only trash. Too much sanity may be madness — and maddest of all: to see life as it is, and not as it should be! ~Miguel De Cervantes’ Don Quixote of La Mancha.

This entire play has been what has made me question how to approach living. So many people live empty lives without passion. So many of our students have ended up in prisons and the poverty cycle. Millions suffer in this world and I almost believe they think that is just the way the world works and I find this type of thinking so insane but so many carry this mentality.

Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goals.~ Henry Ford

I tend to not listen when people tell me every reason something won’t work. For me, I try and do and if it doesn’t work as planned I don’t count this as failure but as a step in the road to finding a solution.

I’m saving the starfish,” the child replied. “Why waste your time?… There are so many you can’t save them all so what does is matter? argued the man. Without hesitation, the child picked up another starfish and tossed the starfish back into the water… “It matters to this one,” the child explained.~ A Single Starfish by Loren Eiseley

Even if we only reach one parent, administrator, or student we reached that one and that has the power to break a generational cycle and perpetual a new positive cycle.


Greta Sandler shared this gem and I absolutely love the messages!

Steve Jobs has been my hero for a long time. Here he narrates the Think Differently Ad.

This video will inspire you not to waste the day and consider the weight of how you spend each day.

Many times I try to watch the sunrise or sunset and I listen to Pie Jesu by Sara Brightman or an aria by Maria Callas. In these moments I feel awed by the world. This video makes me feel the same way. My favorite quote is at the end when Neil deGrasse Tyson says, “One must be content to love the questions themselves.”

Nick Vujicic is one of the most inspirational human beings in the planet. His message is so powerful it impacts teenagers. Whenever I have believed I have all these obstacles or life has dealt me a wrong hand and this is my excuse to not want to try then I look at this video and I realize how ridiculous I am being.

Will Smith I think gets it right when he says the key to life is reading and running. I think his reasoning for each is very true!



Adopt a reflective ritual and try to do something you never believed you could accomplish and just see where the road takes you.

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Here’s to an incredibly successful 2012 where you are inspired, challenged, determined and crazy and passionate enough to believe you will change the world through education!

Shelly Terrell

Shelly Sanchez Terrell (@ShellTerrell) is an award winning digital innovator, an international speaker/consultant, and the author of Hacking Digital Learning with EdTech Missions, The 30 Goals Challenge for Teachers, and Learning to Go. She has trained teachers and taught English language learners in over 20 countries as an invited guest expert by organizations, like the US Embassy, UNESCO Bangkok, Cultura Inglesa of Brazil, the British Council in Tel Aviv, IATEFL Slovenia, HUPE Croatia, ISTEK Turkey, and Venezuela TESOL. She has been recognized by several organizations and publications as a leader in the movement of teacher driven professional development as the founder and organizer of various online conferences, Twitter chats, and Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). Two of the projects she co-organized were shortlisted for ELTons, #ELTChat and the Virtual Round Table Language and Technology online conference. She was named Woman of the Year by the National Association of Professional Women, awarded a Bammy Award as a founder of #Edchat, and named as one of the 10 Most Influential People in EdTech by Tech & Learning. Her greatest joy is being the mother of baby Savannah and Rosco the pug. Shelly has an Honors BA in English with a Minor in Communication and a specialization in Electronic Media from UTSA, a Masters in Curriculum Instruction ESL from the University of Phoenix, and a CELTA from CELT Athens. She regularly shares her tips for effective technology integration via Twitter (@ShellTerrell),, and on her blog,, which has won several awards and recognitions as one of the top ESL, Edtech and Elearning blogs. Find over 400 of her slide presentations at


  1. Thank you for sharing your reflections Shelly! I have learned so much from you over the past couple of years. I am so happy that we got to meet face to face in 2011 and I hope to catch up with you again in 2012. Happy New Year to you..I wish you joy and peace in this new year.

  2. Thank you Shelly for a very inspiring post.I’m putting these videos on my facebook page along with your challenge for 2012 for my Italian English teachers. Happy New Year!

  3. Happy New Year Shelly,

    Thanks for sharing your secrets to success! You have definitely been an inspiration for me as you have challenged to me share more, blog more, and partipate in RSCON 3. That was an educational highlight for more me!

    Here’s to an even better 2012!

    Be Great,


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