Career Pivoting means shifting to a new career or shifting the direction of your current career. The term comes from basketball, where players can move in any direction as long as one foot is stationary.
From what my clients tell me, any career change can be characterized as a pivot. You always keep one foot on the floor in the sense that you take part of yourself with you. You never totally morph into a new person.
These days, the corporate workplace no longer seems like a comfortable perch. More and more, I’m getting questions like, “How can I pivot from corporate life to self-employment?”
The question isn’t coming from starry-eyed New Agers who want to follow their passion. It’s from midlife, mid-career executives and professionals who are taking a realistic view of the future for themselves and their companies.
I interviewed 12 people who made the transition successfully. Here are just 3 of the themes we uncovered.
(1) Your most important challenge involves shifting your mindset.
One day you introduce yourself as “Bonnie from IBM.” The next day you’re, “Hi, I’m Bonnie and I’m a life coach.” You’re very conscious of your desk, which may be in a corner of your living room when you get started.
You get a different response from your family and friends than you did when you walked in with the big name brand behind you. Your neighbors, seeing you work at home, might ask if you’ll accept a package for them. (The answer is, “No, sorry. I have a client meeting.”) Your work attire goes from designer suits or smart casuals to yoga pants and jeans.
You now spend a lot of time marketing yourself. One person I interviewed said, “That’s the biggest difference between success and failure. Those who are open to seeing themselves as marketers will succeed.”
(2) Choose your guides carefully.
Everyone I interviewed has acknowledged the support of mentors. One former salesperson said, “An MBA would cost me $50,000. So I’m going to find the very top people in the field and pay them for their expertise.” The strategy worked for her. She knew exactly what she wanted to do and was willing to do the work.
Start slowly. Buy a program or a single session from an expert. See if you can implement their suggestions easily. Notice if you’re making progress.
Make sure you like and respect the person you hire. One interviewee said the process was “like magic” for her. She really clicked with her mentor. They held a number of joint ventures and remain good friends and colleagues today.
Related to this advice was, “Follow your intuition.” No matter how many experts you consult, ultimately you are your own best career coach.
(3) Be open to learning.
Everyone I interviewed emphasized, “You have to enjoy the process of learning.” You may feel like you’re starting over, although you bring valuable skills from your previous career. You have to be willing to go back to the basics and learn from everyone you meet.
If you’d like to learn more about pivoting, visit this page and gain access right away. You’ll get 12 interviews you can download as mp3 files to listen anywhere you go.
Would you like to work with me one-to-one on your career pivot? Sign up here and we’ll get started.
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