The Mavericks Unlimited Guide to Life Pivots: How to Recognise Them And Accelerate Into Your New Future.
Life is not linear – it’s full of twists, turns, ups, downs and in-betweens.
There are times when you need to drive some change for yourself and times when change is thrust upon you. We call these ‘life pivots’
Essentially what we mean here are those important moments in your life where a big change is happening or just ‘around the corner’. These are ones where you have to consider lots, make some critical decisions and take steps towards a new adventure.
At Mavericks Unlimited, we’re fascinated by understanding these life change moments and supporting people through them. Whether it’s a voluntary change or involuntary one, we all need to know how to best deal with it and start living a future we want.
We’ve created this guide to help you if you’re in a ‘life pivot’, so that you can get yourself unstuck and into action, whatever you’re doing in the world.
CHAPTER 1: So, what do we mean by "Life Pivots"?
Perhaps you want to go for a promotion, but it means moving your family to a new and unfamiliar place? Or you have a world changing idea and don’t know how to get it off the ground?
Maybe you have had a brilliant corporate career, but somehow feel unfulfilled; you want to make sure your legacy represents the real you.
Each of us have unique pivoting moments at various stages of our lives. They can often be challenging and lonely places to figure out by yourself.
The aim of this short guide is to help you during these moments.
Why it’s important to embrace these feelings?
Through our work as leadership coaches, we are lucky to support some amazing people on their personal development journeys. We are privileged to witness many of these moments. We walk alongside our clients as they navigate through the challenges and opportunities of making big decisions and taking action around their dreams.
As coaches, we are able to deeply explore with our clients what if they just did nothing in these moments. We explore what they say no to by ignoring their urge for a transition. We explore their personal purpose and what fulfils them. We look at the opportunities, and figure out the obstacles in the way.
- These decisions are rarely straightforward.
- “I can’t leave, I have a mortgage to pay…"
- "I haven’t got the time to think about this..."
- "It’s already been done before…."
- "I can’t put my family through this..."
- "What if I’m not good enough...”
Any of these sound familiar? Well, guess what, you’re not alone.
If these were easy choices, they probably wouldn’t be the right ones for you. Sacrifice is a huge part of the journeys to bigger, better and more rewarding lives for ourselves.
Many people understandably don’t get past these questions and stay stuck in the status quo.
The unknown is too scary, so it’s safer to not rock the boat.
The Regret Club
The problem with doing nothing is that you are suppressing your feelings and wishes. You are denying yourself so many opportunities.
You will constantly live in the “what if I had done that” cycle, particularly as you reach further into your life’s journey towards retirement. There will be a nagging voice inside challenging you to fulfil your potential.
Our world today is proliferated with individuals who pivoted at the right moment for them.
Mark Zuckerberg and Steve Jobs left university before they graduated to launch their uncontainable ideas. Similarly, Barack Obama decided as a Senator to create history and be the first African American President of the USA.
They might seem like distant examples because of their celebrity status, but remember they are real people, and they started out as such.
They went through similar pains, key decisions and moments of pivots.
How to recognise your own Life Pivot moments?
To some, their intuition is super strong and they easily know when a change needs to happen for them. To others, it’s less easy to recognise their pivoting moments.
Here are some indicators that you might be close to a Pivot Moment:
- Being unfulfilled - This may be a feeling at work, or perhaps even outside of it, but you are sensing you are not fully living up to your potential
- Nervous energy to make change happen - You’re constantly looking for opportunities to channel your energy into new opportunities and experiences. Your mind and body is restless and you’re not sure what to do with it.
- You keep thinking, “I can do that” - Ever find yourself looking at the world’s new inventions or ideas and think you could do it yourself, better even? It’s a signal¦
- You want to make a difference - Whatever you do in life, you want to make sure you impact the world in a great way. If you’re currently feeling that you’re not doing that, then perhaps a change is needed?
As you see, we all go through pivoting moments and having the right tools, resources and support at the time can help us get through them in a positive and impactful way.
Next, we will cover the stages of a Pivot and how to take the first step forward in your new journey.
CHAPTER 2: Ok, I'm in a pivot...now what?
Making Change Happen Vs. Change Happening To You
Everyone has their own unique pivot moments.
Sometimes they are intentionally planned and exciting transitional chapters like moving to a new country or starting a new job. There will be feelings of excitement or anticipation, and some nerves too probably.
But pivot moments can also ‘happen’ to you as well. Circumstances may arise that are not of your own doing, or seemingly beyond your control. For example, your business might be financially struggling, or an important relationship to you is breaking down, or you’ve just been made redundant. Feelings here are likely to be confusion, despair and possibly even depression.
