January 15

The Art of the Pivot

One of the most important things I've learned as a self-employed person is the importance of how to PIVOT.

While this may feel a bit off topic (stay with me though!), the anticipated GM plant closure is a hot topic these days for obvious reasons. 

While watching all of the upset, the anger, the protests, and sit-ins that are going on, I can't help but feel a little confused at everything I'm hearing. 

Perhaps it's because I've been self-employed for more than a decade (and even longer if you count my work as an actor too - because let's face it, there is NO guaranteed work in that industry), but I have a completely different perspective on situations like this. 

Just the facts, Ma'am. Just the facts.

As a business, GM has every right to make decisions based on their needs.

And while GM does employ thousands of people, I'm pretty sure they never signed an agreement to provide a job for anyone in perpetuity.

Here are some facts:
  • GM sales are down and have been for some time (that means less $$ to pay said thousands of employees).
  • GM is providing people a YEAR of notice for the anticipated plant closure (last time I checked, I don't think any employer is required to provide this much notice).
  • Many workers will walk away with a severance package, and/or a pension. 
As a self-employed person, I'm never guaranteed anything I don't actively work for in terms of income, so this kinda deal feels like winning the jackpot to me! 

Perhaps it's all about perspective. Are GM workers entitled to more from an employer? If so, why? 

Who Moved My Cheese?

Have you heard of this book? If you're an entrepreneur (or a human) and you haven't read this yet, get yo-self a copy RIGHT NOW. 

This quick and entertaining read will lay out the difference between two sets of characters: Sniff & Scurry (mice), and Hem & Haw (little humans the size of mice). 

Without re-telling the entire story, it's essentially about this little maze that all four characters are in, enjoying a massive hunk of Cheese.

One day, the Cheese moved. It just wasn't there anymore. The mice, while a little clumsy in their execution, kept moving, looking for the Cheese, which they found in another part of the maze, quite quickly.

Hem and Haw, however, attempted to philosophize, analyze, blame, expected and demanded, and sat and cried because someone moved their Cheese.


Because it's a simple example of our very own ability to survive and thrive in life.

We HAVE to learn how to PIVOT when things change.  Because things will ALWAYS change. Because nothing in life is guaranteed.

So What's A Person To Do?

Well, PIVOT, naturally!

What seems to be heartbreaking in the moment, may really be a gift. 

In fact, it always is. Guaranteed - If you could only see it that way. 

About a year and a half ago, I lost my entire financial investment on a risk I took for my previous business.

It was painful and embarrassing. And in the end, it was the greatest gift I could've hoped for. 

Allowing that door to close helped me shed a business that was no longer serving me.

Be Grateful For Change

Learning how to pivot was, and remains, one of the most powerful abilities we have as a business owners and creative thinkers. In fact, I think it's imperative.

It's what can sometimes separate employee mentality from business owner mindset. It's also what separates successful businesses from floundering ones. It's in the ability to pivot. Because you must.

Otherwise you'll continue to blame others and try to make them responsible for the outcome of your life, when there's never a guarantee of that. 

When you run your own business, there's no one to answer to. YOU are the boss. YOU get to say how your business is run, and what decisions will be made - whether to add a new product or service, or shut your company down altogether. 

The benefit for people that can pivot? Unlimited possibilities! Like restructuring an underused factory to make eco-friendly electric cars! Ah-mazing!
Why not get new training in this incredible way of the future?!

Or maybe open that bakery you've always wanted to?! Or maybe it's time to take that severance package, sell your house, and purchase that B&B in France that you've always dreamed of?! 

The ability to pivot creates space for endless possibilities and solutions if people would just stop Hem'ming and Haw'ing, and started looking for some NEW Cheese!

I promise you, there's joy in it if you play in the creative zone a bit more. 

Change provides an opportunity to pivot, if we'd only see if that way.

Change that's forced upon us provides even GREATER opportunity to take stock and make new decisions based on possibility, if we take the opportunity to expand our thinking.

I'd love to hear how YOU'VE pivoted within your business or life! What opportunities did you jump on because you needed to change direction? 

So looking forward to hearing your feedback! 

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About the Author

Jennifer Maxwell

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