For some, this word comes with the thought of sports. Others think of its purpose in mechanics as a central point around which another dohickey oscillates or turns. Then there are those like myself, who can only see it as a reference to a wonderful moment involving a couch, a staircase, and an overpriced delivery fee. Of course, this is from one of my very personal favorite sitcoms FRIENDS. However, unlike Ms. Chanandler Bong, I’d like to humor Ross’s strategy and not “SHUT UP, SHUT UP, SHUT UUUUP” about it for just one moment.
There is one other use for the word “Pivot” that has been popping up more and more in my life lately, and every time it does, it starts to become one of those things that I feel might be nagging, I mean, vying for my attention.
The new Pivot: to make a, possibly slight, adjustment, or shift from your current project, outlook, mission, or stance. Results of this definition may vary but might include confusion, hesitation, anxiety, and some fear. SHUT UP SHUT UP SHUT UUUP about it now then. Not quite yet, Chandler, sorry. These less-than-pleasant results are due to the fact that a pivot involves a change from your current project, point, or position. It’s the change. Change is usually something that does make my comfort-zone loving self want to shut up and shut it down often. You might notice the little nudge to pivot after putting some time, effort, or even money into a project so the idea of abandoning it might seem terminal or a waste. Therefore, it might make more sense to see it through. Right? Just get it over and done with. I commend your commitment. It took Chandler a long time to get to that commitment level. But let’s not forget, Mr Pivot himself, Ross committed a little too quickly and a bit too often. And we know how that ended, three times.
This spin on the word “Pivot” found it’s way into my life recently with interesting frequency and form. First, I heard the conversation between another writer and small business owner sharing their stories of how at some point, as their projects evolved, they had to pivot from their original vision and allow it to take on its own momentum. Second, an artist that I follow on social media decided to take her time in quarantine by pivoting from the medium she is known for, canvases and digital arts, to cross-stitching. Lastly, an example from my own experience after offering an “Ask Me Anything” opportunity to followers. I received the ever-enticing question about what inspires me. Considering the fact that my blog is entitled “Tenderhearted Toughness” and my bio read “Here I write as living proof that kindness can be strength, vulnerability should not be judged, and that one must be tough to be tenderhearted”, my actual organic answer to the question surprised me.
Question: Tell us what inspires you to write!
My answer: What inspires me most are those moments and snapshots in life that seem so small, so fleeting, but carry such beautiful meaning that I can’t just let them go by unnoticed. Like an older gentleman tipping his newspaperboyish hat to say good morning or saving a ladybug from a puddle. As a writer and voice for the gentler souls, I also feel the call to speak to moments like these. They, like some people, are overlooked because they seem small or powerless, but those are the ones that hold the greatest potential.
A little different from my bio and original description of my works, yes? I expected my inner artist to say that “softness in the face of a hardened world” is my primary inspiration. Though it is truly a part of my core beliefs and something I find absolutely beautiful – it wasn’t my answer. So what now? Queue the confusion, hesitation, anxiety, and some fear. SHUT UUUP. Shut up and continue committing blindly to what I said 3 years ago when the blog was created? How could my answer have possibly changed? Have I changed? Hell yes, I’ve changed, I’m freakin blooming! But does that mean my writing has changed? … Oh, geeze. Change.
OK, let me mute the Chandler side of my brain for just a moment, to pose a question. What if, even for a second, we didn’t consider this temptation to do a little pivot as scary nagging, but instead, as an inspiring nudge? I’m no master about it and am still figuring this whole thing out, but I believe that when we have certain callings, whether big or small, they can reveal themselves in endless forms. So who’s to say this wasn’t mine? Who’s to say what’s yours? Perhaps let’s not be so quick to shut up these moments.
The author and small business owner from my first example ended up hosting a writer’s conference in which over 2,000 women joined and now are empowered to begin writing the books they’ve always dreamed of, potentially adding countless books to our shelves. Who knows, perhaps by taking their pivots in stride, they’ve unknowingly set the path to one of these potential writers to inspire one of the greatest minds of the future. The artist who pivoted over to cross-stitching from canvasses now has a whole new additional audience that follows her and she created a few new products to sell including her art and cross-stitch kits for others who want to give it a try too. By embracing change, even in the slightest way, these creators have created innumerable possibilities from a simple pivot. What a move.
Then there’s me. On the precarious precipice of a possible pivot. At the gates as either a guard or the welcoming committee, I never really know, here she is, once again, we love to hate her, ladies and gentlemen – change.
But at this point, what is worse? Deciding to give in a bit to Lady Change, after thinking it over and taking the time she might actually deserve, leading us to consider that the confusion, hesitation, anxiety and fear might actually be worth it? OR just sticking to something straight on just because the person you used to be thought it up, causing it to exist but never grow? Never take on a life of its own? In the end, it isn’t leaving what you began as incomplete. It’s allowing what you’ve planted to bloom in beautifully unexpected ways.
“What inspires me most are those moments and snapshots in life that seem so small, so fleeting, but carry such beautiful meaning…I also feel the call to speak to moments like these. They, like some people, are overlooked because they seem small or powerless, but those are the ones that hold the greatest potential.” I said that. I said that. In that exact type of moment I was speaking of – small, fleeting, with meaning and potential. “I can’t just let them go by unnoticed.” Oh boy, I said that too.
Like I said, some of our greatest and truest callings can come in some of the most unexpected and minuscule forms. You may be familiar with these as an aha moment, a nudge, and inkling, or a general wonderment. Yes, we have lived some life prior to this potential shift, and it’s gotten us to where we are now. And we like where we are now. However, what if that is as far as it was supposed to deliver us? Right here to the nudge of this next calling. We may never know what these calls might have in store for us, or even more important, what potential we might hold that can be released through them, but there’s one way to find out.
I still truly believe that it takes toughness to have a tender heart and it takes immense strength to be soft in this world. I will continue to live that out and be a voice for it. But for now, I think I’ve finally articulated what it would be like to see the world through Jobeth-colored glasses: seeing each moment, no matter how seemingly small, with meaning.
OK Ross, you win. Let’s go.