Introduction - Pivot is the New Normal
- “A change in strategy without a change in vision.”
- A change you make of your own volition when you have reached a point in your career when you are ready for increased challenge and impact.
- Shifting to new, related work by leveraging one’s existing base of strengths, interests, and experience.
- Doubling down on what is working to make a purposeful shift in a new, related direction.
- An intentional, methodical process for nimbly navigating career changes.
- Not starting from scratch.
- Pivoting throughout our careers is plan A, is the new normal.
- Your entire career is a series of pivots.
Benefits of learning how to pivot
- By doubling down on what is working best while thinking about how to develop into what’s next, you accelerate the experimentation and change process. You can proceed with confidence, knowing that you already have what it takes to get where you want to go.
Why extensive planning is wrong
- “You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backward.”
- You don’t have to specify the details of your life in five years.
- The challenge now is to be present. In doing so, we stay awake to the dots that are in front of us.
How to connect dots
- It is possible to connect at least one or two dots looking forward.
- Connect the dots by looking back and then forward to make career connections in real time not waiting too long until we are burned out, unhappy, or force to make a change.
- Connect your career dots looking backward to see how each related area led to the next.
- Let go of fears about what can or should or might happen. Zoom back in to where you are right now, and where you want to go next. That is all you have to do. Once you make your next move, you will collect the experience and real-world data to plan the move after that.
“Each time you repeat a task, take one step toward automating it.”
- Because you will go into a lot of career iterations, you have to get better in making the process of tackling change easier every time.
4 Stages of the Pivot Method
- Plant - set a strong foundation
- Scan - stay rooted while exploring options
- Pilot - test ideas and get feedback to generate perspectives and opportunities
- Launch - pursue the new direction
Bridge the gap between where you are now and where you want to be.
- Foundation: values, strengths, interests
- One-year vision
- Who you are already
- What is already working
- How will you define success for the next phase of your life
- Exploration phase
- Research new and related skills (identify and plug knowledge and skill gaps)
- Talk to others (have a wide variant of conversations)
- Map potential opportunities
- Series of small, low-risk experiments to test your new direction
- Help gather real-time data and feedback
- Adjust incrementally as you go
- Not relying on blind leaps
- The big move
- Bigger decisions
- Require commitment even in the face of remaining uncertainty
- Repeat the first three stages to reduce risk and give you a greater chance of success
- Doing so will take you 80 to 90 percent of the way toward your goal
- Launch = pulling the trigger on the remaining 10 or 20 percent
The Pivot Cycle
How long will a pivot take
- Cycle; not one-and-done
- Can take 1 month to years
- Several pivots towards destination
- Bigger pivots require several small turns
- Repeat the Plant-Scan-Pilot process as many times as necessary to gain clarity and gather feedback before advancing to the fourth stage, Launch.
Pivot timing depends on
- The scope of your change
- How far your ideal end state is from where you are now
- Your risk threshold
- Your savings runway
- Your expertise and reputation
- The complexity of what you are building toward.
Indicato to where you are in the cycle
- Results are the indicator of where you are in your pivot.
- Are you experiencing momentum and fulfillment?
- The income and energy that you desire?
- If not, you will return to the earlier Pivot stages to determine what adjustments to make.
Surrender to our career path
- We are not in total control of our careers.
- Our careers are working on our behalf behind the scenes.
- Admit that we cannot plan in perfect specificity how the next years of our lives will unfold.
- Make way for curiosity and serendipity.
- Release the illusion of security within a fixed future.
- Allow life to surprise you.
- The only move that matters is your next one.
- Shifting naturally within your role and from one position into the next, while remaining open to a wide variety of options along the way.
- Dip in and out of self-employment.
- The most successful entrepreneurs I know are adept at working with companies, consulting for them as clients as they build their own businesses.
- If change is the only constant, let’s get better at it.
High Net Growth
- Unwilling to settle for a career of phoning it in.
- High net growth and impact over high net worth.
