The Pivot

Growing up I remember a basketball move we called the pivot. It meant you kept one foot planted on the court while changing direction with the other foot.

As you might have read in my blog post on Saturday, I had the honor of attending the WIN Summit, headed up by the Chairman of Yahoo! Maynard Webb and his Webb Investing Network.

While having some of the most dynamic conversations with the attendees, and sitting in on the various panels, I kept hearing the word “Pivot” and although it was the day of the NBA finals, it had nothing to do with basketball.

I was getting a sense of what it meant but was not quite on point until someone explained that it was a term often used in the lingo of technology business start-ups.
Upon hearing about it I became fascinated with the concept and began thinking about how it can apply to life itself.

The Background
I discovered that the term pivot, as used in start-up business lingo, was coined by Eric Ries who wrote a best-selling book, The Lean Startup. Eric says that: “A pivot is a change in strategy, not vision.” He talks about how pivots come about because we learn what does not work because we have one foot in the past, while putting one foot in the future to see new possibilities.

Adam L. Penenberg, who wrote an article about Eric in the business magazine FastCompany, said this about Eric: “During the course of his entrepreneurial adventures, he realized that some of the most iconic companies of our time–Twitter, YouTube, Groupon–had abruptly changed course before they achieved success.”
Jason Del Rey, a writer for Inc. Magazine, added this: “To pivot does not mean to necessarily get rid of the old model. Some pivots include keeping the old but shifting and adding a new direction.”

Pivoting for the Rest of Us
Most of us are not starting a high-tech company, but our ability TO PIVOT is more important when it comes to our own lives and personal adjustments. No matter where your business, job, career, family or life leads you, at one time or another you are going to have to pivot in order to put yourself, or keep yourself on the right path.

For most, change is one of great difficulty. It feels like we must leave something of ourselves behind while searching for some intangible to help us progress.  However, if you think in terms of pivoting, it automatically reframes that concept.
By its definition it forces you to keep one foot firmly planted while all you need to do is spin around on that foot to find a new direction. It now becomes much less frightening of a thought and therefore much easier of a task.

Next time you are facing some kind of roadblock do not think of it as meaning you have to always make some type of drastic change. All you might need to do is pivot, see a new direction, and begin the next step.
In fact, I am in the process of making some changes in my own life and when re-framing it with the thought of them being pivots, I feel more in control because that foot is always planted.

So fear not and pivot away, you just might find what you are looking for and an easier way to get there.
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