Winning Words

2020 might have won, and 2021 has just begun


A friend of mine is an expert in emotional relevance. His name is Alon Zaibert and he writes a terrific blog. In a blog that he wrote just before Christmas, Alon visits the topic of identifying and embracing the struggles we all face.

“It is clear we want to believe those who are sharing with us their personal story as in our core, we are good. We root for the hero who struggled and came out victorious. We relate to them because we struggle as well. And when we see someone who has done it, like us, we relate to them. We cheer for their achievements as if they are our own. But it seems that most of us use others’ victories as another excuse to stay stagnant. To not go ahead with their own desires and wishes. It is the struggle ahead that scares most of us.” — Alon Zaibert

As I read his blog, I thought about the year that has passed, and the lingering impact and effect that the year has left us with. For many of us, it is that the year 2020 had won, as we lost people, jobs, businesses, and for some of us, we lost hope. Yet it is also true that 2021 has just begun. We are still facing overwhelming uncertainty, still grieving, worried, and wondering. The struggle is real, and I do not want to diminish the reality of that.

Each year we recognize the first day of January as the start of something new. New hopes and dreams, new goals and objectives, and a new and fresh start at life. This year seems different as we have many of the same battles still ahead. My encouragement is that we do identify and embrace the struggles that we are facing. Let’s lean into them instead of trying to outrun them. When we try to run away from our struggles, sooner or later we will run out of energy, we will become exhausted, and now we will have to face our struggles from a disadvantage as we are wiped out from our attempt to avoid and evade them.

As Alon says, “It is the struggle ahead that scares most of us.” Whatever struggle we are facing, if we allow it to, the grip of fear will control us. No matter the magnitude of what we face, we still get to decide what we will allow and what we will not allow when it comes down to how we will choose to respond.

Fear is real. We need to try and lean into that fear and find the first seed of courage, that when nurtured, will grow and give us the strength and courage we need to embrace our struggles and fears. Remembering what Mark Twain said, “Courage is the resistance to fear, mastery of fear — not absence of fear,” has always been a source of inspiration for many.

The last word is control. We need to focus on the controllable instead of becoming consumed with what is uncontrollable. The things that we can control as we embrace the struggle are our behaviors, attitudes, and actions. We can make the choice to love and support those around us in their struggles. We can control what we read, watch, and listen to, filling our minds and hearts with positive thoughts and winning words. The year 2021 has just begun, how will you embrace the struggles and the opportunities that may come your way?

I know that embracing the struggle or leaning into the struggle might sound like a rah-rah message, but I assure you it is not. It’s probably the best advice that had been passed along to me in my own struggles, and now I am sharing it with you. I really would love to hear how 2021 is beginning for you at 2020 may have won, and 2021 has just begun, giving us time to do what we can to help make this a better than good year.

Michael Norton is the grateful CEO of, a personal and professional coach, and a consultant, trainer, encourager and motivator to businesses of all sizes.

Michael Norton


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