Jenny Blake is unlike a lot of people with an online presence at the moment in that she’s actually done what she helps other people to do. I know – the audacity!
She helps people to “pivot” in their careers – and lives – because that’s exactly what she’s done a lot more than just once in her life. She’s also done it in a big way – leaving Google, for example.
Here’s what we can learn from her:
1) Pivoting isn’t easy, even if you know it’s right.
Although Jenny knew she wanted to leave Google, it wasn’t an easy choice – far from it. Especially with the amount of people who couldn’t believe she’d do something so “crazy”. So if you want to change careers, if you know you need to change careers, you’ll still feel some fear, some resistance, some doubt. That’s ok. If you don’t feel that stuff, you’re probably deceiving yourself in some way.
2) Pivoting is a mindset.
We seem to have expectations about how many times we’re allowed to change careers, or what kind of careers we can change to, or at what age it’s still ok to do something different. Why? What benefit does it have? Because one constant in life is that things will change, and they’ll change often, and they’ll change in ways we don’t necessarily like. So why not get better at changing? At dealing with change? Why not adopt the pivoting mindset? Because if we do, these changes will be less shocking, less jarring. To know that change is guaranteed, and to not actively try to get better at dealing with it – that’s crazy.
3) You will either pivot or get pivoted.
Wouldn’t you rather do it on your own terms?
4) Changes are usually for the best.
I know. How many times have you heard that? But of all the people interviewed for her book, not one person said that pivoting or changing had made their life worse. All of them said these pivots and changes had been for the best, and had worked out – if only eventually. Lots of people even said it was like their whole career had been preparing them for what they pivoted or changed to.
5) You don’t have to be a “brand” to be discoverable.
It does seem like everyone is building themselves into some kind of brand these days, doesn’t it? But the good news is that you don’t have to do that to be discoverable, to be noticed, to be sought after. To be discoverable, you have to give the world what you can give it in an authentic way. You have to add value to the conversation you want to be a part of with your own voice.
6) Pivoting is not for everyone.
Just as it’s not for people who are happy doing what they’re doing, it’s absolutely not for “fearless” risk-takers who just want to quit their job and go all in. Pivoting is for people who are a little more pragmatic and a little more risk-averse. There’s always risk involved in pivoting, obviously, but Jenny is about helping you plan everything out – including worst case scenarios – so that you don’t have to take unnecessary risks.
7) If you don’t listen to your body, it’ll make you listen.
Jenny was working at Google and writing a book at the same time. Yeah. I know. Unsurprisingly, she kept burning herself out, and it manifested itself physically – she, for example, had a thyroid problem, and even vertigo. Now those are things that will make you listen.
There is absolutely a kind of spiritual element to this. Someone could be working twelve hours a day and never get close to burning out. But someone else could be working twelve hours a day – or less – doing something that’s not in line with who they are, and be completely burned out.
There’s no set amount of hours that will make you burn out. But if you insist on continuing to do things you don’t enjoy, your body will keep talking to you, and it will happen eventually.
8) If you’re indecisive then put off the decision.
Not forever, obviously. But maybe for a week or two. Sometimes we can just overthink stuff to the point that we have no idea what to think any more. That’s when it’s time to give yourself some space. When we do this we can become more objective about things as opposed to living in our emotions, and that’s only going to lead to better decisions.
9) There’s no point in trying to eliminate or ignore your fears and insecurities.
Because we can’t – not totally. And anyway, them showing up can be a good thing. It means this change or pivot we’re trying to make is hard enough that it’s compelling to us.
If it were easy, we’d either already be doing it, or we’d be bored. @Matt_Hearnden (Click to Tweet!)
Also, people with higher IQs tend to self-rate lower, and people with lower IQs tend to self-rate higher. So for those of us that want to pivot and change and hustle and grow and whatever else, there’s going to be some fear and insecurity there. And that’s ok. Because we can pivot and change anyway.
10) The complexity of having to change career more often is good and bad.
It’s bad because we have to learn a new skill set, and become comfortable with something that can be very uncomfortable. That’s why Jenny wrote her book.
It’s good because it opens up an enormous amount of amazing opportunities – and, because there will be people who either don’t want to learn this new skill set, or just refuse to do so, we’ll be the ones who can take advantage of these new opportunities.
What else you can hear on the podcast:
- The three things that make people more agile (and more easily able to pivot)
- The four stages of pivoting
- How to know when you have enough money to quit your job
- And much more!
Matt Hearnden is a writer from the UK. He mostly tells stories only he can tell. He blogs twice a week at www.matthearnden.com just self-published his first book:42. Matt writes every day because he loves it and because it stops him watching Netflix. And, probably more importantly, he plays basketball and has lots of tattoos. You can find him on Twitter, IG & Quora.
Image courtesy of Benjamin Child.