Personal Pivots: How to Be More Agile in Life and Work

Exciting news on the JB book front: after one year of work and three intense rounds of revisions, my literary agent has finally green-lighted The Human Pivot book proposal and sample chapter to start shopping to publishers! In today's post, I'm sharing two recent interviews on the topic of my new book: personal and career pivots. Check out the videos below (or download the transcripts) to learn how you can become more agile in life and work.

Exosphere: Interview with Carlos Miceli (27 Min)

Carlos and I met through our blogs way back in 2008 and have watched each other grow, switch directions, and build our businesses. In this interview for his latest venture Exosphere, I share more about my own recent career experiments (click here to read the transcript instead): [youtube id="mqUKmQOtOp8"]

A few key takeaways:

  • It’s not everyone on the planet, but I think for many people there is this deep imperative to create in the world and to innovate and create meaning, and that’s not just "entitled" millennials.
  • Anything that isn’t creative is getting automated and outsourced. People are smart to focus on how they can add value and create in the world.
  • There was a Harvard Business Review article that the new factory is a decision factory. It’s about using your mind and being creative and high level thinking.
  • Tyler Cowen talks about this in his book Average is Over, that the people who are going to really succeed are the ones that can work with technology and leverage technology and complement it.
  • I realized last year that to optimize for feeling happy every day was a mistake—when I can optimize for meaning instead, for me that works much better. I’m able to put in hard work. I’m able to ride out some dips, because I know what they are in service of.
  • Keep reading the transcript . . .

Cufflinked Magazine: Interview with Tom Meitner (17 Min)

Tom and I worked together earlier this year when he was in the thick of his own pivot. The result? Cufflinked Magazine, his exciting new online venture. We got to chatting about working through a major career change, and why it doesn't always have to be a crisis (click here to read the transcript instead): [youtube id="yXbnBrSgNKQ"]

A few key takeaways:

  • One of my favorite quotes from recently is “All change involves loss,” and that’s from Stephen Grosz. Even if it’s a change you’re excited about, there’s something that goes away or that becomes different or that is no longer; and so pivoting is always going to involve leaving that comfort zone.
  • . . . there’s a grieving process that has to happen to let your former life go and to step into the unknown and create from scratch again.
  • Part of what can help that feara—and why I call it a pivot and not a 180 or something more drastic—is that you’re shifting in a more logical way from something you were doing. You already have assets under your belt—people you know, skills that you have, past experience—and can apply those assets to your new direction.
  • If someone’s completely stuck and they don’t have any marketable skills or any network, they've got to build it.
  • Tom: "That kind of spills over into your personal life too—If you want a date, you got to find some way to market yourself." Jenny: "Right. You've got to be yourself and figure out who wants what you’ve got." Tom: "Who’s buying what you’re selling."
  • Keep reading the transcript . . .

Just for fun: Pied Piper Needs to Pivot (1 Min)

From this year's hilarious new HBO show, Silicon Valley: [youtube id="7zv93pY2dIs"]

"Hey guys. I just had a thought. Okay, so this is it, right. A lot of successful start-ups launched with a different business model, and when they ran into trouble they pivoted to something new. Like Instagram, that was a location-based check-in service when it started and then they pivoted. Or Chat Roulette—that was social media, then they pivoted to become a playground for the sexually monstrous. We just need a new idea, something that people want, right? We can pivot too.

. . . I'll admit, I am sleep challenged. I just spent four days trapped in a steel box out on an oil rig filled with robot forklifts. So, that was hard. But I am back, I am recovering, and I am focused, and we are going to pivot.

Don't lose faith guys. Right? Look at me. Look at me. Look at me. We've got a great name, we've got a great team, we've got a great logo, and we've got a great name. Now we just need an idea. Let's pivot. Let's pivot."

—Jared (played by Zach Woods) from HBO's Silicon Valley