It’s Okay to Pivot in Your Career. So I Am.

Last summer I was inspired to write a weekly newsletter called Badass Grad and I was super-pumped about sharing everything I’d learned about the mind / body connection to help students as they entered the workforce. We all know these euphoric early days of a grand idea, right? Less than 72 hours later, Badass Grad was accepting subscriptions and I was applauding my ability to, as Jenny Blake would say, “Make sh*t happen.”

Long story short…I sent three “weekly” newsletters in six months.

At the time, it felt like I failed. I knew there was something about Badass Grad that didn’t quite work, but this was my “brand” so I figured I needed to stick with it. Problem is, I don’t just help new grads with their career. I get emails, calls, Tweets, and / or Facebook messages about career-related stuff all day long and, on the average, 70% of it ISN’T from new grads. This makes me scratch my head a lot. I want to help more people, but I’ve painted myself into a tiny corner. (The downside of personal branding = personal pigeonholing.)

When I stopped distracting myself from this issue long enough to really think about it, the answer was clear: I was unconsciously sabotaging Badass Grad because I don’t want to be exclusive to grads anymore. Students will always be my first love, but I’m going to expand the circle a bit over the coming weeks and months.

There, I said it.

For a good while I sat on this, mentally wrestling with with idea of putting it out there, but one thing always held me back: I didn’t want to come off as a flip-flopper. It’s election season so we should all be well-versed in this term. Evidentially if you’re a politician, changing your mind about an issue is one of the worst fallacies you can commit these days.

But what if you’ve just evolved naturally into a new place?

Personally, I wouldn’t want to elect anyone who latched on to something and bullishly defended it – not because it’s right – but because they didn’t want to appear weak. And yet, that’s exactly what I was doing.

Then I was assigned to write an article for Monster on how to raise capital in this economy. As I was interviewing a series of entrepreneurs who had successfully navigated the angel and VC maze, I kept hearing one word over and over: pivot. Turns out, pivoting is that period of time where a business is trying to figure itself out. It’s when you throw stuff at the wall to see what sticks. When you test things, tweak things, break things, and test again.

Pivoting is so common investment firms actually incorporate it into their planning.

Suddenly, not “having all the answers all the time” didn’t feel so scary anymore. It’s perfectly normal to take a step backwards (or two) in your career once in a while as long as you’re still facing forward.

You’re not failing.

You’re pivoting.

And there’s a difference.

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