I’m not much of a football fan. I know, that’s a scary thing to admit this time of year. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy football. I’m just not willing to invest the time to watch any team consistently. But that’s just me.
While I don’t watch football often, I always love watching the highlight reels. And hands down, my favorite highlight plays are the ones where a player runs almost the entire length of the field evading what seems to be the entire totality of the other team on his way to the end zone.
I think the reason that I love it so much is that I see so many similarities between that player making his way up the field and the way that we have dodge, spin and pivot our way through the craziness of corporate life. And just like the best players, the best in our business are often the ones who can pivot better than anyone else.
So to go along with your Saturday morning football fix, here are seven habits of the people who pivot the best:
1. Don’t get overcommitted to one direction
You will never be able to pivot if you’re not open to changing your direction. Get too committed to your preset path and you’ll get tackled every time. The best are always ready to change direction when the situation calls for it.
2. Use your teammates
One of the things I noticed about those highlight reels is that the person with the ball is rarely alone. Along the way, they get some pretty key blocks that make all that pivoting possible.
3. Mix speed with agility
Speed is great, but just being fast is never enough. The best in the game understand how to vary their speed with the situation and to make sure that they’re never going so fast that they lose their agility.
4. Always look three steps ahead
The best in the game manage to both be completely present in the moment and yet always be looking three steps ahead so that they are always prepared for what’s coming next.
5. Use your head first, legs second
Being great at pivoting has less to do with the physical then with the mental. The best understand that it isn’t about just running. The pivot starts in the mind.
6. Keep your cool when things go sideways
Perhaps one of the thing that separates the great from everyone else is that they manage to create these game changing opportunities at the very moments that everything looks hopeless. But when things go sideways, they don’t lose their cool – they just look for opportunities that are emerging elsewhere.
7. Always lean forward
But above all else, the greats all share one trait. They’re always leaning forward. They keep their balance and they push on. The minute they hesitate, the second they pull back, they know it’s over. So they lean in and keep on going. And that’s why they’re great!
I hope this seven “pivot habits” inspire you to pivot in your own career.