Wednesday, July 10, 2019

The Value of a Pivot

It’s early on a summer Sunday morning, and I woke up with this thought on my mind and couldn’t shake it. When this happens writing out a blog post is my go-to but often results in me being long-winded and possibly not the clearest. After multiple edits and additions, I am just as excited now as I was when the idea hit me to get this post live. I hope that it provides insight to any of you who may be considering a pivot in the future and help show y’all just how good this last year has been from a more personal perspective. 

If you listen to podcasts, read millennial-focused newsletters, or scroll through inspirational Instagram accounts then I’m guessing you’re like me and have heard an increase in the use of the word pivot as of late. Key phrases and buzz words seem to come and go, and right now pivot is sticking around. As a big Friends fan, the first thing I think of when I hear this word is the image of Ross and Rachel carrying a sofa up a narrow stairwell with Chandler yelling pivot during their attempt to maneuver it. I can’t help but love that scene especially since it makes me think back to my sophomore year of college when Nell and I were walking up the stairs of the building we lived in only to see our friend Olivia (a fellow Friends fan) and her mom carrying a couch up the stairs. Quick-witted Nell immediately started saying “pivot,” which had us all on the verge of buckling over in laughter. 

Stairwells and couches aside, I’ve come to realize just how valuable it can be to pivot. By definition, the word pivot means the following:

According to Merriam Webster: 
            Noun: a shaft or pin on which something turns; a person, thing, or factor having a major or central role, function, or effect; a key player or position
            Verb: turn on or as if on a pivot

According to Urban Dictionary:
            A pivot is where a start-up company decides to switch direction in how they make their revenue. This is often after their first plan results in failure. 

Like many catchphrases’ pivot has started to be used in ways that it was not necessarily initially intended. In the case of this post, I’m referring to it as a verb. I don’t view Urban Dictionary as a valuable source of information, but it relates in this case, so I’m including it as well. Pivots can be relevant in a variety of situations, including changing careers and locations. Personally, the word sums up exactly what I chose to do a year ago when deciding to quit teaching and move away from Greenville. I decided to take a risk and make a significant change in a different direction after my first plan didn’t go as planned (or as I hoped) which has played a central role in my happiness. I may be trying to connect the dots a little too thoroughly, but I haven’t found a word that sums it up better than pivot. 

What’s especially reassuring is that although at the time it felt like I was, I’m not alone in switching gears entirely when it came to both my location and career. Plenty of people pivot and for those of you questioning whether or not to continue doing something you may not love I’m hoping that my experience will provide a bit of clarity and optimism in the decision-making process. 
Disclaimer: I am not telling you to quit your job. I am instead reflecting on how doing that has been the right pivot for me.

Hindsight is always 20/20, so now looking back, it’s clear to me some of the signs that indicated that I wasn’t feeling fully myself while teaching. As someone who was very involved in sports in high school and consistently worked out in college, I should’ve realized something was up when I pretty much entirely stopped working out during my first year of teaching. On top of that, I never allowed myself to truly turn off and stop working. I know many people struggle with that given the nature of email and social media, but for the most part, I didn’t even attempt to take a break. If I felt ahead on teaching tasks and grad school assignments, then I’d dive deep into blog work without even considering whether or not I should come up for air between them.  

Fast forward to now, nearly a year since I made the decision to move and change careers and there’s no question in my mind that those were the right decisions for me and my happiness. I’m back to working out consistently and have never had such a good work/life balance. I’m not saying that all of this is due to pivoting what my college self would’ve had planned for me but is definitely in some ways related. 

So you’ve read through this and can relate and are now trying to figure out what’s next. Since I not only changed my career entirely but also my location, I’m breaking down an action plan for both of those potential pivots you may be toying with the idea of. There’s certainly some overlap, and I’d be surprised if you felt completely confident in your decision to take a risk as it’s occurring but can positively say that it has been worth it in the end.  

  •  Write down all the things you love to do and brainstorm careers that may encompass those things. Ask your friends and family what they could see you doing, an outside perspective can be really helpful with this.
  • Update your resume and consider creating a portfolio if the jobs you’re applying to would value that. 
  • Reach out to people who have your dream job and ask them how they got to where they are.
  • Think about what you value in a location. Do you want to be in a city or a small town? Do you care if you move somewhere that you know no one or does that excite you? 
  • Visit if you can to get a better feel for whether or not you could see yourself calling this location home. 
Although these lists could go on and on, hopefully, this gives anyone considering making a change a good place to start and remember, it’s going to take time to feel settled with any new big life decision so having patience and perseverance will be pivotal ;) 

No comments :

Post a Comment

Blog Design by Get Polished