“You’re fired!” Now what? Job loss isn’t fun, but it’s also not the end of the world. Here’s what you need to know. Read More...

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At some point, there’s a chance that you’ll end up facing job loss.

Whether you are laid off, or whether you are fired, this can be a very challenging time. You have to worry about your finances, figure out what’s next, and hope that your job loss doesn’t negatively impact your search for a new job.

Being fired is a more serious situation than being laid off, unfortunately. The implication is that you did something very wrong — even if you feel like you didn’t deserve to be fired.

If you are facing job loss, this episode can help you figure out how to get back on your feet.

Concepts

  • The difference between being fired and being laid off.
  • How to find out why you were fired.
  • Illegal reasons for your job loss.
  • Do you qualify for unemployment benefits?
  • Tips for handling the situation when you are fired.
  • How to review your finances in the face of a job loss.
  • Tips for reaching out to your network to find a new job.
  • How to respond when you are being discriminated against or harassed.

This week’s “do-nows” focus on what you can take care of now — ahead of a job loss. Be on the lookout for discrimination, and always have your resume updated, just in case you are suddenly fired.

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Resources

NoloIllegal reasons for firing employees
US News10 things to do after being fired
Hosted byHarlan Landes and Miranda Marquit
Produced byadulting.tv
Edited and mixed bySteve Stewart
Music bybensound.com

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Stop leeching off everyone around you, playing video games on the couch, and getting your friends to pay for drinks. Get a job. Read More...

It’s a harsh reality that life is harsh.

Life is many things, but it’s not free nor easy. From what you see on TV, it doesn’t seem like it. But I can tell you from experience that, at some point or another, most of us must buckle down and get a job.

The 2008 housing crisis and subsequent “Great Recession” hasn’t been easy on most of us. Plus, most of us don’t have the same life goals. But the gig economy has opened new doors and opportunities. Besides, it isn’t fair to leech off others.

How do you know when it’s time to grow up and get a job?

When you’re in high school and you want stuff beyond food, clothing and shelter, you should grow up and get a job.

“When I was your age,” we had to get our own job if we wanted more than three square meals, a roof over our heads, and basic clothes. Okay, that’s not entirely true. The truth, however, is that if we wanted anything extra special, such as a car, a phone (attached to a wall), or spending money, most of us had to get a job.

I may sound like an old crank, but there’s nothing like building skills and a work ethic at a young age. Plus, being financially independent relieves you of having to ask for permission to do certain things.

When you leave home, you should grow up and get a job.

For most of us, the first time we’re “on our own” is in college. College isn’t cheap these days. No longer can you put yourself through school in four years with a part-time or even full-time job. Likewise, it’s harder to put yourself or you and a partner through retirement on your own.

Don’t leech mom and dad’s life savings to have a life. Any way you can contribute helps, if only as a good faith effort.

When you’re living with mom and dad only because you need the money, you should grow up and get a job.

There are numerous reasons you might be living with your mom and dad when you’re over the age of 25. If the only reason you’re living with mom and dad after age 25 is because you don’t have a job, you need to get a job.

I’m sure you’ll say you’ve been trying. But have you? Really? Have you also tried creating your own gig in today’s tech-driven economy?

When someone else is paying your bills and you’re old enough to not get irritated when carded, you should grow up and get a job.

When you have a masters degree in being a professional student, you should grow up and get a job.

College was some of the best years of my life. Even back then, there were students on their fifth and six years of undergraduate school.

Some students can’t stop colleging. I know someone who is 40 and has been going to college since high school graduation 22 years ago. He still doesn’t have a degree, nor a full-time job.

This is not acceptable. Go to college. Get a degree. Get a job. That’s how it works. If you’ve been in college longer than a doctor and you’re not a doctor, get a job.

When you’re not working for your dreams and goals, you should grow up and get a job.

If most of your days are spent couch surfing or playing Uncharted, it’s time to get a job. It’s easy to get distracted with the easy, here and now, bright and shiny, but those don’t give us a sense of purpose or pride.

No one ever said, “I won Pokémon!” on their death bed.

When you contribute little or nothing to society, you should grow up and get a job.

We’re put on this earth to give, contribute, and help. If you’re capable and not contributing to even one other person, get a J.O.B.

When you talk big and don’t walk big, you should grow up and get a job.

If you’re over the age of 25, without a job and still “working on the band” or “going to break into show biz soon,” get a job. Don’t stop working towards your dream. Never stop that!

