Pivot: The Only Move That Matters Is Your Next One

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9781591848202: Pivot: The Only Move That Matters Is Your Next One
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“Looking to make a career change? Pivot is a book you will turn to again and again.”—Daniel H. Pink, author of To Sell Is Human and Drive

If you've got the perfect job or business, congratulations. But if you are even a little bit uncertain that your current gig is the right one, it is time to start thinking about your next move. In the new world of work, it's the only move that matters.
 
What's next? is a question we all have to ask and answer more frequently in an economy where the average job tenure is only four years, roles change constantly even within that time, and smart, motivated people find themselves hitting professional plateaus. But how do you evaluate options and move forward without getting stuck? Jenny Blake's solution: It's about small steps, not big leaps—and the answer is already right under your feet. This book will teach you how to pivot from a base of your existing strengths.
 
Pivoting is a crucial strategy for Silicon Valley tech companies and startups. Jenny Blake—a former training and career development specialist at Google who now runs her own company as a career and business consultant and speaker—shows how pivoting can also be a successful strategy for individuals looking to make changes in their work lives, whether within their role, organization or business, or setting their sights on bigger shifts.

When you pivot, you double down on your existing strengths and interests to move in a new, related direction, instead of looking so far outside of yourself for answers that you skip over your hard-won expertise and experience. It empowers you to navigate changes with flexibility and strength—now and throughout your entire career.

Much like the lean business principles that took Silicon Valley by storm, pivoting is the crucial skill you need to stay agile, whether or not you are actively looking for a new position.

No matter your age, industry, or bank account balance, Jenny's advice will help you move forward strategically. Her Pivot Method will teach you how to:

· Double down on existing strengths, interests, and experiences. Identify what is working best and where you want to end up, then start to bridge the gap between two.
· Scan for opportunities and identify new skills without falling prey to analysis paralysis or compare and despair. Explore options by leveraging the network and experience you already have.
· Run small experiments to determine next steps. Do side projects to test ideas for your next move, taking the pressure off having the entire answer up front.
· Take smart risks to launch with confidence in a new direction. Set benchmarks to decide when the time is right to go all-in on your new direction.
 
Pivot also includes valuable insight for leaders who want to have more frequent career conversations with their teams to help talented people pivot within their roles and the broader organization.

No matter your current position, one thing is clear: your career success and satisfaction depends on your ability to determine your next best move. If change is the only constant, let's get better at it.

"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.

About the Author:

Jenny Blake is a career and business strategist and international speaker who helps people build sustainable, dynamic careers they love. She pivoted from studying political science and communications at UCLA to become the first employee at a political polling start-up in Silicon Valley. She then moved to Google, where she spent over five years in training and career development while also writing her first book, Life After College. Jenny left Google in 2011 to take her consulting business full time. A San Francisco native, she now lives in New York City.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

High Net Growth

I did stand-up comedy for eighteen years. Ten of those years were spent learning, four years were spent refining, and four were spent in wild success.

-Steve Martin, Born Standing Up

I was sitting behind a card table in the sticky Texas heat at the South by Southwest Conference in 2011, signing copies of Life After College at a small launch party. The books were not even in stores yet-they were truly "hot off the press." The first person in line walked up to the table and, as I started signing, asked, "So . . . what's next?"

I stuttered and stammered through an awkward reply. Even though he had the best intentions, I could not help but feel a bit deflated. It was so strange. Here was this massive project, this life goal embodied in a bound stack of paper, sitting in my hands after three years of staring down my gremlins to write it, and people were already asking what's next.

The truth was, I had no idea. I had just started three months of unpaid leave from Google, and as regularly as brushing my teeth, I agonized over my own next career move as the clock on my sabbatical ticked down. Every day I struggled with what the right decision would be: return to Mountain View after my book tour, ask to work part time from New York City, or leave the company altogether? Should I make the safe, secure choice? Or should I take the risk of leaving and do the thing that terrified and excited me most by taking my own business full time?

Though I loved my time at Google-it was the best five-year MBA I could ask for-ultimately I felt I could make the biggest contribution if I pursued a new direction. I ran the numbers: I could support up to 35,000 Googlers at the time through internal career development programs, or I could leave and try to expand my reach and global impact to a far greater number, following my personal mission to be as helpful as possible to as many people as possible.

Some people measure their lives in terms of money, orienting their careers around acquiring wealth and material markers of success. Those who have accumulated financial wealth are considered high net worth individuals. But for the vast majority of people I encounter, money is not the number one driver of purpose and fulfillment. It is only a partial means to that end. A study by Daniel Kahneman and Angus Deaton confirms this: once people surpass $75,000 in annual net income ($82,000 in today's dollars), they experience no statistically significant bump in their day-to-day emotional well-being.

