How to know when to pivot in life


By Celine Wallace

Wellness Expert and Founder of Sattva Soul Retreats

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To really understand pivots in personal life, we first have to define what pivots in business are or, to be even more exact, what they are in the startup world. The use of the word "pivot" in business is that there is a fundamental change in a growing, or potentially not growing, business strategy. Then the idea behind a pivot is to change the direction of the startup while staying grounded in the vision and facts. See how this concept could relate to our personal lives? Have you ever headed in a direction thinking this job, this relationship, this whatever is for you? Then halfway into it, you think 'Oh no! What is happening? This is not what I expected, and it's not working out.' We've all been there, and it's never fun. You were probably then forced to change your direction, your expected outcome and adjusted your life accordingly, and what do you know - you pivoted. If you relate it to business, there's almost no startup today that didn't make a pivot or two or even dozens before really succeeding, so again, nearly everybody in the world has made pivots in different areas of their personal life sooner or later. 

To go back to basics: a pivot in personal life is a fundamental change in our life strategy. We consciously choose to change the direction of our lives, but still keep the same life vision, while considering the facts we've learned about ourselves and our environment along the way. The time for a pivot in personal life comes when we achieve the aim for our desired outcome or worse we keep aiming for it, but we always miss the mark and keep getting knocked down. Unless we pivot, it's like banging our head against a wall by doing the same thing, so we need to accept it as it is or move on. Doing the same thing over and over again while expecting a different result is the definition of insanity. We can, of course, try harder to improve the situation and in different ways, but then if none of those experiments and new ideas lead to any progress it's time to move on. We can't stay in a place where we feel like we're emotionally stuck and feel sorry for ourselves. That doesn't get us anywhere or resolve any problems either. 


Basically, the solution (that, in reality, isn't easy at all) is to make pivots as many times as necessary until we find the perfect fit for us. That's how we get unstuck. The only downside of an action like this is that it gets worse before it gets better. Have you ever stayed in a situation it felt comfortable, or it was easy, but you weren't happy? By staying in that situation, you're telling yourself and others that you don't truly deserve to be satisfied, on a soul level. You are settling because you don't want to go through a bit of crap initially to get to where you want to go? Here's an example, it's like owning a store that is just paying the bills, you're not happy and know it could be really successful, but you think 'Oh, I'll just stay where I am, I won't work harder to make more money, because I just want to cover costs and not make profit. So I'll continue to live like this.' Sounds ridiculous, doesn't it? It is! Why would you not make necessary changes to open yourself up to more ultimate long-term happiness? 

Pivots are tough and can be a lonely process, but try to take comfort in the fact that nothing good ever came easy and few people in this world are lucky enough to find their perfect fit right away.  They marry and live happily ever after with their first love. They practice a sport that's written in their genes from a very young age or whatever. Even when that happens, it's usually only in one or, if they're super lucky, in a few areas of life. But to live a happy and successful life, we have to learn to manage and juggle multiple areas of our lives, so don't worry, nobody is spared changes in life. The point I am trying to make is that all of us have to make a pivot in our personal lives sooner or later.

If you're reading this and some things are popping up for you then don't worry, that's actually an excellent thing. These issues are popping up so you can become conscious of them; you can now address them and delete them. A great example of this is how the errors of a computer document pop up in red to be highlighted, then we can see there is an issue, and change it or delete it. Your life is the same, and this is your Word Document, your story and you're doing the writing. 


If you're not sure about how or if you need to make a pivot point, that's generally a good sign. Most people know when they need to make a significant change in their lives, or for the sake of this article 'a pivot.' If you're wondering if you're on the right track and headed in the right direction then here are some significant potential pivots we can make (or are forced to make) in our personal lives:


•    Our mindset, beliefs, and values

•    Our spouse

•    How often we see our family

•    Relationships with our kids, if we have them, and how we bring them up 

•    Our social circles and friends

•    The type of sports we do regularly and our diet

•    Our career and industry

•    Revenue sources and investment strategy

•    Formal education and skill development

•    Our sex life

•    Country and home and other environments we operate in

•    The technology we use

•    Religion etc.


The important thing is that we try to make a pivot as scientifically specific as possible, to get to our perfect fit as fast as possible. The longer we delay the process, then the longer we delay our desired result. That means that no matter how hard a pivot is, we have to consider what we've learned about our environment and ourselves to move forward. Before making a pivot and starting to look for a new fit, we should carefully analyze everything we've learned about ourselves through the process and reflect on the less than desirable experience, multiple times. Not fun, but necessary to improve for next time. If we do that it means we'll be well aware of how we can improve our behavior, using more awareness and moving into the future situation knowing what we need and how we can better communicate or condition ourselves. Don't underestimate the part of the process that is self-reflection either, because it really is crucial if you're pivoting. You shouldn't just jump from one thing to the next, because we're likely to repeat the same patterns. To create positive and lasting change, we need insights about why we put what ourselves in those situations, those environments or wanted out of them in the first place. If it's a relationship, don't just blame the other person, stop and reflect on yourself first, then you can become more aware of your behavior, so you allow yourself to change it or walk away.  Regardless, you can take it onboard as a massive lesson and space for self-study. Failed relationships, financial situations or businesses offer us enormous opportunities for soul growth, strength, and empathy. Imagine if everyone was successful all the time? Would we even appreciate it? The grind and the work involved to achieve the desired result is what makes us grateful for the profit or the partner. Use every pivot as a conscious and proactive change in our lives strategy, then sooner than you know it, you'll have your perfect fit and pivoting will be something in your personal tool kit that you don't have to use, but have stored away for a rainy day.

Celine Wallace