Just stop leeching off others to fund your dreams. They have their own dreams to fund.

When your friends have jobs and you don’t, you should grow up and get a job.

If, suddenly, you look around and have no one to play with, it’s time to get a job. Life isn’t a race, but it’s helpful to sometimes gauge your progress against your peers.

When my partner and I noticed that our peers were getting married, buying houses, and having kids, we realized our never-ending weekend partying wasn’t taking us the direction we wanted to go.

If all your peers have jobs and you don’t, they’re not your peers anymore.

If you can’t hold down a job, you should grow up and get a job… and keep it.

We all go through rough patches.

It’s hard to go straight from school to a job you like and that likes you back. Eventually, we need to keep a job. The year after I graduated college, I had five different jobs in my small hometown. I realized I’d need to move to a bigger city to find a job and salary that was satisfactory. It was scary but necessary.

If you’re constantly between jobs, it’s time to do what it takes to get a job that sticks.

This isn’t a warm and fuzzy article. It’s tough love. The better you are, the better the people around you are, and the better we all are. It’s in everyone’s best interest to for you to level up.

If we all give more value, we all become more valuable.

Now, go get a job.

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Are you having a career crisis already? That’s probably because you’re on the wrong career path. Here’s how to connect with yourself — and the career you’re meant to have. Read More...

It’s cruel problem to have today: how can an 18-year-old (or 25-year-old) decide what they want to do for the rest of their life?

Anyone who’s like people that I know in their 30s and 40s want a career path change. And it’s not uncommon for someone in their 20s to job hop.

That moment when I changed my mind about my career.

I was a C-student without any direction in high school. When I graduated, the advice was to go to college even if you didn’t know what you wanted to do. Undecided major? You’ve got two years general education to figure it out.

By my junior year in college I was a C-student in Exercise Physiology and an Honors Student in beer pong. I graduated and found a career in retail, which gave me a nice salary for 70 to 90 hours of work each week.

It wasn’t until I was 27 and found a home in financial services that I started to feel like I had a future and that I was on the right career path. Recently, I left my career in finance to grow my own business with my life and business partner. (But it’s still related to finance.)

I understand what it’s like to have to decide what you want to do with your life — only to realize later that you want to do something else. Lucky for me, what I’m doing now is a version of what I was doing before. But it was still stressful trying to decide what I wanted to do in my 20s and then leaving comfort and security in my 40s.

Having floundered to find a career and then versioning to a new one, I have thoughts on how best to choose what you want to do for the next five to 10 years of your life.

Meditate.

My first piece of advice for everything is to meditate. Yes, it’s become so common it’s almost passé. The truth is that in this crazy, over-connected, over-worked, and over-scheduled world, it’s hard to get in touch with our inner-selves. I can’t beat Miranda’s take on the benefits of meditation; I’ll just add that in addition to managing stress and relaxing, meditation gives us an opportunity to hear our inner-voice. Many of today’s most successful people credit instincts or gut-feelings for their successes.

Meditate on the idea of your career path. You might be surprised at rises to the top of your mind.

Check your feelings.

A supplement to mediation that my husband and I do most mornings is what we call “I Feelz.” We each take turns expressing three of our current feelings.

Before we agreed that I would leave my secure, retirement-funding, benefit-providing, regular paying job, I wanted to be sure that we were both 100% on board and prepared for this life change. We started this exercise then and continue it to this day.

This isn’t always as easy as it seems. We dig deep sometimes to tap into our feelings. Once our feelings are expressed, we can address them accordingly. Likewise, it keeps both our business and personal relationship transparent.

To use this exercise to choose or change your career path, take time every day express to someone else or write down emotions you’re feeling about your current state or prospective future. Be specific, rather than general. Rather than saying, “I feel good,” say “I feel good because of X.”

Use these feelings to inspire your career decisions.

Journal.

There are as many ways to journal as there are to meditate. An applicable journaling style that I practiced before I took my leap from W-2 to 1099 is like the advice of nutritionists for those who struggle to lose weight.

Keep your journal with you throughout the day. I used the Notes app on my phone. As they happen, write down the things to which you respond positively and those to which you respond negatively.

If you see a person on TV or IRL with a job or career you think you might like, write it down. As thoughts on jobs and careers come to you, activities you like and don’t like, write them in the appropriate place and designate them as positive or negative.

