Turn a corner

If you turn a corner, you've improved or corrected something that had been going badly.

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Turn a corner

The expression I’d like to share with you today is “to turn a corner.” To turn a corner means to finish or pass through a difficult time. To correct your actions. To put difficulties in the past. The NFL suffered from a few years of ratings declines. Certain stadiums were half-empty on Sundays—an embarrassment to the country’s most popular sport. But in the last few years, ratings have increased; most controversies seem to have died down. The NFL has turned a corner. The NFL has put its difficulties behind it and is now looking toward the future.

You can often say that a person turns a corner if that person has suffered from personal difficulties in the past. You might know someone—or this may even describe you—we all know people who have had personal struggles. It could be addiction, unemployment, divorce, drinking problems, whatever. This happens in life. And for some people it lasts a little longer than for others. But the important thing is to be able to turn a corner. To correct things in life that aren’t going well.

You might describe a friend or family member and say, “He really turned a corner after he got married.” Or you might say that another friend suffered from depression after losing his job, but that he turned a corner after he got some more education and got on a better career path.

When you use “turn a corner,” you’re saying that the person or company involved had an active part in making a change. I really turned a corner in my career after I found a job that I liked. In this example, I took the initiative to find a job I liked. I had a part in it, so we say that I turned a corner.

Likewise, the NFL turned a corner because they recognized they had a problem and took some active steps to make a change. They quelled the controversies, invested in player safety, and made sure the product on the field was compelling. They had an active role in making a change for the better, so we say they turned a corner.

We talked about WeWork a few weeks back. It’s too early to say whether they’ve turned a corner or not—their crisis was just recently. But we may look back on the events of this fall and say that the company’s new leaders turned a corner when they replaced the CEO and changed the company’s strategy.

JR’s song of the week

I wrote this episode on a train to New Jersey, so I nominated this week’s song—“Dancing in the Dark” by Bruce Springsteen. This song is in my head because I discovered a great cover of this song by the singer Passenger. You can find it on YouTube—great cover. It’s a rock song, but the cover is acoustic and mellow. Either version is great. “Dancing in the Dark” by Bruce Springsteen and the cover by Passenger.


That’s all for today. Happy Thanksgiving to those of you who are in the United States—I know a lot of you are. I hope you’re getting a taste for what an American Thanksgiving celebration is like. Usually a big meal sometime late afternoon, football on television, catching up with friends and family, maybe some shopping tomorrow, if you’re brave enough.

The holiday began with the Pilgrims, the first European settlers in the Americas, who suffered a devastating drought in their first punishing winter in the new world. The next year, they had a bountiful harvest and in celebration, in October of the year 1621, 53 Pilgrims celebrated with 90 Native Americans at the first Thanksgiving—a three-day feast to give thanks to God for the blessings of the harvest. And this is the occasion on which we, today, almost 400 years later, celebrate the blessings we have in our modern life.

So on that note, I would like to say thank you to all of you for your kind words, your advice, your encouragement over the years.

Happy American Thanksgiving wherever you are, and we’ll be back here on Monday with our next episode. See you then.

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Story: American football celebrating 100 years