How are Your Pivot Skills?
Updated: Nov 29, 2020
About a week ago my wife and I delivered our second daughter on our own in our bathtub under the full moon. This was not the plan at all.
It's a good idea to have a plan. It’s a great idea to have a vision for how you want a phase in your life to go in order to avoid being like a leaf in the wind with no conscious direction. That said, we need to learn how to pivot and change directions when it is appropriate or we miss out on a lot. Have you ever noticed that sometimes you let your “plan” rigidly lock you into a course of action and actually stress you out when things play out differently than expected? Are you over-attached? Can you allow new information and/or opportunities that present themselves to illuminate a better way that you couldn't see before? How are your pivot skills? What is pivoting? Our ability to pivot is our ability to adapt and to stay flexible enough to make different choices outside our original plan as needed in the moment based on whatever life throws at us. Pivoting well is a synergistic blend of instinct and critical thinking. We have the chance to practice pivoting daily. Pivoting is a strategic shift based on what is in front of us vs the speculative projections we used as assumptions in our planning. Pivoting drops us into the now and asks us to act clearly and decisively. ....It can be as simple as using waze when heading to work to go the best route considering real-time traffic rather than the way we are familar with. .... It can be making an easy, fast dinner rather than something complex we planned if our family is showing major signs of being hangry.
....It can be backing off in a yoga class rather than pushing it as much as you thought you would.
....It can be staying calm and steady when suddenly you find yourself delivering your baby in the bathtub rather than making it to the hospital. How well do we respond when things change? It’s easy to feel in our power when things go as planned but 90% of life happens outside our brilliant plans. Reflecting honestly on how well or poorly we pivot is a useful way to start improving our pivot skills. It’s okay if we notice we are terrible at it. From that awareness we can up our game going forward. Next time you have a plan and a wrench gets thrown in it, try to notice your emotional state. Do you freak out? Does your anger from loss of control bubble up and explode out? Do you just deal with the situation without a pause to take a breath and think quickly before taking action? Just see how you do. Take note. Become more aware each time you do this. As time goes on you might notice a calm and a confidence to “just handle it”. As you master pivoting don’t be surprised if you feel less stress or anxiety. One of the greatest gifts from pivoting is knowing you’re going to be fine no matter what curve ball life throws at you. Part of your plan may dramatically change (relationship, job, money, security, health), but you’ll figure it out, adapt and carry on.