Over time, you’ll notice patterns. These patterns can guide you towards what you like doing and are good at doing.

Consider the career path less traveled.

Most high school students go straight to college. Most adults looking for a mid-life career change get an MBA or other advanced degree. I support these decisions for those who have considered all options, including less expensive and less time-consuming options:

  • Consider a paid-apprenticeship to earn as you learn valuable skills. This is a great way to offset education costs and increase your chances of having a job when you’ve completed your learning.
  • Consider certifications. Certifications cost a lot less than degrees and take much less time to earn. This is especially helpful if you’re flush with neither cash nor time. A friend of ours recently went from being a tax attorney to becoming a Certified Financial Planner. At about $4,200, this saved him about 12 months and $55,800 over getting an advanced degree.

Finally, if going back to school is inevitable, consider strategically taking courses at a community college. With the escalating costs of college, more employers understand the value of associate degrees and taking a few courses to enhance one’s skills.

Coupling these exercises with the standard career path seeking advice of talking with mentors, job shadowing, taking career tests, and doing informational interviews can help you get in touch with your true self.

As we all eventually learn, job titles and salaries provide temporary satisfaction. It’s fulfilling our highest purpose and being our truest selves that offer real meaning in life.

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Just because everyone’s in love with entrepreneurship right now, it doesn’t mean you need to feel bad about your real job. There’s no shame in that game. Read More...

The only way to be truly free is to start your own business and quit the 9-to-5 grind.

Have you heard that before?

It’s become a common theme in recent years. In some circles, the idea that you must become an entrepreneur with the goal of quitting your traditional job is so prevalent that there’s a patina of shame attached to having a real job.

I love working from home. I wouldn’t give it up. I haven’t had a real job in more than a decade — and wouldn’t trade a second of it. But that doesn’t mean that my path is right for everyone.

Before you decide that you need to do everything in your power to build a business that allows you to escape the rat race, stop and think about whether or not it’s really the way for you to go.

If you decide a traditional career is the right path for you, don’t let someone else shame you into quitting your real job.

What if you like your real job?

There are plenty of people who like their jobs. And there’s nothing wrong with that. Most of us just want to feel like we’re doing something meaningful and that we’re appreciated. If you have a job that lets you do that, and you like it, there’s no reason to give it up for a freelance lifestyle or the uncertainty of trying to establish a company from scratch.

Take a look at your career. Do you like what you do? If you don’t, can you retrain to do something that you like better? Do you feel like you’re moving forward? If so, there’s no shame in having that real job. Stick to it, and be proud of what you do.

The 9-to-5 lifestyle has perks.

Entrepreneurs and lifestyle business gurus might not believe it, but there are perks associated with a 9-to-5 lifestyle.

First of all, it’s hard to underestimate the joy of a great benefits package. Health insurance, when not subsidized by your employer, can be quite expensive. I know. I spent 10 years paying for my own health insurance. Now, my new employer, Student Loan Hero, offers a monthly stipend for health and wellness. It’s not quite the same thing, but it’s a total upgrade from my previous complete lack of benefits.

Plus, when you contribute to an employer’s retirement plan, there is a chance that you will end up with a match. Now that’s a perk. Free money, growing in a tax-advantaged account.

Another perk of a real job is the fact that you can clock out and leave your work at work, rather than bringing it home all the time. I know folks who just want to turn it off, enjoying family, relaxation, and friends when they get home from work. That’s harder to do when you have your own business. In fact, I have to make myself step away from the work. There are days I find myself daydreaming about a real job and what it would be like to just clock out.

Depending on your employer, you might receive other perks, like:

  • Paid time off for vacation and sick days
  • Child care stipend
  • Gym membership or discount
  • Access to company car and/or phone

Enjoying the perks of a regular job is nothing to be ashamed of. If you like it, prefer the convenience, and just like knowing what’s going on and when it’s happening, stick with the job. Don’t feel like you have to give all that up to meet someone else’s idea of what you “should” do in order to achieve financial freedom.

Understand the dark side of self-employment.

There's No Shame in Having a Real Job

Before you make your decision, make sure you consider the dark side of self-employment. I love working from home. I value the freedom and flexibility too much. But there are times that it can be stressful, and I dream of simpler times.

When you’re self-employed, everything’s on you. If you don’t work, you don’t get paid. You need to be on top of your game and work even when you don’t feel like it. There’s no calling in sick when you’re on your own.