- Love learning, taking action, tackling new projects, and solving problems.
- Generous and cooperative
- Imbued with a strong desire to make a difference
- Aim for a sense of momentum and expansion
- When their inward desire for growth is being met, they turn their attention outward, seeking to make a positive impact on their families, companies, communities, and global societies.
- Often these happen in tandem; by seeking problems they can fix and tackling them, impacters meet their needs for exploration and challenge, uncovering callings along the way.
- Allergic to stagnation, boredom, and anything that is fixed.
- Boredom = symptom of fulfillment deficiency (no growth and impact)
- Continue learning and contributing throughout their working lives.
Most successful people
- Those with growth mindset.
- People who believe that their basic qualities are things they can cultivate through their efforts.
- Gifts or lack of them are not fixed traits.
- “The passion for stretching yourself and sticking to it, even (or especially) when it’s not going well, is the hallmark of the growth mindset.”
- “This is the mindset that allows people to thrive during some of the most challenging times in their lives.”
Why a growth mindset is important in pivoting
- By seeing change as an opportunity, rather than a personal shortcoming or obstacle, you will be much more likely to find creative solutions based on what excites you, rather than subpar choices clouded by fear.
- Be open to new ideas.
- Be observant in your experimentation.
- Be deliberate in your implementation.
- Be flexible in the face of change.
- Job orientation - work as means to pay the bills
- Career orientation - success, status, and prestige
- Calling orientation - work is integral to their lives, a core part of their identity and a fulfilling reward in itself.
Impacters fall in the second and aspire for the third if they are not yet there.
Impacters and money
- Money is important but prioritizes growth and impact.
- What did I learn? What did I create? What did I contribute? OVER What did I earn?
- Measure quality of life by how much they are learning, challenged, and contributing.
- After doing all three, they work hard to ensure that the money will follow.
Career Operating Modes
- Does not seek changes.
- Paralyzed by fear, uncertainty, and self-doubt.
- Covers up career or life dissatisfaction with unhealthy habits.
- Feels and acts like a victim of circumstances.
- Mimics other models; no originality
- Follows instructions to the letter
- Waits for inspiration to strike
- Feels unhappy but does not inquire into why or what to do about it
- Lets fear overrule planning for the future and subsequent action steps
- Seeks new projects
- Actively learns new skills
- Open to change
- Improves existing programs
- Makes connections with others
- Takes ownership even within existing leadership structures
- Has a giver mentality
- Willing and interested in helping others
- May not be fully using talents but is exploring what they are and how to amplify them
- Has proactive characteristics
- Fully taps into unique strengths
- Focuses on purpose-driven work and making meaningful contributions
- Energized by a strong vision for new projects with a clear plan for making them happen
- Does not just improve existing structures, but creates new solutions to benefit others.
Impacters thrive in situations where they are able to be proactive and innovative.
They pivot when they feel inactive or reactive.
Impacters must take action when feeling inactive and reactive to avoid career crisis.
TRUST YOUR RISK TOLERANCE
Jenny Blake’s questions
- What did I stand for?
- What problems was I passionate about solving?
- How could I build a sustainable business that would help me make a meaningful impact on others’ lives?
- What energizing mission am I looking ahead to?
- Underestimating what you are capable of
- Looking too far outside of yourself for answers
- Setting your sights on next steps that are inaccessible given your starting point and timeline
A wiser approach to pivoting
- Accept that you won’t be 100% sure when to make your next big career move.
- Get a lot smarter about how you reduce the risks and potential margin for error (error = ending up worse off than you are now).
How to use the riskometer
- Pay attention to when you start playing it too safe (comfort zone to stagnation).
- Pay attention when something feels edgy but exciting (stretch zone).
- Pay attention when a next step seems too overwhelming or extreme (panic zone).
- Restless, antsy, trapped, anxious, or bored.
- May start manifesting as physical symptoms and health problems.