The key to transitioning successfully out of any pivot moment is to understand where you are, to recognise how you’re feeling and knowing what to do next.
We think the best way to do all that is to look at a change curve model, and understand where you are.
There are several variations of the change curve such as the ADKAR model or the Fisher Change Curve to name just a couple, and each will have a niche advantage over another in a given situation. Some are designed to support people through a grieving period, whilst others might be used to guide employees through a big transformation within their organisation.
Ultimately though, they are all designed to help people acknowledge where they are and appropriately figure out how to deal with moments of change.
At Mavericks Unlimited, much of our work is focused on helping people through these sorts of moments. As professional coaches, we work with all kinds of individuals who are navigating challenges and opportunities in their lives. Through our blog, we provide our subscribers with the tools and resources to take action around these changes.
In a previous article following the U.S. presidential election win by Donald Trump, I shared a variation of the Kübler-Ross Change Curve to help people understand the feelings they might be going through at that time.
Developed by psychiatrist, Elizabeth Kübler-Ross in the late 1960’s, the change curve model (also known as the five stages of grief) was initially constructed following her close study of terminally ill patients who were dying, or people losing a loved one. She later expanded the theory to support a broader range of loss – job, financial, etc, and its applicability was extended.
As you’ll see from the model above, the change curve starts from a place of impact and shows the typical stages that an individual might go through on that journey.
A Path Out No Matter Where You Are
Although the model was developed for change that happens to individuals, we believe that it has a universal role to play in personal change management. Where you are on the curve, and where you pick it up entirely depends on where you are in your life. Consequently, your acceleration actions will be driven by these factors.
For example, if you have lost your job....
Stages of the Change Curve
Possible thoughts going through your mind
“I’m numb/What will I do?/How will I pay my mortgage?”
“This isn’t happening/They’ll change their minds”
“Why me?/How could they do this to me?”
“I can’t get myself out of this/I won’t get another job”
“Ok, I’m here and I need to get out of it/What can I do?”
“I can re-train/I’ve always want to start my own business”
“I’m going to get a bank loan/I’m going to partner with a collaborator”
“It’s tougher than I thought, but I’m doing what I love”
Now, let’s assume you are in a different situation.
You’ve decided to start a new business – happy days!
We’ll assume that any dissatisfaction with your current job has been dealt with in the early stages, and now you’re ready to act. You’re in experimentation mode, and in a place to make exciting decisions. You're ready to step into this new world of opportunities!
Different, But The Same
The situations are extremely different from an emotional perspective; however, you’ll see that the change curve applies in both instances albeit just at different stages. The brilliant thing though is that if you’re able to see where you are and work through the stages, both situations lead to ‘Integration’ and a potential life of success.
Not all stages will necessarily happen in order, in fact some may be skipped altogether. Kübler-Ross stated that people always go through at least two stages, and most will experience a “roller-coaster” effect, switching around stages and returning several times before working through it.
The point is that we’re all human, we’re non-linear and so if we linger or get stuck, we just need to remember to keep working through it and we’ll move forward.
Whilst not perfect in every situation, the change curve is a completely accessible way to help ground people, even in moments of high pressure or stress. It helps to give a base when the world around you is in flux, and that’s why we use it extensively within our work at Mavericks Unlimited.
Over To You...
Now that we've explained the change curve, do you see recognise yourself being in a pivot moment?
If the answer is yes, have a think about the following:
- Where are are you right now on the change curve?
- What are your feelings?
- Where do you want to be?
- What one action do you think you can take to move yourself forward?
You possibly have the answers already, but if not, in the next chapter, we’ll let you know how to take the first step out of each stage of the curve and then put a plan together that leads you to ‘Integration’ stage and towards a life you love!
Chapter 3: how to turn your pivot into the life you want to live
This chapter is about taking some action.
Action Is The Key
Whether you’re in a place of frustration or experimentation, the key thing is to do something. If you’re stuck in your mind, it’s important to get going with action.
Taking a step forward, however small it might appear to you, is one closer towards Integration on the change curve; a place where you get to start living the life you want to.
This life might be getting a new job after being made redundant, or finally starting a business because you always felt it was in you. Maybe it's spending more quality time with loved ones, or learning a new hobby or sport. It’s basically anything that is calling you, but you’ve just been unsure what to do next or how to get there.
The First Step Always Matters Most
The first step is so important.