You might also be at the mercy of a client if you are in a position where you need the money. I remember times when I put up with all sorts of shit from clients. I needed the money. Today, I don’t have that issue. But it took some time to get here. If you’re going to be self-employed, you need to be prepared to work hard and sometimes do stuff you don’t want to do.

Finances can get dicey as well. You’re in charge of your taxes, including both ends of the payroll tax. Income isn’t always the same each month, so you have to be able to plan for down months. From putting together your own benefits package to figuring your taxes, you need to be ready. Don’t forget about the overhead that comes if you get an office offsite and if you hire someone to work for you as you expand.

While there is no way I would give up my situation, there are times I struggle. Go in with your eyes open if you decide to ditch the real job and join those of us in our alternate reality.

Don’t let anyone tell you they have the ONE solution.

There’s nothing wrong with being self-employed and ditching the world of traditional employment. However, there’s also nothing wrong with sticking with your real job if it works well for your situation and lifestyle. As long as you are careful to plan for the future and save up, a real job can be one way to ensure that you meet your needs.

Figure out what works best for you, whether you just want a side gig for a little extra cash while maintaining your day job, or whether you hope to eventually move on from the daily grind.

But don’t make your decision based on feelings of shame that you aren’t doing what you’re “supposed” to do.

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Entrepreneurship is the new Big Thing. But is it really your ticket to financial freedom and living the good life? Read More...

The best way to support Adulting.tv is to subscribe and leave us an honest review. Thank you!

It seems like everywhere you look, someone is touting the value of entrepreneurship as the key to long-term financial independence.

Thanks to technology and the popularity of a number of books and websites, it’s possible that you think that you’re ready to be the next Zuckerberg.

But is that a realistic expectation? Are you really cut out to be an entrepreneur?

And is entrepreneurship all that it’s cracked up to be?

Concepts

  • How much money do small businesses actually make?
  • Is entrepreneurship right for everyone?
  • What traits make a good entrepreneur?
  • What is entrepreneurship, anyway?
  • The reality of trying to squeeze a side hustle into your life.
  • Who is a good candidate for starting a business?
  • Brief intro to the Meyers-Briggs test, and what it says about the ideal entrepreneur.
  • How to get started if you are serious about starting a business.
  • Tips for creating your business, a little bit at a time.

Listen for our “do-nows” for specific actions you can take to get started with a new business today. We’ll also answer a listener question about how to budget when you have the irregular income of an entrepreneur.

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Resources

BloombergSmall businesses don’t make that much money
EntrepreneurTraits of entrepreneurs
Hosted byHarlan Landes and Miranda Marquit
Produced byadulting.tv
Edited and mixed bySteve Stewart
Music bybensound.com

Like what you’ve heard?

Join other #adults who receive free weekly updates.


For a limited time you’ll receive our new book, The Best Bank Accounts for Adults, when you sign up!

It’s not all rainbows and unicorns when you work from home. Here’s how to stay focused on what really matters when you don’t have a boss breathing down your neck. Read More...

When you start working from home, the future looks paved with gold.

No commute, no pesky coworkers, and no distractions. Right?

Unfortunately, reality always rears its ugly head. While you may have more free time on paper, it’s easy to let those hours slip through your fingers when you become your own boss. The fear of underperforming starts to disappear, and by the time you realize how much your productivity has slipped it could be too late.

Rather than learning the hard way, nip those lazy tendencies in the bud. Here are three strategies for staying focused when working from home, cobbled together from over 10 years of experience as a freelance journalist and blogger:

Analyze your distractions.

In the 13 months I’ve been working from home, I’ve found a few repeat distractions: I can’t work if it’s messy around me, I need to sit in a real chair (not the couch), and I can’t be distracted by conversation.

Your distractions might be different. Maybe you need total silence. Maybe working too close to the kitchen inspires too many snack breaks. If you need silence, get noise-cancelling headphones. Move your home office further from the kitchen.

Everyone has different preferences, so analyze how you feel working in various spaces. Even though I feel most comfortable working in bed, it’s not where I’m most productive. I have to sit at a desk or table to feel like I’m working.

Use technology to help you.

Use Technology to Stay Focused

I’m attached to my phone 24/7, and I recognize that it’s my biggest barrier to productivity. I try to leave it in a different room when I’m working or keep it out of sight (right now it’s behind my laptop where I can’t see it). Some people also turn their WiFi off to avoid the lure of surfing the internet.

