Tuesday, August 06, 2019

When to Pivot

The ability to pivot and see opportunity is probably the single greatest skillset an entrepreneur can have.

Mark Sisson, interviewed by Lewis Howes, episode 827

Life provides us opportunities to question what we are doing and why.

The bigger the thing we are trying to accomplish, the more frequent the universal tests.

You often have a sense as to when a pivot is coming.

You are not seeing the results you expect. Or results are taking longer than you planned. Or the environment has changed around you, making what you are doing less valuable or desirable?

You may also see a great opportunity or have a new idea. One that is a heck of a lot more appealing than navigating the change dip.

So when should you pivot?

There’s no one right answer.

A few questions I ask when I am staring at a potential pivot:

  • How close am I to my “out?” Hopefully, you have defined what your “out” is. It could be a financial number. It could be a specific feeling. It could be an experience.
  • What do the trends look like?
    • If the trend is positive, but you have hit your “out” – do you still have runway? Do you need to come up with a way to shrink the scope of work while taking care of the immediate issue?
    • If the trend is negative or flat-lined for the forseeable future, what is keeping you on this path? What have you learned? Beware the “sunk cost fallacy.”
  • If I am faced with a new opportunity, does the new opportunity have the potential to move me towards my goals faster? Goals in this context aren’t just SMART goals, but also experiential. Does this new opportunity potentially move me towards my goals in a way that I will enjoy more than my current path? Your values and long-term vision should serve as guardrails for your decision-making.

Once you decide to pivot, leverage what you have learned.

Think of what a pivot is. It’s not blindly launching your entire person in another direction, fully committing and burning all your bridges. When you pivot in the physical world, you plant one foot in the same spot and use that as the hinge to explore different angles. You’re not leaving your feet. You’re keeping a little in the tank, you’re staying grounded. 

That’s how you should pivot in life. Keep one foot on the ground (where it’s comfortable), using your knowledge and experience as a base, and explore your options. 

– Mark Sisson, Primal Blueprint newsletter, July 29, 2019

If you are reading this, chances are you have a wealth of knowledge and experiences you have developed over the years.

Pivoting isn’t failure.

Pivoting is listening to your environment.

Pivoting is an opportunity to learn.

Pivoting allows you to reflect on what worked, what didn’t, the experience you had, and the experience you desire.

Just pivot mindfully.


Mark’s Daily Apple (Blog Post/Newsletter) – Mark Sisson is known for the Primal Blueprint lifestyle framework. His newsletter this week had a beautiful reflection on pivoting. Unfortunately, I can’t link directly to it – but even if you aren’t interested in nutrition, Mark provides insight into life, athletics, entrepreneurship and, yes, nutrition.

Lewis Howes interview with Mark Sisson (Podcast) – This is the podcast where Mark talks about his perspective on pivoting.

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