Be Willing: The Fourth Lesson to Make a Difficult Transition

Are you willing?

We face a variety of challenges everyday. What makes the difference for those who find the most success is being willing to do what others won’t, can’t, or simply don’t.

Imagine facing an unwanted transition and turning it from a tragedy to a triumph. Wouldn’t that feel great? Imagine what you can do if you made that a habit.

This is the fourth of five lessons in making a difficult transition. We might have started with this one because attitude makes all the difference in making a difficult pivot. How do you make that difficult transition? Read on and I’ll explain three basic steps.

Those that follow me recognize I have transitioned several times in my adult life. A couple of these transitions were unwanted and difficult but ultimately a portal to my next, great opportunity.

As leaders, managers, employees, or entrepreneurs, we face difficult transitions in our personal and professional lives. Our willingness to move forward is critical in turning trauma and tragedy into transformational trajectory.

Your attitude, not your aptitude, will determine your altitude.

Zig Ziglar

When life pushes us to transition, we often dig in our heels, and resist the required change. To any outside, unbiased observer, this is stupid. Yes, we enjoyed the life we used to enjoy. No, we didn’t choose to pivot.

But guess what?

You can’t change it so you might as well embrace it.

Pivot From S.T.U.P.I.D.

Unwanted Pivots

You may have received one of “those” phone calls or messages that we wished never came. “We need to talk” signals the end of a romantic relationship. “Come to my office” signals the end of a job or career.
“I’m sorry to tell you” signals the end of our health, mobility, or life.

Very few people wanted the 2020 pandemic. For the most part, we were comfortable with our lives prior to that. But sometimes we don’t have a choice. We lose a job, marriage or loved one. We receive a bad medical report or stock forecast.

“NO! That’s not what I want” is a natural reaction.

But let’s face it. No matter what we do, the situation will deteriorate and we have no choice but to pivot.

The best thing we can do is pivot quickly.

Please don’t see that as uncaring. It doesn’t mean that we don’t grieve. It simply means that the best thing to do is to pivot and look forward to the best opportunities. Yes, some losses stun us but they don’t need to permanently paralyze us. We can move forward and still miss what we lost.

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So Why Don’t We Pivot?

There are three reasons.

First, we are comfortable. There is nothing wrong with being comfortable except for missing opportunities to move forward. In our age of rapid and radical change, if we don’t change fast enough or big enough, we won’t keep up. Inflation was 8.5% last month. So if our wages don’t grow that fast, we fall behind. Technology is rapidly and radically changing. If we don’t keep up, we will be left out. Look at any part of your life and you will find the same result. Keep changing or lose out. We cannot afford to become too comfortable when the world around us is changing.

Second, we are lulled into a sense of predictability. We figured out how to live in the world and want to follow that model. Why wouldn’t we? The model worked. Unfortunately, with so many drastic changes, we cannot predict according to the old trends. The longer we cling to that old sense of predictability, the bigger the change we will need to make just to keep up.

Third, we are under the misperception that our old world is safe within our comfort zone. We don’t know what the future holds and so we can’t quite figure out what steps will take us to our next comfort zone. That is understandable. We don’t want to live in chaos. Unfortunately, with so much change, the longer we wait to change, the harder it will be.

If you’re going through hell, keep going.

Winston Churchill

Churchill had it right. When the unwanted pivot happens to us, we only really have the choice to keep going. Yet many of us get stuck so we stop. We might try to fight but it is useless.

But how do we do that?

The process for pivoting through a difficult situation begins with our attitude.

First, admit the past isn’t returning. Many in the 2020 pandemic kept asking, “When are we going to return to normal?” The harsh reality is that we won’t. That is, in part, because the pandemic changed us. We realized we could be productive and work from home. Many learned how to connect virtually. A significant number of people realized the benefits of ordering groceries, meals, and a variety of products online. These are just a few of the changes we realized. Some are now realizing the value of working in person a couple days a week. We still are pivoting into that hybrid world. To think we will go back to what it once was is misguided at best.

Forgive me but I need to address a very sensitive pivot. Many have lost loved ones during the pandemic that otherwise weren’t ready to leave this earth. Many of their family were not ready to let them go. They didn’t even get a chance to say good bye because covid restrictions prevented gathering for funerals.

Those situations suck. There is no nice word for it. I’m especially conscious of those who have lost children. Parents are not supposed to bury their children. It is expected to be the other way around. Many get stuck because they don’t want to leave that part of their life behind. Who would? We love those family members.

Again, the harsh reality is they are gone and nothing we do can bring them back. The only thing we can do is move ahead with their spirit in our heart. We honor them everyday when we find the next, great opportunity. No, we can’t replace them. No, we are not going to forget them. But we must find that next normal or we will wither and waste away.

We must make a conscious choice to pivot forward. We cannot stay in the present or the past.

Second, recognize what still works. Not everything will change. That is the best part of the pivot. As seen in the basketball pivot, we keep one foot anchored in the present. That is our anchor. Then we move our eyes and other foot to find the next, great opportunity. We are always looking forward and recognizing what still works.

That’s what brings order to our lives in the middle of chaos. Even during the pandemic, not everything changed. We could still call or text friends. We could still play music, individual sports, and do our work. The process of work basically remained the same, but with a different twist. Real Estate professionals still worked with buyers and sellers, advertised and searched for listings, bought and sold houses. Yes, showing houses was different but the essential process of buying and selling a house remained the same.

The same held for those working virtually. The job functions stayed the same but communicating went virtual.

Third, actively look for new opportunities. The old adage holds we can’t drive looking out the back window. That’s why we have such a big windshield. The pandemic ushered in many new ideas that aren’t going away. Notice how many restaurants started take out and have found it to be a very valuable part of their business. Again, notice how many employees are happy to work from home a day or two a week. Some are permanently working from home. The leaders appreciate the reduced rent and some even sold off their real estate to go completely virtual.




Loren Murfield, Ph.D.

I have transitioned several times in my adult life and have done many things that I once considered to be “impossible.” Today I am an Executive Coach – Author – Speaker – Filmmaker – Difference Maker developing aspiring and emerging leaders in their pivot to their breakthrough success.  Contact me today to begin your pivot.

Check out my newest book and video series, “Meditations from the National Parks”

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