Buy the book here!
DIGEST THIS! THE ESSENTIAL IDEA:
Stuck in a career rut? Like a basketball player, remaining firmly rooted whilst scanning for their next option with the ultimate aim of scoring a basket, use a Pivot to make a purposeful and tested shift in direction towards your ultimate life vision.
DEFINING A PIVOT
- A change in strategy without a change in overall vision.
- Doubling down on what is working to make a purposeful shift in a new, related direction.
- PIVOT is plan A, not plan B, it is a normal part of our lives.
WHEN TO PIVOT
- You should be looking to pivot before you are really unhappy, burnt out, or forced to make a change…
- You can pivot when you are ready for increased challenge and impact.
- You should be expecting to pivot, and over time you improve how quickly you plan for and spot your next move.
- Expecting to pivot throughout your career means you stop taking your struggles and searching personally or as a failure in your operating system, and start focusing your valuable attention on moving forward despite the challenges.
4 STAGE PIVOT PROCESS – 1) PLANT, 2) SCAN, 3) PILOT, 4) LAUNCH
- In basketball, a pivot is when a player keeps one foot firmly planted in place while moving the other foot in any direction, exploring passing options.
- In a career, a pivot starts by planting your feet and setting a strong foundation of who you already are and what is already working – your strengths – then scanning for opportunities of interest, staying rooted while exploring options. You start testing ideas, gain feedback and eventually launch into a new direction. Scanning alone (e.g. looking for jobs) will not lead to results/score any goals.
- The 4-stage pivot process is a cycle, not a one off process – some pivots can take a few months, some take years.
- Successful pivots start from a strong foundation of who you already are and what is already working – from your values, strengths and interests and your vision for the future. It encompasses how you will define success in the next phase of your life and where you ultimately want to end up.
- It’s about acknowledging and exploiting your existing assets, rather than starting from scratch.
- Do not underestimate what you are capable of – really focus on your strengths, stop looking for the Next Big Thing and assess what is working – what am I already doing now? Start to celebrate these. If you were to dig deeper into each of these assets you could reveal 10 more related areas to pursue.
- Here you can assess your knowns and unknowns in terms of your overall vision. What known skills and strengths do you have? What unknowns are they and who could you reach out to help in the next pivot stage?
- Example: Brooke wanted to pivot her current successful online photography course business to teach more personal subjects such as work-life balance. Her known strengths were teaching and running online courses. Her unknown variables were how to set up a new business and what to do with her old one. She eventually brought in a partner with complementary skillset and rebranded her website with the tagline “Living and documenting the thriving life”, to suit her new vision.
- This is the exploration phase, and involves looking for people, skills and new opportunities to get you to your end vision, all whilst staying firmly planted.
- While looking for opportunities and gaining feedback you are having a wide variety of conversations and plugging knowledge and skill gaps.
- You are collecting ideas and becoming “discoverable” to new and interesting opportunities. You identify your desired direction and make it known to others.
- This phase can be as much about picking up new ideas you would like to pursue as well as eliminating projects you do not like the sound of.
- Ask not only What can I get? but also, What can I give? Who can I serve? What problems need solving?
- If someone were to send you a glowing thank you note a year on from now relating to your pivot project, what would you want it to say?
- Start running some small low risks experiments to test your new direction.
- These series of pilots are small extensions of the strengths identified in the plant phase, building on these to branch out into new areas and gather real life feedback, allowing for incremental adjustments along the way rather than a blind leap.
- Questions include: How can I test my ideas with a small audience? How can I make progress towards my pivot even without my next client or gig lined up?
- After each pilot, ask yourself: 1. ENJOYMENT Did I enjoy doing it? 2. EXPERTISE Am I good at it? 3. EXPANSION If not am I excited to increase my skills in this area? Is there more opportunity to expand in this market? Can I earn a living doing so?
- This fourth stage is the tipping point. You can repeat the first 3 stages as many times as is necessary to give you a greater chance of success, but eventually it is time to fully launch into the desired area to complete the pivot and set forth to your ultimate end goal.
