Learning to Pivot

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What do you think of when you hear the phrase “Pivot”? If you’re around my age and/or a fan of the show Friends, you probably think of the infamous scene where they’re trying to get a couch up some narrow stairs and Ross is screaming at everyone to Pivot.

When I hear “pivot”, I instantly think of life. I feel like my life has been one classic case of learning to pivot. I suspect I’m not alone in this. How many of you are living the exact life you thought you would or dreamed of as a kid.

The Childhood Dream and The Present

As a kid, I wanted to be either a lawyer, an FBI agent, or an author. I was going to be married with two boys and a girl.

Middle-age Holly (middle-age is probably a generous description at this point) has been a lifeguard, retail clerk, restaurant worker, mortgage office worker, health insurance employee, Accounts Receivable Specialist, and now the Treasurer of a small city. I did have one story published so technically I guess I can call myself an author.  I’m widowed, now perpetually single, and have two sons (two out of 3 ain’t bad).

Not exactly the life I ordered up but it’s still one that I love because I’ve learned to pivot. I’m still pivoting as I learn to adapt to a life that is no longer centered 100% around my kids. I’m learning to embrace doing more of the things that make me happy and fulfilled.

I’ve watched so many friends and family learn to adapt to lifestyle changes over the years. Some of these changes were made by choice and some were not.

An example of this is my son who spent 3 years of college thinking he was going into a medical field. Now he’s working in a management role in the warehouse of a Pharmaceutical distributor.

I have friends and family who suddenly became single parents, whether by divorce or death. It’s crazy tough transitioning to being a single parent and having all the responsibility on you. 

Some relatives are currently going through a lifestyle change due to a health issue. Again, crazy tough to have to move homes and deal with major lifestyle changes, sometimes in a very short time period.

Maybe you lost your job or decided to retire. Those are two very different scenarios because one is generally something that was decided for you and one is a decision that you probably made. Both are still huge, life-changing moments though.

Tips to help you Pivot

  • Figure out what you can control with your present situation and what you can’t. Focus on the things you can control in your current situation.

  • Create a list of action steps you can take to move forward. Do something every day that will move you forward, even if it’s a baby step.

I’ll admit, I love lists and I use them constantly and for everything but that’s because they’re useful. Plus, there’s something so satisfying about crossing things off a list as you achieve them. Or maybe that’s just me, I don’t know.

Lost your job? Maybe your list includes updating your resume’, listing companies you would like to apply to, amending your budget until you find a new job, etc.

Moving? Your list might be to find a good realtor, list the features you want in your new home, get pre-approved, find a moving company, purge everything you don’t want to bring with you to your new place.

  • Find Your Tribe

Everyone needs a tribe. Your tribe should always include someone who will cheer you on and motivate you. Maybe you can have someone that has been through what you’re going through now. Maybe it’s someone who is where you want to be and can coach you. How about someone that is going to tell you stop wallowing and get the shi* done? You might have one person that does all these things or a combination of these people. The gist is that we’re not meant to go through life alone. Find your tribe!

  • Take Care of Yourself

You should always take care of yourself but I think it’s especially important when you’re really going through it. Get enough sleep. Don’t eat a bunch of junk just because you’re crazy stressed. Talk to someone if you need to, it can be a friend or a professional, or both. Get moving-you might not have time for a full-blown workout everyday but take a quick walk down the street for ten minutes.

  • Create your Vision

Decide what you want your life to look like now. A life pivot doesn’t have to be bad. I’m excited at the idea of pivoting to a role from helicopter, multi-tasking mom to single woman with grown kids who can start focusing on her writing and hopefully start travelling a bit more. Figure out exactly what it is you want. Write that vision down or create a vision board, or make a screensaver for you computer so you’re always seeing it. 

Jen Sincero said it best. I have her daily calendar and the other day’s entry basically said that if you wanted a sandwich, you wouldn’t go into a deli and say give me a sandwich. You’d say I want the chicken, bacon, ranch sandwich on sourdough bread with cheddar and swiss cheese. Be specific about what you want in life. For that matter, be specific what you don’t want in life.

We don’t get everything in life that we want. Bad things happen in life, unexpected things happen in life, sometimes despite our best efforts to maintain control. It’s up to us to pivot in a fashion that allows us to still thrive.

Where are you in your life? Have you found yourself pivoting in a new direction? 

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