Because the first step is going to be followed by another, then another, and another after that... Enough steps create momentum. From momentum comes confidence and clarity, and then hopefully, you’ll be in a place to experience velocity!
The intent of this chapter is to be a helpful and practical guide to taking the first step forward, no matter where you are on the change curve.
What To Do During Your Pivot Moments
Below, you’ll find each of the stages I wrote about in the previous chapter. No matter where you find yourself, I have suggested one or two first steps or actions you might take in each situation to create momentum...
Shock: surprise or shock at the event
- Take a Deep Breath. There’s nothing like a spot of oxygen to clear the mind and get the blood flowing.
- Do a grounding exercise (if you’re sitting, stand. If you’re standing, sit…it sometimes helps to shift the body. If you need some help, you could try this quick guided meditation by our very own Krish).
- Take your comforts (your favourite cuppa, a walk, see a friend).
Denial: disbelief; looking for evidence that it isn’t true
(Antidote: Reality Check)
- Do a fact check. Write down the things you know to be factually true (vs. hypotheticals and assumptions)
- Objectivity will give you the clear head to make the right choices.
Frustration: recognition that things are different; sometimes angry
(Antidote: Take control of the situation)
- ADE (Assess, Decide, Execute). My good friend and business mentor, Justin Billingsley, taught me many things when we worked together at Saatchi & Saatchi. One of my favourites was the ADE operational model to get stuff done in our business. It’s simple to understand: Assess - review your situation, Decide - what decisions need to be taken, Execute – take effective action on your decisions.
- Although primarily a business tool, I find this also to be a powerful personal development tool. When frustrated and feeling powerless, use the model above to take back control.
Depression: Low mood; lacking in energy
(Antidote: Get up & Get out. Get Help)
- If you’re feeling down and find yourself stuck indoors, get out. Take a walk, move your body. Nourish your mind and body with fresh air and exercise.
- Talk to someone about how you’re feeling. Talk to your friends, your coach or someone you trust.
- People interpret depression in completely different ways; it can range from feeling down all the way through to it being a clinically diagnosed condition. If you need support and guidance about how you’re feeling, seek out specialist help.
Acceptance…acknowledging the situation
(Power-boost: Step on the accelerator)
- Create a Mind Map. Go analogue. Take a sheet of A3 paper, draw a circle in the centre of the page with your name in it and then start to draw branches out; list your skills, experience and map the opportunities you have in front of you.
- If you’ve been stuck or procrastinating about where to start, read this article written by Krish on productivity
Experiment…Initial engagement with the new energy
(Power-boost: Mix it up in the sandpit)
- By saying YES to xxx, what am I saying NO to? We use this question a lot in our coaching work. Let me give you an example…by saying YES to re-training in a new vocation, I am saying NO doing a job I don’t love, and I’m saying NO to not living my purpose. I’m saying NO to unhappiness, and I’m saying NO to not having a career path. Make sense?
- Ask yourself the question. What are you saying NO to?
Decisions…Learning how to work in the new situation: feeling more positive
(Power-boost: Time to walk the walk)
- Now that you’re feeling flush with confidence and ideas, it’s time to make some choices about how to spend your time most effectively. Prioritise the important stuff using the Action/Priority matrix; a simple, yet highly effective tool to help you figure what’s important.
Integration…Changes integrated; a renewed individual
(Power-boost: Live the life you want to)
- Enjoy life, be in the moment.
- Open yourself up to a road less travelled and explore unknowns.
- Try some gratitude exercises to reflect what you’re thankful for.
- Pay it forward; help someone else by sharing your story and giving some inspiration.
So, there you have it, our Mavericks Unlimited Guide to Life Pivots.
You’ll now have a basic idea of how to recognise if you are in your own moment, and how to plan the first steps you might need to take.
The key thing is to understand that you will accelerate towards the future you want much more quickly if you take control of your situation and design your outcomes.
Launching our new course, Switch
At Mavericks Unlimited, we’ve gone a step further to helping people in their life pivots.
We’ve created an online course called Switch, and you can read more about it below:
Switch is a brand new course that we've created to support individuals through a moment of change.
Whether you've just been made redundant, want to start your own business, are returning back to work after some time out, or just want to accelerate your career, Switch, has been created to help you.
We have taken our 40+ years of combined leadership and coaching experience and built a robust and nurturing programme that is designed to get anybody unstuck and into action.
Switch is a holistic six module video based programme that will guide you from wherever you currently are in your life to a wonderful place where you have a clear roadmap for your way forward.
We're very excited about this course because we know it's going to make a significant difference to people who need help in a change moment.
Switch is launching in December 2017. §