Embrace the Pivot
Building a business is always a huge risk. The unknowns are never-ending while the money… it’s just never there. You work long hours, forget about your friends, and lose your temper. You try and ignore the downside and push ahead in order to achieve your goals and push a product to market.
And then the unthinkable happens. You realize you’re going in completely the wrong direction.
It happens all the time, not just in business, but in life. You wake up one morning, look in the mirror and think, “holy crap, what am I doing?” These are defining moments and shouldn’t be taken lightly. How you chose to move forward could save your business, your relationships and your sanity.
Welcome to the pivot.
There comes a time in every person’s life, especially the entrepreneur’s, when you need to stop what you’re doing, throw away a good portion of the work and investment you’ve made, and pivot your goals in a new direction. It’s never easy, it’s rarely cheap, and the risks are huge. But in your heart of hearts, you know it’s not just the right thing to do, it’s the only thing to do. So you leap.
Pivots happen for a wide variety of reasons. For some companies, it’s a way to differentiate. Pivoting enables them to focus on a core service or idea. It’s how businesses establish a distinctive and disruptive perspective that changes perceived norms and expectations. For others, it’s a fundamental wake-up call. An, “A-ha” moment when you realize you’re looking at things from the wrong angle. Either way, it’s an opportunity to put your brain into gear and leave a mark.
It takes balls to execute a pivot properly. But more importantly, it takes creativity. Breaking from convention and the expected makes a business, and a life, memorable. It’s what innovation is all about. Remember, this is a pivot, not an entirely different direction. You’re not reinventing the wheel, you’re simply making it more effective. You’re doing what you’re suppose to be doing.
How We’re Pivoting
As you might expect, CIK Marketing is in the midst of a pivot. For the past two years, our company has provided a wide variety of online marketing services across a number of industries. It’s been great, but by no means was it compelling. We did good work, but we were missing the point. We weren’t passionate about what we were doing.
When you’re passionate about something, it shows. It changes the way you approach problems, how you implement solutions, and how you communicate change. A few weeks back I was feeling pretty emotionally maxed out. I’d run out of steam and needed to get some perspective. I hopped on a plane and visited a friend I hadn’t seen in a long time. While I was there, we spent not one, but two days at a local art festival.
Now, I love art. I don’t understand most of it, but I appreciate photography, paintings, graphics, the lot. My friend, on the other hand, is a fine art major, a motions graphic wizard; needless to say, this was his thing. While I looked at paintings, he devoured them, detail by detail. He analyzed, and critiqued; I smiled and nodded. For him, this was natural and exciting and inspiring. I didn’t have a clue what he was talking about (and to be honest, I stopped listening come day two), but it’s pretty amazing to be able to experience someone when they’re engaged in something they’re passionate about. It’s refreshing and completely unpretentious.
Which got me thinking… what happened to my passion?
I’ve made a lot of mistakes in life and in business. I’ve done what was expected and become complacent about what matters, what I was passionate about. It had all become work – my business, relationships, waking up in the morning – I was missing the point. I was simply nodding and smiling instead of appreciating the details.
So I’ve pivoted. Perhaps a bit sharply, but ultimately, I needed to shake myself out of this funk. The past six months have been hellish, and I imagine the next six will be full of even more hiccups. But I think I’m back on track. A year from now I hope to be in a very different place. More focused, less frustrated. Mind you, pivoting hasn’t come without it’s share of problems. In fact, it’s opened a whole new galaxy of them. But that’s the cost of being authentic. If they’re meant to be fixed, they’ll be fixed. That’s what pivots are for.
So expect some changes from CIK in the next few months. Starting with the name of our blog. In the past, the CIK blog has focused on informative articles about online marketing. That will remain one of our aims, but more importantly it will focus on the pursuit of our passion. It will be about the content of my life.
So don’t just nod and smile your way through your life. You need to appreciate the finer details.