Three Takeaways from Pivot by Jenny Blake

I just read Pivot by Jenny Blake. Jenny details six steps that people should consider as they make career moves. It is not written in a specific sense for coaches, but it can certainly be applied. Three quotes that resonated most with me were these:

Quote 1:

“In times of stress, our bodies are often among the first things we neglect, if not actively abuse. But your body is your most valuable asset during a pivot. With so much change, it is important to actively recruit all your natural feel-good chemicals – serotonin, oxytocin, dopamine, and endorphins – while minimizing spikes in cortisol, the stress hormone. This is time to guard against numbing out with food, alcohol, drugs, TV, video games, social media, or a smorgasbord of all of the above.”

Blake also detailed the importance of rigorous exercise to confront stress. Not just exercise itself. I classify a light jog as exercise in busy times, but this does not ignite the feel-good chemicals, as Blake calls them, like rigorous exercise.

Stress is a cause and by-product of any major decision or pivot in life. Improper management of that stress exacerbates the problem and can cause physical as well as emotional difficulty that filters into every area of your life. Being mindful of this possibility will force us to exercise even though it may appear that anything counter to directly confronting the position you want to leave or move toward.

Quote 2:

“Part 1: send a note describing what specific advice resonated, and the impact the conversation had on you. Part 2: Do something with their advice! Take action. Report back with a progress update on specific steps you took as a result of your talk.”

A thank you note in general is useful in networking. It is the second part of the thank you that I found most enlightening. Part two stands as a way to hold yourself accountable to applying new knowledge. Anyone could write a book with the many ideas that they have heard or come up with on their own, but that never materializes because they do not take action.

Quote 3:

“When my friend Alexis Grant and I were writing books at the same time, we set up a shared daily writing tracker. It was motivating to see each other’s entries and cheer each other on. A few months later we created a similar spreadsheet and invited people to join us for a challenge of writing 50,000 words in one month during the popular National Novel Writing Month held every November…Knowing that my peers would see a goose egg if I didn’t write motivated me to get a little bit done each day.”

This idea connected back to my article on six steps to improve basketball goal-setting. The idea that players are made in the off-season and teams are made during the season suggests that individuals cannot chase goals simultaneously. Individuals that do not surround themselves with teammates to gain motivation from and compete against are missing out. Sure, players improve in the off-season, but any good coach also builds individual skill during the season. Similarly, teams are tweaked all year round.  Putting individuals on an island to get better runs counter to the very idea of competition.

One other idea that crossed my mind as I was reading about making a pivot in a career. It is rare especially in the coaching field that a person enters a position with pessimism. There is a high amount of energy and excitement when first undertaking a new position. That said, the end of a tenure is usually the exact opposite. The vision and optimism eventually get manipulated and eroded by outside forces. By being aware of this possibility, coaches will be better prepared to move on faster and stronger.

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