For many, money is nice to have, but not at the expense of soul-crushing work, if they have the economic flexibility to choose otherwise. The people I am talking about, and the ones for whom this book will resonate most, are those who are unwilling to settle for a career of phoning it in. They are willing to pay dues, but are not prepared to sit stalled for long, unable to see the value or impact of their work.

These individuals optimize for high net growth and impact, not just high net worth. I call them impacters for short. Impacters love learning, taking action, tackling new projects, and solving problems. They are generous and cooperative, and imbued with a strong desire to make a difference.

Impacters aim first and foremost for a sense of momentum and expansion. They ask, "Am I learning?" When their inward desire for growth is being met, they turn their attention outward, seeking to make a positive impact on their families, companies, communities, and global societies. Often these happen in tandem; by seeking problems they can fix and tackling them, impacters meet their needs for exploration and challenge, uncovering callings along the way.

Stanford University psychologist Carol Dweck, author of Mindset: The Psychology of Success, discovered in her research that the most successful people are those with a growth mindset. These are people who believe that their basic qualities are things they can cultivate through their efforts, rather than believing their gifts (or lack of them) are fixed traits. The truth, Dweck says, is that brains and talent are just the starting point. "The passion for stretching yourself and sticking to it, even (or especially) when it's not going well, is the hallmark of the growth mindset," Dweck writes. "This is the mindset that allows people to thrive during some of the most challenging times in their lives."

Maintaining a growth mindset is critical to navigating a pivot successfully. By seeing change as an opportunity, rather than a personal shortcoming or obstacle, you will be much more likely to find creative solutions based on what excites you, rather than subpar choices clouded by fear. Making career moves based solely on running from unhappiness and avoiding fear is like trying to fix a gaping wound with a Band-Aid; the solution does not stay in place for long. With a growth mindset, you will be open to new ideas, observant in your experimentation, deliberate in your implementation, and flexible in the face of change.

Fixed anything doesn't work for impacters, who are allergic to stagnation and boredom. Author Tim Ferriss captured this sentiment in The 4-Hour Workweek, saying, "The opposite of love is indifference, and the opposite of happiness is . . . boredom." It turns out that boredom itself can induce stress, causing the same physical discomfort as too much work: increased heart rate and cortisol levels, as well as muscle tension, stomachaches, and headaches.

For impacters, boredom is a symptom of fulfillment deficiency-of not maximizing for growth and impact-rather than a sign of inherent laziness. As University of Waterloo professor of neuroscience James Danckert wrote, "We tend to think of boredom as someone lazy, as a couch potato. It's actually when someone is motivated to engage with their environment and all attempts to do so fail. It's aggressively dissatisfying."

In her 1997 study, Dr. Amy Wrzesniewski, associate professor of organizational behavior at Yale University's School of Management, proposed that people see their work as a job, career, or calling. Those with a job orientation see work as a means to the end of paying the bills; those with a career orientation are more likely to emphasize success, status, and prestige; and those with a calling describe work as integral to their lives, a core part of their identity and a fulfilling reward in itself. Impacters fall clearly into the second category and aspire to the third, if they are not already there.

Impacters are not just asking What did I earn? but What did I learn? What did I create? What did I contribute? They measure their quality of life by how much they are learning, challenged, and contributing. If they are doing all three intelligently and intentionally, they work hard to ensure that the money will follow.

It is not that impacters are not interested in money-they are. They have no desire to live as starving artists. They know it is challenging, if not impossible, to focus on others if one's own basic needs are not met first. But when faced with the prospect of a career plateau, they would make the horizontal move, leave the cushy corporate job, or bootstrap their own business to prioritize growth and impact. A person who aims for learning and contribution may rank intellectual capital over financial capital if pressed to choose, but often ends up wealthy in both.

Take Christian Golofaro and John Scaife, who traded coffee and cotton in the open outcry pits on Wall Street for five years. Tired of the daily pressures of their jobs and looking for meaning beyond buying and selling commodities, they pooled their money in 2014 to start an urban farming business in Red Hook, Brooklyn. They sought to help revolutionize food production by bringing fresh, local, pesticide-free produce to New York City year-round. They were more inspired as impacters in their new business, SpringUps, than they ever were in finance.

Though he spent thousands of hours in high school and college preparing for a career in medicine, Travis Hellstrom decided to join the Peace Corps after graduation instead. He gave up his full ride to medical school and moved to Mongolia, where he served in the Peace Corps for over three years, living on two hundred dollars a month. When Travis reflects on the decision, he says, "It took a lot of soul-searching and being okay with disappointing myself and others, but I left my life and found my calling." After he returned, Travis pivoted again to nonprofit coaching and community management. Several years later, he parlayed that independent consulting work into a role as chair of the Mission-Driven Organizations graduate program at Marlboro University.

