A common question I get asked is how I’ve been able to pivot my career from pro basketball player to nonprofit founder to president of the G League, and my answer is simple.
We’re always changing. It only makes sense that our output or career path may change along with those internal changes.
That’s the thing about life… It’s a journey of constant evolution. The ability to pivot and make substantial changes isn’t just a skill we need to learn, it’s a necessity to succeed in our careers, personal relationships, or any capacity where we’re adapting from one to the next.
The power of pivoting
Everything in life has its season. We can take each of those seasons, learn from them, and use those lessons to transition into our next phase of life.
It’s easy to wonder what could’ve happened if something in our pasts had been different, “What if I did this instead?” or “If only this happened…” but the reality is… we are in the present right now. Are we going to let the past keep us stuck or are we going to allow it to present its lessons, so we can successfully move forward?
When I closed my chapter in the NBA, I didn’t abandon what I’d learned. I may not have been playing in the same capacity, but the qualities, discipline, and continuous drive to succeed have stuck with me throughout my career. Being able to transition as the President of the G-League has given me the incredible opportunity to use those skills and give back to something that has given so much to me.
There are a few people I admire for their ability to make drastic changes and pivots in their lives and careers.
One of them is Magic Johnson. Beyond his iconic basketball career, he’s also a successful businessman, real estate investor, and philanthropist.
Another is Junior Bridgeman, who similar to Magic Johnson pivoted into entrepreneurship and business ventures.
And there’s also Richard Parsons who pivoted into the entertainment industry as well as corporate leadership, government, and public service and the nonprofit sector.
Or take 50 Cent who had a profitable music career and transitioned into acting and directing, author and producer, and building brand partnerships.
Each of these men was able to move from one industry to another using what they’d gathered from each career previous. Each pivot was like a reinvention of themselves.
How to find your pivot point
If you’re in a phase in your life where you know a change or pivot needs to be made, then there are a few pointers I can share with you.
1. Recognize opportunity
More often than not, there’s a new opportunity right around the corner. Be sure to stay open to new ideas and possibilities around you.
2. Embrace flexibility
Flexibility is key when you’re looking to make a change. Not everything is going to go as expected. You can try to plan every move you make but being too rigid will only stifle your growth. When you’re flexible, it’ll only make adapting to new changes that much easier.
3. Lean into adaptation
When things don’t go to plan, embrace the lessons that come from the experience. Adapt and refine them to whatever move you make next.
Small change leads to big results
While some pivots can be 180 degrees, they don’t always need to be. You don’t need to go from teacher to accounting executive or coach to entrepreneur.
Pivots start small and continue to be incremental changes over time. I’ll use myself as an example. I didn’t leave basketball, I pivoted into a different realm of the same niche. If you’re feeling unfulfilled in something and are craving a change, I’d encourage you to ask yourself a few questions to determine what kind of pivot you’re looking for.
- Do I enjoy this industry?
- Have I outgrown this position?
- What would I like to be doing day to day?
Sometimes what we want still lies in the same industry, we just need to look a little deeper to find out our pivot point.
Growth and pivoting are part of everyone’s journey to success. If we expect to move forward and continue to achieve our goals, then we need to make incremental changes and pivots along the way. What pivots are you going to make?