When faced with difficult circumstances, pivot!

Sep 08, 2021
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pivot [piv-uht ]

verb (used without object) to turn on or as on a pivot.

~Basketball – to keep one foot in place while holding the ball and moving the other foot one step in any direction.

~to modify a policy, opinion, product, etc., while retaining some continuity with its previous version, especially as part of a strategy to appeal to a different audience

EXAMPLES from Dictionary.com

~The candidate will need to pivot on her unpopular position regarding prescription drug pricing.

~The studio pivoted away from gritty realism to make the film’s sequel more family friendly.

~When faced with unbelievable circumstances, Tuleja pivoted and recreated her life’s purpose and passion.

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This has been a year of loss – mother and sister succumbing to Covid; not being able to return to my work, life, friends, and community in China; leaving behind my apartment and possessions; even parting with an important sense of my identity.

But it’s also been a year of gain – knowing that my mother and sister felt loved, protected, and cared for at their most difficult time of need; letting go of material possessions that don’t really matter much in the scheme of things; reconnecting with my family and friends back in the USA as I seek to rebuild my community; launching my business after four years of planning and preparation.

Whatever our circumstances in the past year and a half, we’ve all been through upheaval and our lives have been changed in ways we could never have imagined. The world will never be the same again.

Life is about the pivot – keeping one foot firmly planted on the ground while you seek out a different direction. You actively dribble until you can move. You might take a step, become blocked, then turn to go a different way.  A pivot enables one to readjust their path when obstacles get in the way.

I discussed this dilemma of how to pivot and reinvent myself with my coach, Heather Tingle (Linked-In) who brought about an impactful “aha” moment [By the way, Heather is an AMAZING coach, full of wisdom and insight, and I highly recommend her if you are stuck and looking for a breakthrough (Website). She’s also a talented writer and produces some creatively crafted and thought-provoking observations on life. This is why it's crucial for me to have a coach - someone acts as a sounding board to help me see things from a different angle - to pivot!]. I was processing my situation – now that my life was upended and it wasn’t possible to return to China anytime in at least the next year, I felt a huge sense of loss of my identity and place of being (and of course losing my loved ones about whom I’ve blogged about back in March and April). 

In this particular conversation I was mourning my loss of living abroad and the enjoyment and purpose it brought to my life because of my love for cross-cultural experiences. Yet, in spite of the bittersweet experiences and losses of the last year-plus, I had gained a deep contentment. After listening to me, Heather asked if she could make an observation based upon all that I had just acknowledged. She contemplated, “I wonder...it seems like you can carry that contentment with you wherever you go rather than have it come from where you’re at.”

An image immediately came to mind – a beautiful glass ornament of a green turtle with gold dust on its shell that my mother had given me when I moved abroad to Hong Kong years ago. The note in the box said, “No matter where you go in the world, you’ll always carry the love from your family and home on your back.” This insightful observation from my coach was both comforting and encouraging. No matter where I am in the world – whether at home in familiar Philadelphia, or having an adventure in Panzhihua, Panama, or Phuket, I can derive enjoyment from where I’m at because I have my shell on my back. It’s filled with contentment, peace, love from family and friends all over the world, and of course – I still have my sense of adventure and wonder no matter where I’m at.

This was a turning point for me.

turn·ing point

/ˈtərniNG ˌpoint/

noun: turning point; plural noun: turning points

"a time at which a decisive change in a situation occurs, especially one with beneficial results"

This one comment by my coach, seemingly small, helped me acknowledge that my positive attitude and perspective on life goes with me no matter where I’m at. Adrenaline rushed through my veins uplifting me with exhilarating energy. My realization from that coaching session was that wonder and beauty and adventure fill the places in which each of us live - we simply have to adopt the mindset to look for it. For now, I’m back in the USA experiencing American culture. One gain for me is having unhindered access to the Internet – which is critical to getting my business started. Another is to have more time with my family – for example, flying out to Santa Fe to celebrate my Aunt Ethel's 100th birthday! Priceless!

No matter where we are in the world, whenever we are faced with unbelievable circumstances, we can pivot and recreate our life’s purpose and passion.

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A turning point - a decisive change - has happened in my life's circumstances, and there are good things to come! Please continue to follow me this week as I get ready to open my new website on Friday, September 10th!  So many good adventures to come and I hope you’ll join me on this next journey to empower leaders with cultural competence!

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