How would you describe the last 12 months in one word? I’ve asked this question of a number of people and didn’t get the same word twice, but got quite a few duplicates when I asked for the same looking ahead at 2021.

One thing stood out to me, though. They were almost entirely adjectives. “well of course they were, JR, you asked us to describe something.” But hear me out…especially if the word you chose carries a negative connotation. (I’ll get to my word in a second.)

In this context (for the most part) the adjectives are describing the emotional state connected to the experiences of the past 12 months. It’s absolutely imperative to understand that the words (meaning) we are associating with 2020 are describing the emotional and physical (yes, physical) state we’re currently in and carrying into the new year. Some even more than others.

Okay, so now what?

The overwhelming theme I heard from most people regarding 2020 was “unexpected.” Just about everything that happened was beyond imagination and caught almost everyone by complete surprise in some way. There was devastating loss on an unprecedented scale in nearly every possible way.

Then, I’ve got friends that had the most unexpectedly prosperous year of their lives.

Same 12 months. Completely different experiences.

This brings me to my word for the upcoming year.


A pivot is a change in strategy without a change in vision.

Eric Ries

Jenny Blake does a phenomenal job of summing up the importance of having the ability to pivot in her book. Hell, if you only read the title every day it’s a fantastic reminder to stay focused on your next move because it’s the only one that matters.

The only thing that exists from our past is the meaning we’ve applied to it.

It’s like what Abraham Maslow said:

“You either step forward into growth or backwards into safety.”

In our world, inaction doesn’t actually exist. You’re either moving forward or backward. Growing or dying. Prospering or languishing. “No action” is an action.

That’s why I chose the word “pivot.” You can’t achieve a pivot without action. It requires you do SOMETHING.

If 2020 wasn’t your year, in order to turn 2021 around it’s going to require massive action on your part. The journey of the past 12 months has brought you to this intersection. Look at your options and pivot.

The longer you just stand staring at the sign, the further behind you get. Remember, stagnant doesn’t exist as a true state of being. The only thing standing water attracts is mosquitos. Rushing rivers can reshape continents.

“The most difficult thing is the decision to act. The rest is mere tenacity.”

Amelia Earhart

No matter where you’ve been or where you find yourself today…pivot.