Honoring the pivot

August 20 2013

A pivot can be one of the most powerful moves on the basketball court. Performed correctly, one step can leave an opponent grasping at air, move a player out of a sticky situation, and provide a better perspective of the game.

The move is also recognized as a strategy for entrepreneurs, transforming a borderline idea into a championed achievement (think PayPal, Instagram, Groupon, Nintendo).

In relationships, in business, in career, true success often requires a reroute — or several. Flexibility in thought can mean the difference between mediocrity and a grand slam; however, switching gears isn’t always easy. Anyone who has “abandoned ship” knows ego and pride are at stake. It takes the hearty soul to admit error and take necessary steps to get back on track.

Reframing the abandonment of past work into an advantageous step can pave the way towards long-term gains and a promising future. Course corrections don’t necessarily mean failure. In fact, intentional pivots can lead to a stronger, more resilient, more creative return.

Questions to ask before making a pivot:

  • What is driving the move? Is it hard facts, instinct, boredom, temporary circumstance?
  • If “I win,” what happens? What does success look like to my business, my relationship, my product, myself?
  • Am I making the kind of progress I’d like? Is subpar acceptable or am I looking to go the distance?
  • Am I afraid of failing? Of admitting I’m wrong?
  • What am I holding onto and why?

Big visions require determination and gumption. Inevitably, uncertainly accompanies change. The trick is to remain grounded while altering your course, keeping one foot rooted in place while the other finds new ground.

Start something, figure out what isn’t working, and use what is to move forward. In the end, you won’t know until you try.