- Feeling good about the status quo
- Daily life doesn’t demand much deep thinking about the direction of your career
- Challenged, excited, and motivated to get out of bed every day
- Actively learning
- Work may be unpredictable but you feel engaged.
- Anxiety dominates your thoughts
- Can’t think long-term
- Fear when thinking about long-term
How to navigate the four pivot stages
- Don’t take a blind leap
- Don’t overanalyze and overcalculate your next steps
- Stay in the stretch zone
- Sharp pivots too far past your stretch zone
- Dramatic leaps of faith
- Have little to do with your current role or skill set
- Too many unknown that you will be gambling on when you launch
How to approach 180s
- Build incrementally toward the final Launch stage by planting, scanning, and piloting
TWO (MANY) STEPS AHEAD, ONE STEP BACK
Look at what is already working
- Your strengths
- The work activities you loved
- Who you knew
- How you are already earning income
- Past experiences
Focus on what you have and what is working rather that what you don’t yet have
Experiment with small extensions of the strengths and experiences you have accumulated throughout your career.
Stage One - Plant
Crux - leverage the next stages
Spend more time here
Primary goal: grounding
Start from a strong foundation of:
- your core values
- a clear understanding of your strengths and interests
- a compelling vision for the future
Set a strong financial foundation to help inform your pivot timeline
Why start from what’s working
- 6x more engagement in job
- 3x quality of life
- Your ability to make an impact and enjoy what you are doing will be higher
What’s the use of what isn’t working
- An indicator of what you do want
- If your mind jumps back to what isn’t working throughout the exercises, follow up by asking what the opposite would be. What do you want instead?
Chapter 1 - Calibrate Your Compass
The function of values
- Clarify priorities
- Create boundaries and benchmarks for big decisions
- Help determine next steps
- Reveal how to structure day-to-day activities
CREATE YOUR COMPASS
- Free write
- Values clusters
- Make a mind map
- Rank your list
- Narrow down and rename
- Create a visual reminder
IDENTIFY YOUR HAPPINESS FORMULA
- 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.
How to identify
- Micro level: day to day routines and five to 20-minute habits.
- Macro level: bigger choices like where to live and work.
What micro and macro elements are most important to build into your life?
Translate your values from abstract concepts into real-life practices by filling in your own chart.
- 5-30 minute meditation
- Intention Setting
- Reflective Reading
- Outdoor meditation especially in the early morning or late afternoon
- About 30 minutes of exercise every day
- At least an hour of conversation with: (1) an old friend, (2) a new friend or collaboration partner, (3) an online group.
- To live in Baguio, Quezon City, or Calabarzon
- A few close friends
- A community of like-minded people
YOUR BODY IS YOUR BUSINESS
Your body is your most valuable asset during a pivot
Guard against numbing out with food, alcohol, drugs, TV, video games, social media, etc.
Nutrition, sleep, and exercise
If you are hitting a wall, troubleshoot your physical foundation first to find mental clarity.
REDUCE DECISION FATIGUE
Reestablish habits and routines to anchor and systematize your well-being.
MEDITATE TO ACTIVATE YOUR BEST INSTINCTS
Get quiet enough to connect with the part of you that already has the answers.
Chapter 2 - Put A Pin In It
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?
- Values = compass; vision = destination
- Pinpoint where you want to end up
- Attaches a future-based form to your values
- ::The more captivating it is, the more it will recharge you during uncertain times.::
- ::Shifts as you gain clarity and information.::
- ::Keeps you focused when making big decisions.::
Why 5 year visions are outdated
- Halts rather than generates conversation
- We are quite ineffective at predicting what is going to make us happy in the future
- What impacters may want to do doesn’t exist yet
Alternative to 5 year vision planning
- ::Focus on a shorter time frame::
- ::Consider what success looks like even just one year or two years from now::
AVOID THE TYRANNY OF THE HOWS
Mistake = jumping straight into the how of a big decision
Hows should be tackled primarily during the Pilot and Launch stages.
