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why we need to pivot

Last week I wrote about flexibility in terms of defining perfection for yourself and letting things go. Both these themes are incredibly important to the greater picture of pivoting. Unless you can be flexible, you cannot pivot. I’ve written before about perspective shifts, but a large part of that process involves pivoting - being able to stay firmly planted in your beliefs while still being able to maneuver your way through the world.

Have you ever been a part of a group activity where you have many different personalities interacting at once? It could be a sport you played, a show you performed, an office in which you worked - human beings crave community, but there are often some road blocks that pop up due to some people’s inability to pivot. We’ve all met people in our lives with whom we just don’t quite click. What if it were possible to find a way to increase your chances of clicking with every single person you meet?

When I was in college, I went through the Sorority Recruitment process on several occasions - first as a potential new member and then as a Dually-Initiated Sister of Pi Beta Phi. I loved the recruitment process; it allowed me to meet and interact with so many interesting women - many of whom were similar to me and many of whom had vast differences. Regardless of their different life experiences or whatever chapter they ended up joining (or not joining), I was always able to find some sort of common thread with the amazing young women I met during those recruitment weeks (informally known as “rush”). I was often called upon to talk to the quieter women in the room, too, because I “could talk to a brick wall.” I never knew whether or not to take that as a compliment, but I ended up being the VP of Communications on the Executive Board which felt like an ultimate compliment (being how I’m someone who loves Communication).

I’ve also played basketball my whole life - first on my childhood driveway basket with my older brothers and then in organized leagues. I still play in a league today because it’s an activity that brings me a lot of joy. In basketball, upon picking up your dribble you can no longer keep walking with the ball. Your only options are to pass or shoot. The situation can be paralyzing when you’re first learning how to play because you feel immobile and stuck without both your feet being able to move; however, you are allowed to pivot, keeping one foot firmly planted while you, essentially, use your other foot to rotate yourself around your center (like a compass in math). But pivoting isn’t just something reserved for basketball; people do it everyday without even realizing it. Plans change, we pivot. That job we wanted didn’t quite pan out, we pivot. Bombed an audition, we pivot. A relationship ends, we pivot. In pivoting, we remain who we are at our center, but we adjust to the circumstances around us in order to free ourselves up for a better opportunity.

In improv, as I’ve written about before, pivoting starts with saying yes. When improvisers start out a scene, they are creating the world as they go. Many scenes I’ve initiated have surprised me because they’ve turned into something completely different than what I’d originally thought they’d be. It’s important to be able to pivot because you can’t control all the other external factors. When I initiate a scene in improv or I bring the ball up the court in basketball, I can’t control my other improviser’s choices or my defender’s choices. If you can stay flexible to the things going on around you while maintaining your individual goal, you'll be able to pivot and potentially create something really great. In improv it would be a really rewarding, fun scene with a great game; in basketball, it would be a shot or a pass that turns into a successful score.

Although it doesn't always equal direct success, by being flexible and willing to let go of negative influences, pivoting greatly increases your chances for it. It can help you win games, have funny scenes, recruit amazing women to an organization - the list goes on! So if you find yourself in a sticky situation this week, try to pivot and see what happens!

For now, I'll put a pin in the conversation until Wednesday! Until then, starve your ego and feed your soul! And, as always, if you have any pressing questions or if you want to discuss something further with me, feel free to subscribe below or reach out to me on the “contact” page. I’m so grateful that I’ve been getting a lot of really challenging questions and even better feedback from a community all over the world. I couldn’t do this without you! I’m here for you, and I love hearing from you, too! You’re the best, and you have everything you need inside of you! Please believe it!

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