Impacters continue learning and contributing throughout their working lives, which often extend far past what is traditionally thought of as retirement age. When I asked Kyle Durand about his impending retirement from the military after twenty-seven years of service, his sentiments reflected those of many people I know who have no plans to retire in the traditional sense.

"I think retirement is an antiquated notion. The whole idea that you work for most of your adult life in order to eventually do the things you want is outmoded," Kyle said. "My retirement from the military is simply closing the chapter on that part of my career, but it is not the end of my working days by any stretch. Now I can shift into building my businesses full time. That is my future, part of my legacy. That is how I want to make an impact with the people I care about."

Christian, John, Travis, and Kyle pivoted in new directions that were more aligned with their values, interests, and goals, even though there was not a guarantee of success. As impacters, they saw these changes as opportunities for growth and recognized that their ability to learn and adapt would help them land on their feet no matter what. This helped them maintain a positive outlook throughout their pivots, knowing they would benefit from following their instincts and aspirations instead of societal expectations, no matter the outcome.

As I was writing this book, many of the people I initially interviewed returned six months or one year later and said things like, "Don't bother putting my story in the book. I am pivoting again."

This manifested in a variety of ways: they got poached by another company for an even better role; their company folded, got acquired, or got sold; they decided not to pursue a new skill or industry after all; they realized entrepreneurship was or was not for them; or they shifted their business into a more promising new direction.

Hearing these updates did not surprise me, nor did it mark their initial pivot as a failure. Instead, they are prime examples of what it means to be high net growth and impact individuals. I expect to hear that impacters are pivoting and adjusting dynamically at every turn.

For a directory of people featured in this book and what they are up to now, visit PivotMethod.com/people; for audio interviews and episodes from the Pivot Podcast, visit JennyBlake.me/podcast.

Career Operating Modes

An essential facet of the Pivot mindset is self-awareness. How are you currently showing up in your day-to-day work? Are you operating at your desired energy levels, creative output, and impact? I have observed four primary Career Operating Modes among pivoters: inactive, reactive, proactive, and innovative. The first two are impacter stressors, the latter two are sweet spots:

Inactive: Does not seek changes; paralyzed by fear, uncertainty, and self-doubt; covers up career or life dissatisfaction with unhealthy habits, such as numbing out with excessive amounts of food, alcohol, TV, video games, and so on; feels and acts like a victim of circumstances.

Reactive: Mimics others' models for success without originality; follows instructions to the letter; waits for inspiration to strike; "phones it in" at work; feels unhappy, but does not inquire into why or what to do about it; lets fear overrule planning for the future and subsequent action steps.

Proactive: Seeks new projects; actively learns new skills; is open to change; improves existing programs; makes connections with others; takes ownership even within existing leadership structures; has a giver mentality, willing and interested in helping others. May not be fully using innate talents, but is exploring what they are and how to amplify them.

Innovative: In addition to proactive mode qualities, fully taps into unique strengths; focuses on purpose-driven work and making meaningful contributions; is energized by a strong vision for new projects with a clear plan for making them happen; does not just improve existing structures, but creates new solutions to benefit others.

Impacters thrive in situations where they are able to be proactive and, even more so, innovative in driving their career forward, implementing new ideas and creatively solving problems, stretching to the edges of what is possible for themselves and the companies they start or work for. When impacters find themselves in inactive or reactive operating mode, they look to pivot again toward a new, more engaging opportunity.

Although it is true that some people may work in inactive or reactive mode for their entire careers, this is not a life that impacters can stomach. The boredom, anxiety, and feeling of standing still becomes increasingly intolerable, often manifesting in physical symptoms such as headaches, getting sick more frequently, or worse.

At these critical pivot points, impacters must recognize this tension and take action. Otherwise the unhappiness from staying still for too long compounds, making the career confusion feel insurmountable, and taking it from conundrum to crisis.

Though they may get restless more easily, impacters do have a distinct advantage: by seeing career boosts and setbacks as learning opportunities, all outcomes become fodder for growth. Nassim Nicholas Taleb captures this concept in the six-word title of his book Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder.

Antifragile organisms do not simply withstand change and survive it; they become better because of it. A glass is fragile. If you drop it, it breaks. A tree is resilient. In strong winds, it sways but stays standing, more or less remaining the same. Organisms that are antifragile actually benefit from shocks. Taleb invokes Hydra, the creature from Greek mythology: when one of Hydra's many heads is cut off, two grow back in its place. The tough-times clichŽ is true: what doesn't kill you makes you stronger. According to Taleb, antifragile organisms "thrive and grow when exposed to volatility, randomness, disorder, and stressors," and "love adventure, risk, and uncertainty."

Love risk and uncertainty? Huh? Aren't these things to be mitigated, if not entirely eliminated? Not if you want to be antifragile in a world that is ruled by them. Impacters find ways to thrive in uncertainty and disorder. Rather than merely reacting to randomness or becoming paralyzed by it, they look for opportunities to alchemize what is already working into what comes next.

