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A version of this message was previously presented at a KIRUNIVERSE team meeting.

A husband and wife stand together, facing the world around them. Photograph by Ahni Nicole, 2019

Normally, before a really meaningful message is shared, you’ll have a prayer and a sacred passage or scripture reading. Well, I do pray before every team meeting. I’ll carve out ten to fifteen minutes to thank God for each and every one of you, and I’ll ask for vision, clarity and guidance as we navigate each moment along the way. And then, I’ll have a positive affirmation to focus on for that moment. So before today’s talk, I’ll share the affirmation with you. The affirmation is as follows:

I have the power to protect my peace.

Today’s affirmation is interesting to me, because as I look back over my life -- I’m very young, so whenever I say something like “looking back over my life,” I’m probably just talking about my childhood. Anyway, looking back at my childhood, I can see so many situations where, if I’m honest, I felt at the time like I did not have the power to protect my peace. Like that time I was locked in a locker by a bully in the sixth grade, or pantsed by my classmates during gym class on the day I decided to wear my spongebob squarepants boxers.

Quick show of hands, has anyone here recently felt like they did not have the power to protect their peace? Maybe you haven’t been locked in a locker, or literally pantsed in front of a captive audience, but when we think about some of our relationships, the increasingly intense coursework at school, or -- here’s one we can all agree on -- global pandemonium, there are plenty of opportunities to feel powerless in the midst of it all.

And maybe you’re here today, and you were just living your life. Going to work, getting an education, or otherwise thriving when the whole world, of course, went completely nuts. Today, if you’re taking notes -- which is something I highly encourage -- the title of this message is “Pivot. Partner. Push.” And for the sake of time, I’m going to dive right into the main points of the message.


We’ve all heard the saying before, in one way or another, that “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.” Now, you might be wondering how this applies to your situation, or childhood me who was pantsed on the football field in broad daylight in front of my seventh grade crush, and the answer is, it’s different for each person and each situation. In the film industry when you don’t land the role you auditioned for, you keep working on your talent and audition for something else. In the automobile industry, when someone throws a metal ball at your cybertruck and the world finds out your "shatterproof" windows aren’t so shatterproof after all, you keep your cool and you try again. Seriously, if you don’t know what I’m talking about, do yourself a favor and watch this video. You’ll be glad you did.

And in case these examples didn’t quite hit home, think of when you’re embarrassed on the job or at school -- you do your best to come to terms with whatever happened, and you show up the next day and hope for a better experience this time around, right? And in this present situation, where each of our lives have been seriously impacted by the war on COVID-19, there is certainly no wrong way to feel because we aren’t in control of the feelings we have, we can only control how we choose to respond to the way that we feel.

When things don’t go the way we planned for them to go, what do we do? Do we scream? Do we cry? Do we give up on what we started? And if we choose to give up, was it something we should have been doing in the first place? Whenever you are creating something special, something good, it’s important to know that challenge and hardship will inevitably find you. In fact, I would even go as far as to say that the better the work you’re doing is, the greater the challenges you’ll face will be. The key to successfully navigating these challenges is to know when to pivot. 

I mean, imagine if Google Maps knew of a closed road ahead of you, and instead of warning you, or providing you with any of the other five options to get to your destination, it simply kept you on the road to nowhere. In this life, none of us are able to see the future for certain. We do our best to understand an array of possible outcomes, and we rely on people we hope we decide to trust, and even those folks sometimes can’t help us. So even with all our best efforts, we can still end up at the roadblocks we work so hard to avoid. But think on this for a moment -- when you get to the roadblock, what do you do? Do you get out of your car and walk to your desired destination? Of course not! When you get to the roadblock, or you gain reasonable knowledge of trouble ahead, you change your course in an effort to protect your plans and your peace of mind. You know, it’s kinda funny how today the future is no more uncertain than it was yesterday, yet it was the knowledge of a need to switch up our routine (or to pivot) that brought about mass hysteria and worldwide pandemonium.

The danger of this health crisis is very real. The severity of the situation is grave. Yet even in the midst of this we still have the power to protect our peace, and the first step is to pivot. And that’s exactly what you and I have already done. Whether you went home to be with family, or you’ve quarantined on campus or in your apartment away from home, your entire day to day has changed in response to the challenges in your pathway. Social distancing has become common terminology and, sometimes, even with family or friends, it can start to feel like you’re all alone. 

Now don’t get me wrong. At first, this idea of social distancing sort of felt like it just might be in my calling. Is there anyone else here who cherishes the value of some quality alone time?! Like you have been known to just recede into your own world for a days (and/or weeks) at a time? At first, this mandate (aside from the concern of public health) felt like a dream come true! Yet in reality, we need to have actively engaged relationships in our lives. Literally! People who live isolated lives are more at risk for all sorts of diseases and health risks, and generally won’t live as long as those who are a part of a community of people who actively engage in building real relationships with one another.

And that brings me to my second point...