- How to know when to launch? The following criteria can help in making that decision:
- Money saved – e.g. you have enough money saved to cover living expenses for X months, giving you enough time to build momentum in your new direction.
- Profitability – e.g. when your side hustle earns enough for you to live on, you could choose to quit your main job and fully launch into your new direction.
- Set a deadline in advance for the launch.
- Reaching a project milestone that is critical before the launch can happen e.g. once the website is up and running.
- X new clients onboarded – indicates new direction is income generating and viable.
- X new subscribers – indicates the platform has reached a certain size and will lead to more opportunities and connections.
- Gut instinct – e.g. I need to focus on this now to get out of a worse situation for my health, it feels like the right time.
- Industry approval – you get a contract, funding or other deal.
- Other factors to consider:
- What is your waiting time: how long are you willing to wait to see results you will deem to be successful?
- What (other) pilots can you run whilst waiting that will also move you towards your overall vision?
- What is your backup plan? At what point will you “call it a day” and pursue other options?
JUST TAKE THE NEXT STEP
- When taking pivot, you won’t know the entire pivot path, that’s part of the adventure – just take the next step.
- Connect the dots looking backward to see how you pivoted to where you are today and use it to connect the dots forward to where you want to be (similar to reverse engineering).
- Thinking too many steps ahead can lead to panic and anxiety.
- If your mission makes your heart sing, but the idea of launching tomorrow gives you major anxiety, build incrementally by planting, scanning, piloting and then ultimately reaching the final launch stage.
THE INTRAPRENEUR – PIVOTING WITHIN YOUR CURRENT COMPANY
- You can choose to pivot to a new role whilst continuing to work in the same company, leveraging the company’s resources to carry out projects of interest whilst receiving a consistent salary to boot.
SUCCESS INDICATORS OF A PIVOT
- Results are indicators of where you are on a pivot – are you experiencing progress, momentum and fulfilment? If not, analyse the early stages of the pivot to determine what adjustments to make.
- Our overall aim is to enter the Zone of Genius. Liberating and expressing our natural genius is the ultimate path to success and life satisfaction. You can identify this by assessing the type of challenges you are attracted to and the unique way you tackle them. You can think about the type of impact you want to have in the world and for whom.
IMPACTERS – LEARNING THE ART OF THE PIVOT IS ESSENTIAL
- Impacters are individuals who are more interested in high growth as opposed to high income but often end up wealthy in both. They love learning, tackling new projects and solving problems, are generous and cooperative, with a strong desire to make a difference, and a strong need for exploration and challenge, uncovering their callings along the way.
- For impacters, boredom is a symptom of fulfilment deficiency – of not maximising growth and impact rather than a sign of laziness.
- Impacters arent asking “What did I earn?” They are asking “What did I learn?” “What did I create?” “What did I contribute?” Their quality of life is measured by challenges, contributions and learning.
- Though they may get restless more easily, by seeing career setbacks as learning opportunities, they can use them as fuel for growth e.g. ensuring that each step they take involves enough challenge to keep them stimulated.
- Impacters find ways to thrive in uncertainty – instead of reacting to or becoming paralysed by chaos, they look for opportunities to alchemize what is already working into what comes next.
- For impacters, pivoting will be a required and ongoing lifelong process, due to their need for adventure, challenge and exploration.
TO PIVOT, KEEP YOUR ENERGY HIGH
- One of the keys to being agile in life is knowing how to quickly find your way back to equilibrium. It is difficult, if not impossible, to pivot from a place of anxiety or unhappiness.
- Your happiness formula is the unique mix of environmental factors and activities that are most likely to invigorate you and reset your energy batteries when they are running low.
- Pay close attention to what elevates your mood, performance, creativity, and physical and emotional resilience, and what kills them.
- Peace of mind is the dividend we collect by investing our day with supportive habits.
