Do you feel you were meant to do something different…to do “more” than you are now? Why haven’t you changed?
I have recently been learning about, and falling in love with, the idea of a “pivot.”
Its the idea that if you are getting resistance in one direction, you pivot and change directions to take a different path.
Like in basketball where you have one foot planted, and you pivot to find the optimal direction to move the ball.
*This post contains some Amazon Affiliate links. Which means if you click a link and go to Amazon and buy something then I get a small commission at no extra cost to you. *
Table of Contents
- 1 Different Opinions of a Pivot
- 2 What is my opinion of a pivot?
- 3 What kind of pivots are possible?
- 3.1 Career Pivots
- 3.2 Health Pivots
- 3.3 Hobby Pivots
Different Opinions of a Pivot
From my readings on the subject there seems to be some differences of opinion on what a life pivot or career pivot is.
Some people take it to mean a gentle correction in your life’s course. Such as going from being an employed janitor to starting your own cleaning company.
Other people may view it as a life overhaul where if you hate being a janitor you give it up to become a school teacher. So instead of a gentle course correction, this is like planning a whole new journey.
(Sorry if the naval analogies aren’t working… I’ve never sailed a day in my life, so real sailors are probably picking up on that 🙂
An example of differences in opinion comes from the Amazon reviews for the book Pivot: The Art and Science of Reinventing Your Career and Life by Adam Markel.
There is a 4-star review of the book where the reviewer says they appreciated the book, but they viewed the book to be about major career transformations and not pivots. So this reviewer believes that a pivot is gentle course correction, not an overhaul.
What is my opinion of a pivot?
I know I’m supposed to firmly plant my flag in one camp or the other.
But I can’t.
I think both can be a pivot.
My reasoning is that every marathon or journey starts the same way – with one single step.
If you don’t start you never finish. Small steps can lead to big changes.
How many of us know we aren’t where we want to be… but we don’t do anything about it. Give us Netflix and some ice cream and we’ll swallow our misery.
Doing nothing can seem like the easy way, but you need to flip that. You need to realize that doing nothing and staying unfulfilled is hard. Its eating away at you day by day.
(Someone please call Hallmark, because I think we just had a moment 😉
What kind of pivots are possible?
This is the one we most commonly think about when we think of pivots.
- It could be taking your business in a totally new direction (Such as Simple Green Smoothies did…they started out a mommy blog and saw their smoothie pics on Instagram were getting a lot of attention…the market told them where to go)
- It could be taking a different role as an employee (An example is myself. I work as a pharmacist but I’ve morphed into becoming the marketer for the company, and I still work there as a pharmacist. The marketing is a role that I find stimulating and satisfying…so it has improved my job satisfaction.)
- It could be a total shift, and starting a completely new career (Example is Pat Flynn. The online Smart Passive Income guy. He was an architect, got laid off, and that prompted him to start his journey as an online businessman.)
If you are interested in career pivots I have another article that you will find entertaining. Click here to view it.
And here is an article on how to educate yourself for a career pivot.
This is one we may not think of as a pivot, but it absolutely is.
Small changes in how you live your day to day life can have huge impacts!
I love the scene from “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead” where he shows the graphic of his priorities. His own health was very low on the hierarchy of priorities. Well below money and material things.
How many of us do the same? Sacrificing our health for chasing fleeting things that don’t truly make us happy.
Working in a pharmacy I’ve seen many health pivots over the years. People that start a walking program, that progresses to hiking or biking, then they get a gym membership or pool membership, and the pounds start melting off and then I don’t see them anymore. Why? Because their dependence of medications is reduced or eliminated. Does it happen? Yes. Does it happen overnight? No.
But the decision to make the change happens instantly. Its the light switch moment where you take one step, then another and you build on that. You start the walking program.
Basically you just start. You could analyze and craft out the “perfect” regimen for you but before you know it you’ve put on another 10 pounds, and have come up with another 1000 excuses why right now isn’t a good time.
Examples of Health Pivots I know of:
How a 50 year old woman – dreadfully afraid of water – learned to swim across a large lake
I know a lady who was very scared of water. She said she didn’t learn to swim until she was in her 50’s. This was because of fear.
Like many of us she had a sedentary lifestyle and the pounds piled on. Her joints started hurting. Her doctor told her to start water aerobics. The water would help take some of the weight off her overburdened joints.
