Pivoting vs. Picking

It’s amazing how many times I’ve heard the word “pivot” used to describe career paths and plans in the last couple of years. Either someone recently pivoted and has gone to grad school to learn more about the new direction, or they saw the direction they wanted to pivot and went to grad school to make that happen.


One of the great joys of school has long been the encounter with new people and ideas that change views and plans and careers. But sometimes it seems there’s a temptation to start pivoting and never stop: after all, tomorrow might bring some new piece of information that changes the direction we feel today.

Recently, I was listening to the latest episode of Seth Godin’s podcast, Akimbo. It’s called “You’re It: The power (and the myth) of getting picked.” In that show, Seth talks about how, in today’s economy, it makes no sense to wait around for a traditional gatekeeper to pick us: we have to raise our own hands and find our own way.

And that made me wonder: how much of our “pivoting” is really just turning from authority to authority, hoping they’ll pick us? What if we changed our attitude from “I tried something, and now I want to try something else” to “I noticed something, and here’s what I’m going to do about it”?

How many times do we have to “pivot” before we feel comfortable enough to pick ourselves?