What’s Your Symbol of the Year for 2021?

Have a symbol to guide your decisions throughout the year

For the past few years, I’ve been using a one-word theme to guide my actions throughout the year. It’s a concept I borrowed from Niklas Göke, who borrowed it from someone else, who also likely borrowed it from someone else.

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Drawing of Berkana(o/an) by the author
  • New beginnings
  • Rebirth
  • Nurturing
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How I came to my symbol

For the past seven years, I’ve been obsessed with the concept of reinvention. I like to say that the only constant in my life is my wife (I guess I have to adapt it now that I have a son…). Since 2015, I’ve travelled to over 50 countries and lived in 5. I’ve done many contracts and have reinvented myself as a photographer and a writer. I thrive on discomfort.


My one-word theme for 2018 was fail(yup!). 2019 was learn. 2020 was remarkable. You see the evolution? I have grown tremendously since 2018. That has happened because I dared to fail many times (and sometimes, greatly), learned skills and lessons, and tried everything in my power to do things differently (good and bad).

New beginnings

Two dying businesses and a mostly failed writing career leads me to seek new beginnings. I’m working on really groundbreaking content and technology for SkillUp Academy. I’m also writing the best book ever written about learning (a bold claim, I know).


In 2017, I was a data/software engineer. In 2018, I was a nomad and learner. In 2019, I was a game developer. In 2020, I was a writer. In 2021, I’m switching careers again, pursuing learning experience design. It’s at the intersection of everything I’ve done in the past.


I now have a son and I’m learning to care for another human being from a different perspective. My wife and I have been together for 16 years and now we have someone between us. It required a lot of adaptation. My son now needs the nurturing I’ve never had (my parents were divorced from a very young age). Near the end of 2020, I found myself really enjoying taking care of my little buddy.

How you can find your symbol

At first, I wanted to write a full guide on how to do it, but the truth is that if you have to search that hard to find it, well, maybe it just isn’t the right symbol. It’s like love, you don’t find it, it finds you.

Written by

dannyforest.com <- my new home. I don’t write on Medium anymore.

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