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Book Description PORTFOLIO, 2016. Hardback. Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. Looking to make a career change? Pivot is a book you will turn to again and again. --Daniel H. Pink, author of To Sell Is Human and Drive If you ve got the perfect job or business, congratulations. But if you are even a little bit uncertain that your current gig is the right one, it is time to start thinking about your next move. In the new world of work, it s the only move that matters. What s next? is a question we all have to ask and answer more frequently in an economy where the average job tenure is only four years, roles change constantly even within that time, and smart, motivated people find themselves hitting professional plateaus. But how do you evaluate options and move forward without getting stuck? Jenny Blake s solution: it s about small steps, not big leaps--and the answer is already right under your feet. This book will teach you how to pivot from a base of your existing strengths. Pivoting is a crucial strategy for Silicon Valley tech companies and startups. Jenny Blake--a former training and career development specialist at Google who now runs her own company as a career and business consultant and speaker--shows how pivoting can also be a successful strategy for individuals looking to make changes in their work lives, whether within their role, organization or business, or setting their sights on bigger shifts. When you pivot, you double down on your existing strengths and interests to move in a new, related direction, instead of looking so far outside of yourself for answers that you skip over your hard-won expertise and experience. It empowers you to navigate changes with flexibility and strength--now and throughout your entire career. Much like the lean business principles that took Silicon Valley by storm, pivoting is the crucial skill you need to stay agile, whether or not you are actively looking for a new position. No matter your age, industry, or bank account balance, Jenny s advice will help you move forward strategically. Her Pivot Method will teach you how to: - Double down on existing strengths, interests, and experiences. Identify what is working best and where you want to end up, then start to bridge the gap between the two. - Scan for opportunities and identify new skills without falling prey to analysis paralysis or compare and despair. Explore options by leveraging the network and experience you already have. - Run small experiments to determine next steps. Do side projects to test ideas for your next move, taking the pressure off so you don t need to have the entire answer up front. - Take smart risks to launch with confidence in a new direction. Set benchmarks to decide when the time is right to go all-in on your new direction. Pivot also includes valuable insight for leaders who want to have more frequent career conversations with their teams to help talented people pivot within their roles and the broader organization. No matter your current position, one thing is clear: your career success and satisfaction depends on your ability to determine your next best move. If change is the only constant, let s get better at it. Seller Inventory # AAU9781591848202

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Book Description PORTFOLIO, 2016. Hardback. Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. Looking to make a career change? Pivot is a book you will turn to again and again. --Daniel H. Pink, author of To Sell Is Human and Drive If you ve got the perfect job or business, congratulations. But if you are even a little bit uncertain that your current gig is the right one, it is time to start thinking about your next move. In the new world of work, it s the only move that matters. What s next? is a question we all have to ask and answer more frequently in an economy where the average job tenure is only four years, roles change constantly even within that time, and smart, motivated people find themselves hitting professional plateaus. But how do you evaluate options and move forward without getting stuck? Jenny Blake s solution: it s about small steps, not big leaps--and the answer is already right under your feet. This book will teach you how to pivot from a base of your existing strengths. Pivoting is a crucial strategy for Silicon Valley tech companies and startups. Jenny Blake--a former training and career development specialist at Google who now runs her own company as a career and business consultant and speaker--shows how pivoting can also be a successful strategy for individuals looking to make changes in their work lives, whether within their role, organization or business, or setting their sights on bigger shifts. When you pivot, you double down on your existing strengths and interests to move in a new, related direction, instead of looking so far outside of yourself for answers that you skip over your hard-won expertise and experience. It empowers you to navigate changes with flexibility and strength--now and throughout your entire career. Much like the lean business principles that took Silicon Valley by storm, pivoting is the crucial skill you need to stay agile, whether or not you are actively looking for a new position. No matter your age, industry, or bank account balance, Jenny s advice will help you move forward strategically. Her Pivot Method will teach you how to: - Double down on existing strengths, interests, and experiences. Identify what is working best and where you want to end up, then start to bridge the gap between the two. - Scan for opportunities and identify new skills without falling prey to analysis paralysis or compare and despair. Explore options by leveraging the network and experience you already have. - Run small experiments to determine next steps. Do side projects to test ideas for your next move, taking the pressure off so you don t need to have the entire answer up front. - Take smart risks to launch with confidence in a new direction. Set benchmarks to decide when the time is right to go all-in on your new direction. Pivot also includes valuable insight for leaders who want to have more frequent career conversations with their teams to help talented people pivot within their roles and the broader organization. No matter your current position, one thing is clear: your career success and satisfaction depends on your ability to determine your next best move. If change is the only constant, let s get better at it. Seller Inventory # AAU9781591848202

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