The Art of The Pivot
“To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often”
– Winston Churchill
Life throws us curveballs at the most unexpected times. This truth has been experienced by the vast majority of us. How we react and how quickly we react determines the quality of our outcomes. All of that is determined by our ability to pivot.
I’m sure you’ve heard of this term before especially if you’ve ever seen Friends. If you haven’t watched the scene of Ross not-so-subtly telling Rachel and Chandler to pivot, I highly encourage you to check it out here. Now that you can hear a ringing ‘PIVOT!’ in your head, you may now read on.
What is a pivot?
The kind of ‘pivot’ I’m talking about is actually used in the business sense. Pivoting simply means changing the course of your original plan. This is clearly easier said than done but it doesn’t always have to be as hard as we make it. Pivots can be large or small and knowing when to pivot is probably the toughest thing of all. But, like the quote above by Winston Churchill, change can be a good thing.
I want to share why I’m even talking about pivoting in the first place. For those of you who haven’t heard yet, I moved back to the Land of Oz last week. To hear the full story of why, I explain it on this episode of our podcast.
Long story short, I had been living in Colorado Springs for the past several months. In that short time, I had to move from one apartment to another within the same complex. At the very end of moving day, I HAD to set a box on the stove in my new apartment because it was the last space open to set anything down.
It turns out, at some point during the day, the stove was turned on and the box caught fire while I was deep cleaning the old apartment. Thankfully, the quick-reacting neighbors called 911 and apartment management as soon as they smelled smoke! The property manager swiftly ran to the apartment and put the fire out before anything of value was damaged including my sweet pup, Bandi.
After the chaos settled, my belongings reeked of smoke and I wasn’t sure if any treatment was going to take the smell out. Depending on the outcome of being able to remove the smoke smell, I wasn’t sure if I would have to move out of the apartment, sell or throw away my belongings and completely start over, or if everything would be just fine and I could continue on as originally planned. There were SO MANY unknowns! However, what was known was that I had to make a decision and I had to make it quickly. I had to… PIVOT! (read that in Ross’ voice for full effect).
Pros vs Cons
I contemplated heavily about what would be the best thing to do short-term and long-term. After about 48 hours, I had decided moving back home to Kansas City was the best decision of all possible options. This was a huge change because I thought I said ‘sayonara’ to Kansas for much longer than a measly 8 months. In order to make the decision, I had to strip away all the extra ‘noise’ and the ‘what-ifs’ and really focus on the future and the facts.
The ‘noise’ was how much I loved Colorado, the people I had met, the church I found, the fun weekend activities, and the expectation that I would be in Colorado for a lot longer than 8 months. I had to weigh out the pros and cons and widen my perspective a bit.
For instance, my family is local in KC, so I’d be able to spend more time with them and depend on them if needed (in case I ever light my place on fire again, of course). I’d also be able to save more money and see my closest friends much more often. These among a few other things were more important to me and were worth me changing my plans in a moment’s notice. I had to make a judgement call that would change the course of my life as I knew it.
It All Worked Out
Thankfully, it all worked out. The treatment I selected to take the smoke smell out of my things worked, my move back to ‘home’ in KC has been an extremely smooth one, and it has taught me a great deal about the art of the pivot. Already, I am reaping the benefits of this decision in some amazing ways, so I am thankful for the recent challenges I’ve faced.
Expect the Unexpected
Now, just as with most things, the more you do it, the easier it gets. So, while you can’t control when these things happen, I would simply recommend being as prepared as you can be. Expect things to not always go exactly to plan, expect change, expect challenges. After all, variety is the spice of life! To help with preparing for a pivot, a great article to read is What Pivoting is, When to Pivot, and How to Pivot Effectively.
Check out these 14 Famous Business Pivots that you’re sure to recognize. It’s amazing how many well-known businesses started out as something completely different.
Until next time!
Monica Casanova, Account Manager
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