5 Points on Pivoting

Basketball fans know the meaning of pivot—to turn while keeping part of a foot firmly planted on the floor in an effort to protect the ball from a defender or gain a better vantage point for passing or shooting.

Sometimes we encounter situations that force us to pivot. Life pivots require courage and a willingness to change.

Following are thoughts on pivoting:

Pivoting Through Challenges

All of us have faced, or will face, pivotal life challenges that seem insurmountable and require us to adjust our routines, thoughts, and actions. Perhaps a job loss sent you in an entirely different career direction. Or an unexpected medical situation, yours or a family member’s, required you to upend your schedule and put plans on hold.

Life challenges often necessitate a major pivot. How well you pivot determines your response to challenge. At first, pivoting may be jerky and accompanied by grousing. But as you master the art of the pivot, your motions smooth and you perfect silent acceptance and graceful maneuvering.

Pivoting and Balance

Often, illness or age diminish balance. At age 50, I remember my doctor handing me a brochure about maintaining good balance. I was insulted, because, at the time, I considered my physical abilities superior to balance issues. I also didn’t appreciate the implication that my age qualified me to receive “old people” brochures.

Several weeks later, I had the flu and suffered my first bout of vertigo. Suddenly, balance was a problem.

Most of the time, life pivots aren’t fun because they involve uncertainty and come without warning. Familiarity is a balance pole for many of us, and shifting or pivoting risks getting off balance. But life pivots produce personal growth and spur forward motion.

Another aspect of balance comes when you are a pivotal person at your job, in an organization, or to your family. If you are the central point, a person who is vitally important to others, the role may become overwhelming. Sometimes, we do this to ourselves, but often, others expect us to be the center pin around which everything revolves. Remember, it’s okay to take a break from time to time. The earth won’t stop spinning if you employ balance and train others for pivotal duties.

When Pivoting Isn’t Enough

Last week, I saw a serious auto accident. One of the cars ended up in the front yard of a business wedged between a tree and a wall. The front of the other car resembled an accordion. As this crash was in progress, the drivers surely attempted necessary preventative moves, yet the crash happened.

At times, life requires pivotal changes we didn’t expect and for which we are unprepared. And sometimes pivoting just isn’t enough. When you encounter these situations, don’t be too hard on yourself. Yes, you may have been careless or procrastinated, but learn from the consequences and determine to effect changes.

Oscillating vs. Pivoting

Do you remember oscillating fans of years past? The oscillating fan starts on one side, rotates 90 degrees, and then swings back to the starting point. These fans never make a total rotation, so if you are on the opposite side, you never catch a breeze.

Sometimes, we’d rather oscillate than pivot. It’s a lot easier to venture out a little and then return to home base than to make a total pivot. But there are times when a complete about-face is necessary.

What in your life needs a pivot? Your health, habits, or attitude? You know where you need a life pivot. Are you disciplined and determined enough to pivot instead of oscillate?

Spiritual Pivot

I often wish everyone understood the importance of a strong spiritual life. When hardship, grief, difficult decisions, and other life events require a significant pivot, faith is the guiding light in the darkness. In each trial, God leads and directs, if we are open and receptive.

“Whether you turn to the right or to the left, you will hear a voice saying, ‘This is the road! Now follow it’” (Isaiah 30:21 CEV).


Candy Arrington is a writer, blogger, speaker, and freelance editor. She often writes on tough topics with a focus on moving through, and beyond, difficult life circumstances. Candy has written hundreds of articles, stories, and devotionals published by numerous outlets including: Inspiration.org, Arisedaily.com, CBN.com, Healthgrades.com, Care.com, Focus on the Family, NextAvenue.org, CountryLiving.com, and Writer’s Digest. Candy’s books include Life on Pause: Learning to Wait Well (Bold Vision Books), When Your Aging Parent Needs Care (Harvest House), and AFTERSHOCK: Help, Hope, and Healing in the Wake of Suicide (B&H Publishing Group).

To receive Candy’s blog, Forward Motion, via email, go to https://candyarrington.com/blog/ and scroll to the bottom of the page to sign up.



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