Physician Dispensing

Feeling Stuck? Remember to Pivot!

shoe-bubblegumDuring my years as a youth basketball coach, one of the most frustrating behaviors I recall was the tendency for new players to dribble into a defender, pick up the ball and then stop. The pressure of an obstacle struck fear into the hearts of the uninitiated and they would freeze. Sound familiar? In basketball, the player is allowed a “pivot foot” that gives them a 365 degree motion to shift their position without moving that foot from its place on the floor. In the heat of the moment, young players frequently forgot to pivot and became stuck, often losing the ball to the opposing team.

Off the court, this happens frequently as well. We’re moving along effortlessly and all of a sudden we run into a barrier that throws us off our game. Yes, you’ve seen it. All of that hard work seems wasted when the promotion doesn’t happen. The bank turns you down for the loan that was critical for your expansion. Your key employee quits to join a competitor. You lose the bid for that game changing contract. In the blink of an eye, your momentum has stopped and you’re feeling stuck. In some cases, people walk into a job every day feeling trapped. The mistake is to blame someone or something for the position you are in and/or to feel that you have no options. There are always options. For my young basketball players, my message was:remember to pivot. The pivot repositions you. The pivot presents new opportunities. The pivot shifts your perspective just enough so you can see other options. The pivot allows you to reclaim the initiative.

How do you pivot? Here are some ideas:

  • Don’t Look For Blame. This is purely mindset. The faster you can release the negative energy associated with being stuck, the faster you can move beyond it. Blaming your employer, customer, employee, the economy, the universe or yourself will not help you move forward. LET IT GO as quickly as possible. I’m not saying to avoid an assessment of why you are stuck. Just stay out of the blame game. It leads to excuses and excuses perpetuate the sensation of feeling stuck because they reinforce the idea that you can’t do anything about it. In situations where you feel wronged, the quicker you can forgive the trespass and forget it, the quicker you can move on.
  • Count Your Blessings. Literally. Get a piece of paper and write them down. Everything from your health to your family to your favorite Barista. List your gifts, talents, skills, accomplishments, friends – EVERYTHING. You have so many blessings and they can be so very easy to forget. Pivoting is about building momentum and nothing builds a mindset for momentum like gratitude. Be deliberately grateful and continue to remind yourself.
  • Take Action. With my basketball players, I often told them that if they weren’t sure what to do, just do something. Inaction was the enemy. Momentum cannot occur without movement. If you are in sales, start with a list of prospects, write 2 actions for each and then go do those actions. If you hate your job, ask yourself what is so terrible, write down 3 three things you can do about it and do them. If you want so badly to start your own company but aren’t sure where to start, identify 4 people that have started their own companies and ask them to join you for a cup of coffee. Build momentum by taking small steps initially and then see where they lead you. The pivot occurs imperceptibly. Once you start down a path, your movement begins to take on a life its own and new doors begin to open.
  • Repeat. Pivoting is perpetual. You will need to be persistent because you will continually walk through the “stuck” cycle of life. Build momentum. Lose momentum. Begin again. The setbacks are normal so make your pivot response normal as well – make it a habit.

It is so ironic because we all know intellectually how to do deal with these setbacks. Yet it can be so difficult to execute when we are in the middle of it. Life can hurt. It is messy. Just remember that you have options. Even at the dead-ends we face, there are choices to be made.

Have your own techniques for pivoting? Please share them!

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