So she started this water class (in shallow end where you can touch), and she slowly got more and more comfortable being in the water. She slowly began learning swimming skills.
She eventually learned to swim, and became so comfortable in the water that she swam across a local lake that is about 1km wide.
Summary: She started! She started the class and took “baby steps” to learn the skills and build her fitness.
How my family member with a personal history of gestational diabetes and family history of diabetes cut the sugar
My family has inherent genetic risks for Type 2 Diabetes (being Metis…which is a Canadian indigenous group), but more importantly we tend to have a sweet tooth. And type 2 Diabetes is a lifestyle disease for the vast majority of patients.
I used to wake up in the middle of the night, chug a Coke until my throat burned and eyes watered, and then go back to bed. So yeah, I think we like sugar.
This particular female family member of mine also had gestational diabetes (which is when you have inadequate blood sugar control while pregnant) and it improved following giving birth. But it increases her risk of developing full blown Type 2 Diabetes as she ages.
Now that she is in her early 40’s she knows she has to do something about her sugar and fitness levels. Diabetes is like a fire burning on the horizon and you’re driving toward it. Sugar and inactivity fuels the car making you go faster and faster toward the horizon. She needed to cut the fuel.
She needed to cut the sugar and get her body moving.
So instead of getting overwhelmed by reading a hundred fitness books and diet books she took the most obvious step.
And that obvious step is walking (excuse the pun).
She started keeping track of her daily steps and aimed for 10,000 steps. It is a motivator to get her moving.
And she cut the sugar; think about all the empty calories from sugar-drenched beverages you consume.
They taste good though don’t they? But just realize they fuel the car that sends you speeding toward Destination Diabetes.
What did she do drink instead of pop? She bought a cheap jug with a spout and uses it to make infused water.
She comes up with crazy combinations. Ones you wouldn’t think would ever go together, but they do.
When she visited me this summer we had Cucumber mint infused water which was delicious. It reminded me of a fancy hotel I once stayed at where the fitness room had free Cucumber mint water. Mmm.
If you want to start something… then do it!
(Some of my favourite health-related books are written by Dr. Mark Hyman. A functional medicine doctor – MD – from the United States. You can check out his books on Amazon here. At work I usually have his article on Magnesium printed out so I can hand it to patients. I wish I could get paid every time I recommend his books to patients in the pharmacy. Lucky for me the link above is an affiliate link so if you agree that his books are good I will get a small finder’s fee from Amazon for recommending his books. 🙂
Did you just say to yourself, “how the hell can a hobby be a pivot?”
If you did, I’m glad. Now at least I know you’re thinking about it.
I was going to call this one a happiness pivot, but thats too general.
Are you stuck in a routine where you get up, prepare for work, go to work, come home and make dinner, sit in front of TV and “veg out”. Then you go to bed and the repeat.
We are a society of consumers. Not creators.
But a hobby lets you flip that around. It lets you pivot.
Instead of always just consuming what other people have created (such as watching TV or ironically reading this blog), having a hobby allows you become the creator.
How many people have died and passed on their TV remote control to the grand kids and said, “Here. I really want you to have this.”
No, it doesn’t work that way.
You pass along some needlework you did, or a table you built, or a painting, or beautiful photographs, or jewellery you created.
When you find a good hobby you get in the zone, you get lost in your work and time doesn’t mean a thing.
You find a happiness that is a special bond between you and the hobby. Other people may not understand. But its your thing.
So you want to pivot toward happiness? Have a look at your evening routine. Are you a consumer or a creator?
Have you always wanted to play guitar or the piano? What is stopping you?
You could buy a used keyboard for cheap, plug your headphones into it and practice right next to a sleeping baby if you wanted. Its not like you have to pound away on a grand piano anymore. And go to Youtube and watch videos to learn to play. I play guitar and I’m amazed at the variety of guitar tutorials on Youtube. I love it!
If you say you don’t have time, remember you have to make time.
You could knit on your morning commute. You could take a woodworking class in the evening instead of watching reality TV. You could keep a log book and find out where you are wasting time each day doing stupid stuff.
I love the idea of pivots. It is such a broad term but there are so many options for bringing happiness and variety into our lives.
If you need some inspiration on creating an amazing life pivot, and you need somewhere to start, then check out this post I wrote on “31 Writing Journal Prompts to Inspire an Awesome Life Pivot.”
If you have a personal life pivot or know any inspiring stories, let me know.