TO PIVOT, REDUCE DECISION FATIGUE
- Give yourself enough energy and time during a pivot period, by automating things you can to allow yourself the space to take bigger decisions e.g. when deciding to leave your job you can automate having the same lunch and breakfast each day.
- Drop the Bucket on unanswered questions. Keep asking and digging and go until your brain can’t take anymore, to the edge of frustration then just stop. Drop the Bucket into the well of your brain and take your mind off the problem. In doing so, the brain switches form conscious to subconscious processing and answers will seem to pop out of nowhere.
- Meditate to get quiet enough to hear your own inner wisdom.
TO PIVOT, NOTICE WHAT YOU TALK ABOUT
- Most people—including our closest family and friends—do not ask us the big questions on a regular basis, if ever. Casual conversations most often hover around stories and daily drama: This is what happened to me this week. This is how I felt about it. This is what is bugging me. Although we sometimes share the most exhilarating moments, we lean toward discussing what troubles us because that’s what is top of mind.
- What if instead we pivoted on the questions we ask and start end-of-day debriefs with: What is working best in your life right now? What are you most excited about? What does smashing success look like one year from now?
VISION AND VALUES
- If your values are your compass, your vision is your desired destination – you need to pinpoint where you want to end up.
- Your values create boundaries and benchmarks for big decisions.
- The more captivating your vision, the more it will recharge you during uncertain times. It is the difference between a vague sweeping statement such as, “I value travel and teaching” to an alluring invitation from your future self like, “One year from now I am living in London, working from a coffee shop as I prepare for a class I am teaching on international business law”.
- Your career will remain stalled until you examine what positive outcomes will motivate you into action and sustain you through the inevitable and unnerving dips in the Pivot process.
- Crafting a vision can start with a sweeping exploration, one as broad as how you want to feel one year from now. If you currently feel stuck, stagnant, or stressed, what is the alternative? If you are an impacter, it is likely that you want to feel more engaged, balanced, and healthy, and to know that you are making a positive difference in the world.
- Example: Gillian, graduated from law school and took the bar exam, but quickly realized her one-year vision did not include sitting at a desk every day working on legal briefs. Her one-year vision was to be engaged in a flexible work environment that would keep her physically active, surrounded by like-minded people, and provide stepping-stones toward a career that was conducive to starting a family and running a business with her husband.
WHEN YOUR PIVOT IS A SIDE HUSTLE
- The best side hustles have the 4 following elements:
- MARKET REACH – it should offer growth potential – there should be a customer base interested in your product. Focus more on your customer’s needs (what is their biggest challenge, what problems do they need solving) rather than how you can scale your business. Saying this, it isn’t always about listening: “If I asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses” (Henry Ford).
- ENJOYMENT – one that makes you excited to work on it.
- SKILL BUILDING – one that allows you to learn skills that may be needed in your field in years to come.
- CASH COW – one that provides an income. If not, the side hustle is no more than just a hobby. Test how quickly you can earn revenue before investing lots of money.
- Pivots that are not deemed successful are only so if you fail to extract the lessons contained to turn them into seeds of something new. For example – did you run pilots that were well suited to your strengths? What lessons did you learn during the pivot that you can take forward?
- You are not a failure as a person – you simply did not hit the mark in terms of your strategy or execution.
COMMON PILOT EXAMPLES
- Things to consider when thinking about a pilot: How closely it is aligned to current strengths and overall vision? Is this the most cost/energy/time-effective way of conducting the pivot?
- Pivot examples include:
- Seeking an advisory board position in companies of interest
- Hosting friends for a meal around a topic of interest (to research and gain feedback)
- Holding focus groups and creating a prototype solution based on their needs
- Volunteering or gaining an internship in area of interest
- An additional side project at work
- Setting up an interest group e.g. book club
- Tweaking the format of your existing services
- Undertaking study
- Writing a blog in the area of interest and seeing which topics inspire interest to take further
- Taking on a new type of client within your existing business.