Technology can either help you stay on track or derail you entirely. If you’re interested in leveling up, here are some of my favorite apps and tools:

  • StayFocusd. I use this app to limit how much time I can spend on Facebook and other addictive sites. You can allot yourself a certain amount of time for different websites, keeping you abreast of your daily news feeds without allowing yourself to drown in them.
  • Kill News Feed. This app blocks my Facebook news feed so I don’t go down the black hole of updates. This is mostly so I can only use Facebook to update my blog’s Facebook page and check in the professional groups I’m part of. It doesn’t stop you from Facebook stalking your ex, though, so I use it conjunction with StayFocusd.
  • Simple Blocker. This is another app that blocks any website you want (Reddit and Wikipedia are two other big culprits for me). You can enter as many websites as you like.
  • Tomato Timer. I love using the Pomodoro Method (25 minutes on task with five-minute breaks) and this website simplifies the process. It’s much better than setting a Google “five-minute timer” over and over.
  • Trello. Trello is one of my favorite to-do apps. You create cards for each task and can assign specific due dates, upload documents, and even transfer them to other people. I have a variety of Trello boards for writing assignments, working on my blog, creating my course, and more. I have one Trello board that I use for organizing article ideas that I can use when pitching clients.

One of my low-tech standbys for staying focused when working from home is an old-fashioned paper planner. At the beginning of each month, I write down what I have to do that month and assign those tasks to specific work days. That way, I know on each day what I’m supposed to do.

Find an accountability partner.

One of the biggest reasons I stay focused is that I have an accountability group I check in with daily. We share what we did the day before and our goals for today.

One day I was feeling sick and lazy and reported that I hadn’t completed any of my goals. One of my accountability partners immediately responded and ask what he could do to help me reach my goals. He asked what was holding me back. I felt so guilty that I completed all my tasks as soon as I signed off.

When you work from home, you likely don’t have anyone standing over your shoulder wondering why you’re looking at Buzzfeed listicles or cat videos instead of working. Finding an accountability group can help you re-create the atmosphere of a boss monitoring your productivity. If you do get stuck on a project, you’ll also have someone to brainstorm with.

My group uses Slack to check in. It’s easier to use than text and can be done on your phone or your desktop.

Working from home offers amazing advantages, but you do need to stay focused. What are your best strategies for staying on task when you work from home?

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College isn’t just about book learning and boozy weekend fun. Use this time to find powerful connections and learn practical skills. Read More...

Education for its own sake is admirable. It can expand your worldview, enhance your perspective, and sharpen your mind. It can even make you a happier, more content person.

But will it land you a job?

As important as the college experience can be to developing skills necessary to kick off a successful career, an impressive GPA just isn’t enough to get you hired. You need experience – practical experience.

You want to get more out of your time at school than a diploma and a massive hangover.

Network to make those personal connections.

Experienced career-climbers aren’t lying when they say, “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” While I like to think that I’m an awesome and qualified person, the reality is that it doesn’t matter if others don’t know that you are. So many of the jobs I’ve gotten over the years have been due to a personal connection. Someone was willing to step up for me and tell their own peeps that I am awesome.

I wasn’t born knowing all the right people – I developed those ties over the years. I networked through my student newspaper, which brought in alumni to talk about their careers. When older students graduated, they became a new lifeline that we could use to find jobs.

That same wisdom applies to professors, who may have been leaders in their field at one time. A few friends of mine got their first jobs out of college because a professor recommended them to former colleagues.

Talk to career services.

Most colleges have a career services department designed to help you find internships and secure employment. Some have email lists where they send out potential opportunities. Others can sit with you personally to determine the best path.

Remember, these people are typically very busy. They have an obligation to help, but you may need to prod them a bit to find the opportunities you’re looking for.

Don’t give up. Be persistent. Career services have an interest in helping you receive placement, so they’ll be a good resource.

Get resume and interview help.

You Must Do This In College to Help Your Future Career

While you’re at career services, check in and get a little resume and interview help. Most schools offer these services and you should take advantage of them. Your fees pay for it anyway.

A poor resume can doom your chances at finding a job, even if you have great credentials. Shaky interview skills will do the same – even if your resume is a work of art. As someone who’s hired interns and conducted interviews, I’ve seen how a stand-out candidate can lose all validity over the course of an interview.

