Forbes called it an overused buzzword back in 2012 but it stuck around to become one of the most cliché words of the pandemic. If you feel a little bit allergic to the word “pivot,” you might be wondering….is there anything more that can possibly be said? 

I believe it’s worth looking at this topic through the unique lens of the millennials because many of them don’t realize they’ve bought into a mindset block that’s making them unhappy.

Millennials were raised to lean in but all the messaging around going after it was filtered through a backdrop of social media. As a result, many millennials carry an idealized picture of success that involves a linear model of ascension. 

Here’s the problem: the linear model of life with one job, one relationship, one faith, one home, and one identity from adolescence to old age is over.

In Life Is In the Transitions, author Bruce Feller describes how one of the hallmarks of the world we live in now is that it’s unpredictable. We can’t expect our careers, health, and relationships to unfold in a tidy template of prescribed stages. Yet millennials have been primed to expect a predictable path because that has been the norm for previous generations.

I’m often told by my millennial clients that certain milestones feel inaccessible to them. If they haven’t nailed down some form of home or condo ownership, the “right” career path, and a relationship with potential for the long term—they feel that they are not good at “adulting.” I see many of my millennial clients sidelined by a lot of angst because their life doesn’t fit into the prescribed plan.

When we look at our lives through a rigid lens of linear ascension it means we only perceive upward and forward moves as successful. Random events that steer us off course, lateral moves, or taking a few steps backward mean I’m falling behind or I don’t measure up.

In this mindset, you’ll see yourself as failing and not being where you are “supposed” to be. Even if a lateral or backward movement is desirable you might not see it as an option.

I think that many of us feel that there is a part of our life that feels off track from where it “should” be. So here is where our ability to “pivot” in terms of mindset away from expectations and assumptions can help us feel happier and continue to grow. That’s the immediate benefit of this kind of pivot—shift away from comparing yourself to an ideal that no longer exists and stop beating yourself up for not achieving it.

-Coach Liane

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