What Word Will Describe 2021?

Teresa Kowal
4 min readJan 7, 2021

I think we can all agree — with a giant sigh of relief — that 2020 is behind us. Yet, to succeed with personal and professional growth, we must look ahead. What will 2021 bring for you?

While I believe that some world events and forces engulf us in ever-growing avalanches of events, we do have much control over our everyday lives. We make choices — to keep or change jobs, to invest in new technology or to adapt existing systems. The selections we choose help us to achieve our goals.

Each year, I choose a single word to help me guide my decisions and choices throughout the year. I ponder my word of the year on a daily basis and I consider my short-term and long-range goals in light of my word of the year.


For 2019, I chose the word outreach as my word of the year. I spent a lot of time developing new relationships and making the effort to rekindle old relationships. Reaching out to others was my mantra for the year — how could I help my family, friends, and clients?

I used the word outreach to guide decisions for my business and to increase my network of professional colleagues. Each day I considered how I could reach out to others and help them increase their success in innovation and management?


In December of 2019, I chose the word economical for my word of the year in 2020. As I described in another post here, I never imagined that “economical” would mean searching for toilet paper at the supermarket. As 2020 dawned, I wanted to optimize (economize) my use of all resources.

In the end, the word economical served me well in 2020. I optimized both business and personal relationships, streamlined processes and systems, and added new time management programs to my daily routine.

In my personal life, my husband and I temporarily moved to an apartment much smaller than our house, so I have learned to economize space as well. (Though, the local Goodwill employees started frowning when I showed up — I guess they didn’t want to sort through another hundred items of my barely-worn shirts and skirts…)


So that brings us to 2021. I learned a lot about myself in 2020 with the relocation in the middle of a government lockdown causing shortages at the supermarket. Economizing was important. But I also learned that I needed to be patient, flexible, and continue to optimize my time. Thus, my word of the year for 2021 is willingness.

Willingness will help me focus on goals and objectives. This year, my business goals include expansion of course offerings — check out my 1Q 2021 classes here. I also want to continue growing my network and helping others connect. These goals lead to the initiation of the Creative Cafe.

Creative Cafe

In the Creative Cafe, we can share ideas on innovation, leadership, and engineering management while growing our networks. We’ll meet about every two weeks for an hour for a completely open discussion. Our first introductory session of the Creative Cafe is Friday, 8 January 2021 at 10:00 AM CST. Here’s the Zoom link. Join the fast-paced hour-long conversation at no cost.

What is Your Word for 2021?

Share your word for 2021 in the comments and come to the Creative Cafe on Friday, 8 January to share your word. My goal is to go above and beyond your expectations this year — willingness!

See you soon!

To define yourself as a transformative innovation leader, you need to sustain continuing education. Innovation is learning! For more information on open courses and customized learning for innovation best practices, please contact me at info@simple-pdh.com or area code 281, phone 787–3979.

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About Me

I am inspired by writing, teaching, and coaching. I tackle life with an infusion of rigor, zeal, and faith. It brings me joy to help you build innovation leaders. Teresa Jurgens-Kowal is an experienced innovation professional with a passion for lifelong learning with a PhD in Chemical Engineering and an MBA in Computer and Information Decision Making. My credentials include PE (State of Louisiana), NPDP, PMP®, and CPEM, and I am a DiSC® certified facilitator. Contact me at info@simple-pdh.com or area code 281 + phone 787–3979 for more information on coaching for entrepreneurs and innovators.

This was first published on the blog at www.Simple-PDH.com.

Follow me on Twitter @globalnpd.



Teresa Kowal

I tackle life with an infusion of rigor, zeal, and faith. My passion is innovation and helping others improve their new product development ecosystems.