::Early in the Pivot process, focus on what your vision is rather than how you’re going to make it happen.::
You don’t need to know the whole how or even if what you want will be possible.
- An indicator that you are approaching something meaty enough to challenge you (stretch zone)
- Don’t focus too much on your fear
- Focus on the positive outcomes that will motivate you into action
- Feed the outcome you seek, not the one you fear
VISION CLOUDY? START SOMEWHERE
Broad One-Year Vision Brainstorm
Step 1: Start broad.
- Sounds like your values
- What do you want to feel one year from now?
Step 2: Refine the details of your vision later one year from now.
- Specify the activities that your vision encompasses one year from now.
- What kind of work are you doing?
- What impact are you having?
- How much are you earning?
- Where are you living?
- What are your health routines?
- Who are you surrounded by?
- How do you feel?
::Ultimately, your one-year vision should be so riveting that the thought sends a rush of adrenaline through your body and gets your idea synapses firing.::
Define Success One Year from Now
- Give (how you want to contribute)
- Receive (what you want to experience in return)
- Achieve (what specific results or milestones will indicate that you are on the right track)
Give: Impact on Others
- What impact do you want to have on your family and friends? On your local community? On the global community?
- What types of information and resources are you most excited to share with others?
- If you were invited to speak at TED, and you knew your talk would go viral and be seen by at least one million people, what message would you send?
Receive: What You Want to Experience
- What result will your contributions to friends, family, and society have on your own life?
- What major life experiences, work or personal, are most exciting to you? How do you want to feel on a daily basis while pursuing them? Who do you want to meet?
- Take a look at your bookshelf, Kindle, blog, or podcast subscriptions. What themes stand out? When you go into a bookstore, which section do you beeline toward, and what does that say about you?
Achieve: Specific Results
- What does success look like one or two years from now? What will be happening in your life and work?
- What are your metrics for measuring financial or professional success?
- What achievements will indicate that you are having the impact you seek?
- Imagine an award ceremony in your honor. What organization is giving the award, and for what are you being recognized?
Sliding Doors Career
Creatively explore what elements might still be missing.
Imagine you get to live in an alternate reality, one parallel to the one you are living in now, one in which you get to pursue any type of work you want. What would you do?
The key is giving yourself permission to explore:
- If time, money, skills, or judgment from others were not an issue, what would you do for work?
- How would you spend your time?
- Which of your values could be more fully expressed?
- What do you daydream about?
Even if you don’t pursue these careers, the lists will offer valuable insight into your vision.
How to use your sliding doors career list
- Jot down a few notes about what entices you about each item on your Sliding Doors list.
- Identify any repeating themes that cut across all the roles you listed to reveal elements that are important for your vision as you move forward.
CLARIFY YOUR VISION STATEMENT
Narrow down into a concise vision statement.
Focus on what success looks like, written in the present tense.
You don’t need to address how to achieve anything or if it is possible.
Why it is important to have a clear vision
- It is easier to decide what next steps to take
- Stronger instincts along the way
Write a One-Year Vision Statement
- Imagine that it is one year from today and you have achieved wild success.
- Describe in the present tense what you are doing, how you are feeling, and what you are proud of.
- Be as detailed and creative as you can.
- Draw upon your values and vision exercises.
- What parts of your vision are already present in your life, even a little bit?
- In what ways is this vision statement already true?
I have done versions of what is in my one-year vision successfully in the past. Now it is just a matter of enhancing my skills in the present to build into where I want to be in the future.
Clarifying your one-year vision can also be done as a mind map on an ongoing basis.
- Write the current year in the center with spokes for different life areas—such as career, creative projects, money, social, health, learning, hobbies, and relationships
- Brainstorm a handful of desired outcomes across each area.
SUMMARIZE KNOWNS AND UNKNOWNS
Take a moment to summarize your knowns (your must-haves) and your unknowns (elements you are still uncertain about) in your one-year vision. List knowns and unknowns across categories, such as location, finances, projects, people, results, and lifestyle.
Continue building a freelance practice or apply for a more traditional job?