Learning great interview skills in college is more important than acing your econ final, so work hard to develop that skill. You can also practice with your friends and use common interview questions as your guide.

Shop your resume around and gather feedback from as many people as possible. You never know who might catch the one typo you missed.

Find internships.

I’m not sure where I would be in my career if it weren’t for all the internships I had during college. Internships are part of the journalism culture, but they’re available in almost any discipline. Some are paid, but many are done just for college credit.

While it sucks to work for free, don’t let that discourage you. Consider it an investment in your future career. Just a week ago, I was talking to a prospective client about a summer internship I had. Coincidentally, he had been one of the top editors when I was there. That common ground proved my credibility, even though it’s been six years since the internship concluded.

You can find internship listings online, but it never hurts to talk to a company that you admire. Even if they don’t have a formal internship program, they may be willing to make an exception for a passionate young professional.

College isn’t just about book learning and boozing it up on the weekends. It’s also about developing practical skills and connections that can help you with a solid start in life.

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Feeling unmotivated? Wish you enjoyed your work more? Here’s how to battle burnout and find more meaning. Read More...

The best way to support Adulting.tv is to subscribe and leave us an honest review. Thank you!

Are you feeling the effects of burnout? We all feel this way sometimes. Whether you are dealing with a challenging situation emotionally or physically, you can experience burnout and end up feeling as though you aren’t ready to accomplish anymore. Battling burnout is a key to being an adult, and moving forward with your life.

In this episode, we talk about battling burnout and doing what it takes to re-motivate yourself and re-commit yourself to what matters in your life.

You don’t want to be “that person” at work that drags everyone down with your bad attitude, and you also don’t want to feel so much burnout that you can’t enjoy your personal life with your loved ones. Once you learn more about battling burnout, you might be surprised at how much better your life can be.

Concepts

  • What causes burnout in life?
  • Ways that burnout manifests in your life.
  • How burnout can impact your personal life.
  • How to identify the signs that you are on the path to experiencing burnout.
  • Life realities that can lead to burnout.
  • Tips for battling burnout and becoming motivated again.
  • How to evaluate your values so you can decide what needs to be discarded.
  • Tips for recognizing the value in what you do so that you don’t become burned out.
  • Reasons to focus living your life now.

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To get Adulting delivered directly to your device, subscribe using Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Google Play, or your app of choice.

Join the Friends of Adulting! Please leave an honest review on Apple Podcasts. We would really appreciate the feedback!

Resources

Psychology TodaySigns of burnout

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Whether in love or your career, whether you control it or not, you’ll probably pivot at least once in your life. Read More...

At some point during my third year of college, I started to suspect something wasn’t right. The path I set out for myself for the prior six years wasn’t quite satisfying me. A young man of many interests, the prospect of spending a lifetime focusing on being the best I could possibly be at one calling — teaching music — became unappealing.

Sure, teaching music is a wonderful path. The lasting impact teachers have on hundreds of lives is incomparable to most other roles and careers. I, however, felt strongly at that time that by following that typical career path and by putting as much of my life into my job as I expected would be necessary, I wouldn’t have the kind of fulfillment I was looking for.

My first major pivot.

While in college, I pivoted my approach. After several attempts to fit a minor course of study into my schedule, I settled on a minor focused on nonprofit. It was a pivot that I now see as a good move because it helped shape the projects I take on today and gave me more paths towards living a life of doing important things.

The pivot is the key to not just success but survival. If you’re a professional athlete, focus on sharpening your broadcast skills so you have an opportunity for a “second act” once you can no longer compete — especially if you aren’t one of the few superstar athletes who could publish a memoir people would buy.

If you run a business, a pivot could be revolutionary. It’s a fundamental change in the nature or strategy of the company. Nintendo is known for video games and gaming technology, but the company launched in the 19th century making vacuum cleaners and playing cards. The executives saw the birth of a trend very early on, and in 1966, turned to video games and never looked back.

It was a massively successful pivot.

There’s nothing more pivotal than the life of a serial entrepreneur. Take one business to a certain point, exit that business through a sale or merger, and move onto the next project. In the same vein, I’ve seen people develop successful businesses, and once they’ve gone as far as they’d like to go, they’ve begun their next business selling other entrepreneurs on the ideas that led them to their initial success. “You, too, can be a success, just like me! I’ll tell you how. Buy my e-book and take my online course!”

