Pivot with Purpose

I was recently having coffee with a former client and now friend. I hadn’t seen him in a while, and my attempts to get together with him were thwarted by meetings, bad colds and holidays. We finally got together for a cup of coffee in the afternoon, and he opened with, “I have news. I’ve decided I’m no longer going to pursue the industrial design business I’ve been in for the past 10 years. It’s time for me to move on.” This was a surprise, and yet, not a surprise to me. The business had not been achieving the results with the increase in marketing and outreach that he persistently and passionately pursued everyday. There was something else going on.

We discussed his new focus, and how he was going to keep the bills paid as he pursued his new passion. I mentally filed the encounter away and returned to work.

Last week, I was at a networking meeting and ran into a contact that I hadn’t seen in a long while. I asked her how she was and she informed me that she was recovering from a badly broken limb in a falling accident. She was unable to move from her home for many weeks, and took the time to take stock and decide what the coming year was going to hold. She exclaimed to me, “I realized it was time for me to pivot and move on.”

We encounter crossroads in our lives at various stages. We can only plan so much or so far in advance. But when we hit an existential junction, we need to literally stop in our tracks and wait. We need to decide if we are going to continue putting our energy and efforts into our current project, business or relationship, or if it’s time to cut the cord and pivot onto something else. We wait for our inner voice to tell us which road we need to take and what we’re going to do. Many times the decision is evident, and a relief. Other times the decision is the right one, but we are fearful about making a mistake.

Pivoting isn’t about quitting and giving up. If anything, pivoting is about getting deeper and moving closer to your true purpose. My two friends, and a few others I’ve consulted and coached in business recently have also pivoted. They all describe it the same way, as if they had been pushed, physically by internal and outside occurrences to stop what they were doing, and decide on a new course.

They received a message from the universe that their energies are no longer going to be wasted. One was felled by an accident, the other by the business literally drying up, and another client listed the serendipitous events that happened over the past 6 months, to actually bring her to a point to close certain services she had been providing, and move into those services she had been wanting to provide all along, but was unable to.

How do you know if it’s time to pivot? The following questions may help:

  1. Do you feel fulfilled with your work? Your clients and customers?
  2. You get the feeling that you’re supposed to be doing something else?
  3. Has your business turned heavy? Do you wonder where the flow and creativity you used to have go?

Maybe it’s time to pivot. You’re never actually ready for it, but as the above mentioned, it was almost not a surprise either, (though my friend would have preferred not to have been in an accident and being immobilized to discover it was time to pivot). They had a feeling they were supposed to move on, but being comfortable in their surroundings and being good at what they knew how to do kept them from making the move. Accidents, lack of customer response and serendipitous events can all be signs from the universe that it is time to pivot.

Pivoting with purpose is possible. It requires stopping all unnecessary activities, getting quiet (starting a meditation practice either sitting or walking), and trusting yourself. All of our roads and turns that we take are experiences full of learning and wisdom. Each soft turn, or sharp left can lead you to new exciting goals, as you continue on your journey of self-discovery. Once you begin to trust, trust yourself and to trust the process you will discover a new road to travel, or a new approach to take. Whatever the choice, the pivot is there for you to take.

My friend that decided to close his industrial design firm compared himself and his business as Sisyphus pushing the rock uphill. He was no longer passionate about it, he no longer had the energy to push that rock up hill and once the rock rolled back pushing him down the mountain for the last time, he decided it was time to change, time to pivot.

Are you being asked to pivot in life or your business? It’s not defeat, but a new chapter to be embraced!