Who here has ever been in a conversation about self-made celebrities or entrepreneurs? I promise there are no wrong answers. This is a safe space :)

Check this out...

In a world where in one breath, we are singing the endless praises of the 'self-made' individuals among us, and in the very next breath, we’re calling them out (or trolling them) saying that they have in fact not been “truly self-made,” it is helpful to remember one central truth that unites us all -- only you can be you! And although, none of us created ourselves or one another, only I can work on making myself into who I’ve decided in my heart to be, and in the same manner, only you can work on making yourself into who you’ve decided in your heart to be. The process of making that decision and carrying out that effort is first between you and your creator, and then between you and the people you’ve decided to surround yourself with.

Write this down → Nothing worthwhile is created without the power of partnership. From the airplane, to the Tesla, to the human being. Every worthwhile creation has always required a partnership of some kind. The challenge each of us are faced with, of course, is knowing when it is time to partner with others on whatever it is you are creating or feeling called to produce. It’s just like Garrett Hedlund sang ten years ago, “Timing is Everything.” I mean, imagine if Elon Musk decided he wouldn’t learn to program unless someone taught him. We probably wouldn’t have the Tesla, or Paypal for that matter… and that’s all I’m gonna say on that.

Knowing when to bring someone onto a project, or even sometimes when it’s time to discontinue a collaborative effort is very important when it comes to creating something special, something worthwhile, something good. 

For example, as a business owner, there are guidelines set to help make sure I connect and build fruitful business relationships with the right advisors, investors, team members and clients. When it comes to client relations, we have what you call a consumer persona that illustrates the ideal client for the brand. Well, not too long ago I found myself in a situation where a potential client wanted to work with KIRUNIVERSE. They had a full team, and a great budget, but we did not align on our mission, nor did we agree on the process of collaborative work. Needless to say, it wasn’t a good idea for us to work together... and the three painstaking months we pretended to make it work provided the scars to remind us.

Sometimes we rush into relationships, not because we don't care about the value of our work, but simply because we want the work to get done. Even still, it is important to remain aware of when to partner, and who to partner with. Be patient. As my mother would say, "time will tell, and it will tell on you."


When you’ve got something good to share with the world, it does no one any good to keep it to yourself. Whether it’s a product, a service, a gift, an artwork, or some other experience of true goodness, if it has a place in this world, then it is your responsibility to make it known. 

About four or five years ago my sister and I came up with a plan to launch an art gallery. We shared ideas and research for months on end, even opened a few accounts. We knew this gallery had a place in the world, but for some reason it felt like there was always something off about the timing. Life would hit us in different ways, and the many miles between us certainly didn't help our cause. There came a time when we had decided to put the dream on pause and work on other things. It turns out, being sensitive to that reality was a beautiful thing because it allowed us to focus more on our individual gifts, and since then we've created projects that have reached and inspired thousands across the world. Perhaps you could look at this story and say "you gave up," or "you missed the mark." That, my friend, is a broken perspective.

You see, even though we had to put our shared dream for the art gallery up on the shelf, each of us has been committed to the pursuit of self-exploration, and have employed our gifts to help make the world a better place. We've pushed through seasons of hardship and overcome obstacles that once seemed insurmountable, and that's why today she runs a successful blog focused on better understanding the relationships we share with our emotions (HappyMadSad), and I manage a powerful collective designed as a safe space for individuals to collaborate with others, inspiring the world via the practice of self-exploration (KIRUNIVERSE COLLECTIVE).

Today you might read this and say, “well yeah that all looks and sounds great, but that’s easier said than done!” And that would be correct! Worthwhile endeavors couldn’t be truly worthwhile if there wasn't a challenging while (or a series of wiles) to endure. Truth be told, in every season there will be a reason to push. The title of this point is suggests that it's important to know when to push, and still, it might be worth making sure you know what to push in this season. Are you pushing the right things, the right ideas, the right relationships?

Even certain people who are close to you will doubt you in the process, because the measure of distance between a person and the worthwhile creation doesn’t determine how well or how clearly they will be able to see it. No, proximity won’t fix your perspective. You’ve got to be willing to adjust your posture. For example, if you want to understand someone, you’ll pay closer attention to their actions, you’ll listen more attentively to what they have to say, and when you desire clarity, you’ll find a way to ask them what they meant or originally intended.

No, proximity won't fix your perspective. You've got to be willing to adjust your posture.

So when people in your circle speak more negativity than positivity into your life, take a moment to pause and reflect. Understand that you can’t fix their perspective, because you can’t fix their posture. Only they can do that. What you can do, however, is reassess their proximity. 

Say it with me.

Pivot. Partner. Push.

A little louder...


That’s what each of us is called to do, no matter the gifts or the purpose that has been spoken over your life. Be encouraged that you will face challenges that will sharpen your talent into skill, and transform your aspiration into experience. So many great things are in store for you and I. The best is ahead. Just remember to take hold of this one truth, that in every worthwhile effort you put forth, in order to succeed, there are three things you're gonna need to do.

Pivot. Partner. Push.

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