Adaptability is the key to a successful pivot.

Pivot Your Way to a Better Life

Adaptability is one of the most important adult skills. If you’re too set in your ways and not amenable to change, you can be guaranteed that life will pass you by, and if you’re after happiness, it may prove to be elusive. You’ve got to be paying attention to today’s trends, predicting the future, and have a keen awareness of your skills.

Tim Tebow’s now a baseball player. A podcast company called Odeo became Twitter. Jessica Alba went from actor to entrepreneur — and if that’s not a complete pivot, at least it’s diversification.

Pivots in your personal life can be even more monumental. Moving out of a toxic relationship could be the best pivot for your long-term health and happiness. The list of famous relationship pivots is too long to include here.

Pivot successfully with five steps.

Here’s how you can prepare for a successful pivot, and you can expect to have at least one major pivot in your life — more if you want to be as agile as possible, increasing your changes for success and happiness.

Are you ready to make a pivot in your life or career? These are five important steps.

Pivot Your Way to a Better Life

1. Focus on being a generalist with as much enthusiasm as a specialist.

Take the time to explore your interests and learn about related areas. Although people no longer tend to work for the same company from the moment they can work to the moment they retire (or die), there still is a strong trend to stay in the same field. Often, a strong career requires a highly specialized degree, and that education takes a long time.

But a great education prepares students for adapting to the world, whatever it might bring. Use time in college to experiment with different paths, especially if you are talented in or passionate about a variety of fields. Gain experience working in areas you wouldn’t normally consider. Practice solving problems of all types.

There’s a danger when people become experts or become immersed in a narrow field. So many mortgage brokers — trained to be nothing more and without other marketable skills — found themselves out of work during the credit crunch period of the last recession.

Multi-faceted experience gives you a level of employability first of all, and beyond that, the potential to take your income into your own hands through building your own business, consulting, freelancing, or otherwise honing in on entrepreneurship.

2. Open your mind to new ideas.

It’s possible you discover an important pivot by saying yes to interesting opportunities. While it’s important not to distract yourself from the job you are doing, closing yourself off to signs that the world is changing around you will be disastrous.

Find interesting people — or anyone doing work in something that interests you — and ask questions. Get acquainted. Learn from them.

3. Guide yourself by a broad vision.

Corporate mission statements are often specific, and direct a company towards the type of work they do. Sometimes these mission statements change, but the overall vision remains the same.

Your vision should be broad. What kind of world do you want to live in? The answer to that can be your vision. And when you pivot, even if it’s from one career path to another, it can still fit in with your vision of the future.

But don’t feel bad if it doesn’t. You’re allowed to change your mind. You’re allowed to follow a path that has no relation to the journey you started. That’s an inherent benefit of being an adult.

4. Predict the future.

Easy right? It’s not impossible. You don’t have to be a fortune teller to get it right. You just have to pay attention to the little details, and have a good grasp on human behavior, using history as a guide.

Keep an eye on the world around you, because that’s how you can learn to spot minute changes that signal the shape of the future. For example, not many people accurately predicted the latest economic recession with significant advance warning, but once the recession was apparent, it was relatively easy to figure out what some of the world’s biggest concerns and trends were going to be in the coming years.

5. Plan your pivot as much as possible.

Pivot Your Way to a Better Life

If you want to jump into the pool’s deep end, you should probably know how to swim first. If you don’t know how, you may struggle, and your basic need for survival may be the only force preventing you from drowning. Maybe.

Prepare with knowledge and practice, and your chance for survival increases. Reduce the risk of the pivot by doing research, talking to others who have made similar moves, and setting up your personal support system.

Your support system includes friends and family who want to see you succeed with the changes in your life. There will always be doubters, though. You may want to ignore them and remove negativity from your life, but that’s not always the best idea. Even critics might have a perspective worth considering — not all, but some.

But you do need people who will cheer you on and provide moral support.

Create a timeline. And depending on whether you like the sink-or-swim challenge, either you give yourself no option but to keep trying until you succeed, or give yourself a back-up plan. Build that into your timeline, but don’t be afraid to adjust or adapt — or pivot — as the needs arise.

Whether it’s part of your plan or appearing by surprise, your life will include at least one pivot. Take control of your pivot with preparation and planning, and be ready to pivot at any moment. Look for the opportunities.
You never know what kind of success or happiness is out there if you move only in one direction and ignore your peripheral vision.

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