Which to prioritize?
Chapter 3 - Fuel Your Engine
- The aggregate of your strengths, prior work experience, and existing connections.
- Goal: Identify your inner resources and use them to accelerate the Pivot process.
Identify your skills
- Skills that energize you most in your present-day work.
- Skills that you cold direct even more attention toward.
- The most engaging work allows you to apply your best skills, interests, and unique “Zone of Genius”.
- Innate talents
- Activities you enjoyed as a kid
Zone of Excellence
- Activities you do extremely well, and from which you can make a good living.
- This zone can be a “seductive and even dangerous trap” as it often prevents us from fully “taking the leap into [our] Zone of Genius”.
Zone of Genius
- What am I insanely good at?
- When do I feel most “in the zone”?
- What natural talents have I refined into strengths over time?
- Activities you are uniquely suited to that draw upon your special gifts and strengths.
- “Liberating and expressing your natural genius is your ultimate path to success and life satisfaction… . [It] beckons you with increasingly strong calls as you go through your life.”
How to find your Zone of Genius
- The unique way you solve problems.
- Identify the types of challenges you are attracted to and how you tackle them.
- The motivation behind what you do.
- What is the impact you want the work you are doing to have, and for whom?
- Purpose is your personal mission statement.
- It goes deeper than your one-year vision, connecting all the work you do to an underlying theme.
- Find purpose by helping others in some way.
- Think about a core challenge you have faced in your life.
- What struggle have you overcome, either for a short period of time or as a recurring theme throughout your life?
- How might you be able to share what you have learned to help others in this area?
Work history highlights
- How you applied your strengths and the resulting accomplishments
- External accelerators
- Career experiences are not sufficient for landing your next opportunity or client
- Focus on marketable skills that lead to results, giving you a reputation as a must-hire.
Consider your last five to ten jobs or projects, even those that did not earn income:
- What were the key activities associated with each role?
- List between five and ten unifying themes among these jobs and projects.
- Now get more specific: What are the related skills, results, and industries on your list? Themes might include: departments (such as marketing), job responsibilities (such as people management or teaching), key projects (such as creating systems or brand strategy), or key activities (like financial modeling or coding).
Specific services you provide at the intersection of talents, strengths, and education that someone will pay you for.
- Identify the marketable skills you have already developed. What do people currently seek you out for?
- Do you have two (or more) marketable skills that intersect in a unique way?
- Look for clues in the exercises earlier in the chapter. Often what you loved to do as a child and activities that fall into your Zone of Genius inform the marketable skills you are using today. Which of these interests are you not yet applying to their fullest potential?
Meaningful impact you have had on people or projects
- Qualitative (soft skills like leadership and teamwork)
- Quantitative (increasing effectiveness, efficiency, revenue, or reach)
- What specific results have you helped people or organizations achieve?
- What are your most significant work projects to date? What was important about each one?
- What professional accomplishments are you proudest of? Why?
How others see you, the strengths they recognize and seek you out for.
- In what areas have you developed a strong reputation, personally or professionally?
- What skills are you best known for among friends and acquaintances?
- What types of assistance or advice do people ask you for most often? What do they end up walking away with, beyond what they initially asked for?
- What awards, accolades, and public praise have you received?
- What do you want to become a known expert in?
Chapter 4 - Fund Your Runway
Stage One Application
- Revisit your Life Areas
- Revisit your Life Sub-areas
- Revisit your Core Desired Feelings
- Revisit Vision for each Life Area
- Define your values
- Define your happiness formula
- Reestablish healthy habits and routines
- Create a One-Year Vision Statement
- Summarize knowns and unknowns
- Identify your strengths
- Take personality assessment tests
- Identify your work history highlights
- Calculate your monthly nut
- Calculate your burn rate
- Identify your bridge income source
- Identify your side hustle
- Identify your make-or-break marker
Blake, J. (2016). Pivot: The Only Move That Matters Is Your Next One. Portfolio.