Mastering the Art of Pivoting: Essential Soft Skills for Success

Alright, first, it’s about accountability. Last week, I stressed the importance of consistency, took a mea culpa on how shifting priorities had interfered with that plan and pledged to do better given that I published one day late. Well, I’m 24 hours late getting this blog out, too. Keep holding my feet to the fire! Being here for you, when you expect me to be, motivates me. Excuses aside (yes, it’s been a little extra nutty), I’ve got to work at this.

The Art of Pivoting: Navigating Life’s Turning Points

Okay, here’s the main event. The pivot. I’ve always been fascinated by the twists and turns that others take in their lives. Somehow, the conversation always gravitates to this topic when I’m speaking with someone around my age or older. Perhaps that is because the topic is deeply personal – I’ve pivoted almost too many times to count – but I’ve had a few core themes run consistently (there’s that word again) through each pivot.

Social entrepreneurism. Egalitarianism. Equality. The unification of passion and purpose. Connection. Communication. Making a difference. 

These are the things that light me up. When they’re lacking or out of balance, lost in the context of someone else’s agenda, I become disenfranchised from what I’m doing. That’s what typically queues up my next pivot. Finding work – which doesn’t feel like work at all – at the intersection of these ideologies is what fuels me. Even if I have to “fail forward,” I continually make progress, however incremental, towards that convergence of all things that matter to me.

“A pivot is a change in strategy – not a change in vision.” ~Eric Ries

It’s a combination of self-awareness, an ability to assess the situation and to be resourceful enough to manifest it to be so. I certainly didn’t have that figured out at 18. Or 30 – I was still in college – 11 years later, getting a Bachelors in Science, then a Masters in Science and then a PhD. 

By 40, I was on fire and then [insert life lessons here – that’s all I’m going to say for now], there was a derailment or two. Shit happens. I had some great mentors, but I could have benefited if I’d had more coaching along the way. A skilled coach could have nudged me on how to align my passion, purpose and path sooner.

People of my generation, X, grew up with a singular mindset – go to school, get a job, stay in it until you retire and call it done. Of course, the societal shifts that Gen X experienced perturbed that vision; job loss, career change, sandwiched as caregivers for children and parents, physical separation from spouses and families in the name of a job, heightened competition in a global economy, a work week that was already a day longer than what our parents worked, and so on. 

Don’t Crash – Pivot!


Gen Z and the North Star: Navigating Life’s Purpose with Soft Skills

These tectonic shifts impacted our offspring – Gen Z – who have grown up as digital natives. As such, they’ve been exposed to more societal upheavals and toppled norms than any other generation. They’ve had access to more insights, worldly experiences and different perspectives by age 18 than most of us have had by age 40. Their mindset has shifted from “What do I want to be when I grow up?” ideology hallmark of Gen X to the emerging North Star for Gen Z which asks, “Who do I want to be when I grow up?”

And therein lies the challenge. Gen Z is eager to learn and desperate to make a difference. Gainful employment to pay bills, buy a car and a house isn’t what fuels them. They want more out of their lives. But they don’t yet have the resilience, the leadership ability to recognize when it’s time to pivot and the other soft skills that they need to successfully navigate those turning points. 

That’s where we come in. We’ve pivoted. We’ve seen the value of pivoting. Collectively, we have a good sense of self-awareness to recognize when it’s time that we should pivot – before waiting until the time that we have to pivot. There’s a colossal difference within this framework. And that’s where we want to help the next generation develop the soft skills that they need to put them on a path that is aligned with their purpose and their passion with enough self-awareness to recognize when it’s time to think about pivoting before they actually have to. 

Curve below the mountain photo by Trace Hudson from Pexels

Sharp curve photo by Athena from Pexels

Scroll to Top