Pivoting, reinventing, revisiting… rinse and repeat

“Pivoting” is one of those buzzwords you hear a lot lately, along with “new normal,” “reinventing” and “intentional”. They start to mean less the more you hear them, to the point that my partner and I snarkily joke how “intentional” we’re going to be about various things, like laundry or picking up the dog poop in the yard. I actually very much believe in the power of intentions and, I guess, being “intentional,” but it’s become jargon and that renders it somewhat empty.

I had a supervisor for a short time who adored jargon, and either shortened words that didn’t need shortening — “sesh” instead of “session” was a favorite of hers — or used marketing-speak like “digital journey” and “deep dive” and “snackable content.” Her phrases became absurdly unintelligible, to the point that we were keeping a book of the worst ones. I actually can’t remember most of them now, I think my brain erased them on purpose.

You can’t avoid buzzwords, though, not if you’re in any kind of business, or read the news, or look at social media, or pretty much engage in any way. You’ve probably seen “pivoting” at least once in the past week. It becomes hard not to start using it ourselves, whether we want to or not.

See, I could explain that recently I’ve recognized that I want to make some changes to my library of work, and am updating the name of my first series, working through what that requires. A fantasy author I like recently rebranded her bestselling trilogy, inspiring me to see that it was possible. It’s a somewhat dramatic step, and one that I considered for several months before deciding to do it, looking at all my options. I don’t think I was wrong when I published my series originally; it’s impossible to know how certain decisions will play out in the future, what opportunities or changes will come along. But it’s the right choice now. It isn’t always easy to let go of the choices we’ve made before, the ideas we had and paths we took, whether that’s the title of a series of suspense novels, a job or career, where we live, who we’re married to, what we believe in. But it’s also necessary and powerful to allow ourselves to adapt and detach when the time comes, and I’m excited to make this small improvement happen.

So, in other words, I was intentional in pivoting to optimize my series name, revisiting my brand management and taking agile, innovative strategic action to re-imagine a shifting paradigm in the new normal, because leveraging alignment is key to building influence. Plus, snackable content.

A coworker who’s also a writer recently pointed out how many of the buzzwords we’re hearing lately actually mean the same thing. Re-imagine, reinvent, redesign, revisit, pivot, shift gears, realign, transform. The world is ever-changing, we know that. It changed especially dramatically, scarily and globally with COVID this past year, and impermanence is, to be ironical, here to stay. We’ve invented a lot of ways to describe how we’re living with and adapting to the latest changes.

Whether we apply the jargon of the moment, accidentally or on purpose — and trust me, my work emails are full of “FYIs” and “loop you ins”, I won’t deny it — or not, we’re always going to be challenged to meet our circumstances bravely and creatively, to be willing to let go of what isn’t working and step into new possibilities. And again, and again.

I’ll keep everyone posted on my disruptive brand reinvention efforts.

Good sesh, guys.

– Emily

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