So, listen to this.
Hold my beer and watch.
These phrases tend to get our immediate attention. Short and to the point. Built to deliver a verbal punch of “This is important!” Which then sends a signal to our brain to turn to the source, drop everything except the baby, and perhaps that beer, and take in new information right away. Right now!
The action of pivoting is kind of like that to me, but in a more controlled and refined manner. Instead of dropping everything and chasing down that new road, the word pivot denotes a pondered, measured turn into something different. Change, with a plan. Turning, with class. Redirection, with style.
Sure, change is dreadful. (Not always.) Change is scary. (Mostly true.) Some of us want to drag our feet, or buck it altogether. Others want to burn the garbage out back and set off in a van to live in a national park before the end of the week. If that’s really your dream, do it! But have you thought of what you might gain by sitting around for five more minutes to consider something else? What I am asking is, is that your only option? Could there be other, equally meaningful choices that will still align with your beliefs? Your goals? Or is this choice just the best one because it gets you out of where you are right now?
Figuring out options does take time, and procrastination isn’t really considered an option. (See my last blog on indecision.) And for those who want to go, go, go, if you do that impulsive, awesome-sounding thing, is there an end goal there? Does that plan get you closer to where you want to be, and more importantly, who you want to be?
This stab of philosophical inspiration came to me today after I attended a couple of awesome webinars. They were back-to-back, and both were focused on resiliency. The first speaker centered on tangible resiliency moves and investment strategies, while the second one spoke on mental and emotional resiliency during our era of crazy. Although both speakers addressed very different issues, I came away with a deeper understanding of both subject matters. And during both seminars, the word that kept bouncing around in my head was pivot.
We have a lot of options in the 21st year of the 21st century. We can do or be almost any darned thing. We can go to the moon. We can live under the sea. We can learn 27 languages in 27 different countries. We can do a lotta things! Go, human race! We have choices. You have choices. I have choices.
How do we know what all these danged choices are? We can’t make a list of everthing. Yes, everthing. It’s not quite everything.
Make some lists like pros and cons of your van plan. For every choice there is also a sacrifice, for every yes there is a no to something else. List the goals this plan will help you achieve. Then there is the sensible stuff. Be safe in your plan. Look out for yourself. Keep your best interests in mind as well as those around you. Don’t do stupid stuff. (That was your mom channeling, sorry.) Take ten minutes to breathe, and picture yourself wherever you are right now. Now take another ten minutes to picture yourself in your foreign setting (like Oklahoma). Which place can you see yourself really, truly happiest? If you’re in a new place, with some new challenges, and you are handling those other challenges, great! If not, yeah, see, that’s not healthy. If you thought you could swap old problems for new problems, well it unfortunately doesn’t work that way. Just never.
Making the best choice from the options you now see is a vital part of pivoting. It’s the part that leads you in a steady direction towards success, instead of ramming you headlong into a concrete barrier. That’s called impulsivity, and it can often hurt. Pivoting can also mean doing the same something but in a different way. You don’t have to move locations to be aware of how you interact with your surroundings – which includes your tribe, not just the Shell and Starbucks stations – and if there are steps you can take to alter those interactions.
I recommend handling one item on your to-do list today that is a priority. Take a single step towards handling one issue here, wherever you are, before even thinking of chasing after that next shiny thing. Doing and accomplishing gives us confidence to handle the stressors of change when we go chasing after our shiny things.
If you decide jumping on another train is 100% for you, give yourself a reasonable block of time. Get things sorted, and take some logical and sensible steps now, so you can focus on the open seas ahead. Tracks. Whatever. Anyway, here’s a fact. The fantasy of what lies ahead will never equate with the reality once you get there. Don’t be Peter Pan. Oh, it will be marvelous and great and terrific! It will also come with a lot of hard work, sweat, tears, probably some hair-pulling and wails of agony, too. Everything does. That’s called life.
Embrace the reality of what comes during the wave of change instead of holding your breath for the next panoramic view to turn into a movie. It won’t. Whatever your issues are that need sorting, you’ll take them with you wherever you are. Y’all know this already, this is not new news. You can, or can’t, be a newer you, no matter where you are.
So now, you have all the resources you need to pivot gracefully into change like that little ballerina in a jewelry box. Except, you know, you’ll get to actually go somewhere. Also, absolutely not true. The ballerina part, yes, but obviously not all the resources. I gave you a small stick of chewing gum of advice. If you don’t like it, spit it out. Advice is fleeting, like gum. Like gum, it comes in lots of flavors. So, here’s a stick of gum.
Before you pivot, take some moments. Think before you jump headlong into a new direction. Make some lists. Pros and cons. Ponder. Directions that are the right ones will usually stand the test of time. In other words, you’ll still have time to pack that van later. Tonight, maybe you should stay and have a glass of wine with a couple of good friends before you say Adios. Besides, you’ll need to stick around long enough to hold my beer.