Career Pivot: The New Normal

“Virtually everything about jobs and work and careers has changed.” ~ Scott Uhrig

I’ve just finished reading Jenny Blake’s Pivot: The Only Move That Matters Is Your Next One. Because careers are no longer straightforward, linear and predictable; pivoting within our roles and throughout our careers is the new normal.

A Pivot Mindset

Careers have become “more modular, customizable and dynamic;” employee tenure is about four-to-five years; job roles often change dramatically within that tenure. For these reasons, we need to develop a “pivot mindset.”

A pivot mindset emphasizes natural shifts within our current role and from one position to the next while remaining open to a wide variety of options. It’s about building a portfolio of skills, experiences, and contacts, and adapting to new tools and tactics. In other words, we can no longer settle for a career of just phoning it in.

Impacters 

Blake coins the term “impacters” for those who optimize for high net growth and impact. These are people who love learning, taking action, tackling new projects and solving problems. They aim for momentum and expansion. They possess a growth mindset critical to navigating a successful pivot. They ask, what did I learn; what did I create; what did I contribute?

Impacters are “allergic to stagnation and boredom.” They thrive in situations where they can be proactive and innovative in driving their careers forward, implementing new ideas and creatively solving problems, stretching to the edges of possibilities for themselves and their organizations.

The Pivot Cycle

Career pivots can stretch us to our maximum capacity, but don’t have to be debilitating. To guide us, Blake offers a methodology or cycle that incorporates a four-stage process:

Plant: Starting from a strong base of who you already are and what is already working.

Scan: Researching new and related skills and mapping potential opportunities.

Pilot: Small, low-risk experiments to test the new direction.

Launch: Pulling the trigger on the bigger decisions that require commitment even in the face of uncertainty.

The Pivot Cycle is not a “one and done” effort, nor is it Plan B. It’s a continuous process of doubling down on what already works to make a purposeful shift in a new, related direction. And each pivot informs our next career move.

A successful pivot results in momentum, expansion and forward movement. It aligns with our vision and expertise that’s been developed over time.

How About You?

Pivoting requires courage. Every time. As an impacter, pursuing learning, meaning and growth is courageous. It’s refusing to phone it in; it’s signing up for a life of making decisions that align with core values, stretching beyond comfort zones and benefitting lives beyond our own.

It’s also the new normal. Plan A. It’s what we have to do to live life as an impacter.

Can you embrace the pivot mindset and optimize for high growth and impact? Are you doing that now or have you in your past? If so, how?

 

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