Pivot. I’ve been thinking a lot about this word these days. I love this word for several reasons, especially during this particular season of my life. But before I get into it, if you haven’t ever seen the Friends episode with Pivot, check out the video below. You’re welcome.
For me, this goes down in history as one of the best TV sitcom moments ever. I watched this again last night to relive the Pivot hilarity, and I just lost it. My wife too, who almost never laughs at anything I show her on the internet or in pop culture that I find funny. Even she laughed! Literally, every time I think about the word “Pivot”, this is what comes to mind first!
But the second and more important thing that comes to mind is how we use this word in the context of careers or big life changes. What I like about this word even better than “transition” or “shift” is that it lends itself to the idea that ultimately, I stay rooted in who I am and I just merely turn and face a slightly different direction. All my experiences in life and skills I’ve accrued along the way - I still have them and get to use them, but maybe for a different group of people… or the SAME people but in a different way.
MY PIVOTY JOURNEY
I experienced a major Pivot when I went from being a full time singer/songwriter/musician to becoming a Worship Director/Pastor. After almost 10 years of ‘facing this direction’, I see on the horizon some sort of pivot happening again. I don’t know what it is, or what it will look like - but I see it coming eventually and so I’ve been taking this time to hit the brakes, pull over to the side from my “get it done” lifestyle, and truly examine myself, my personality, my skillset, and all that I’ve been through in the last two decades of my life. When I found myself in this headspace, which has been pretty often these days, the first thing I wanted to do was to be able to glean some wisdom from people who have already successfully pivoted, or listen to stories of people who are experiencing it currently. As it turns out, I knew a few people.
And here’s where I’ll ‘pivot’ in this entry to embrace my fanboyness to share about two people I’m a big fan of. (I'll cover the 2nd person in Part 2)
ANDREW OSENGA: THE PIVOT
I’ll begin with Andrew Osenga. I actually have to try REALLY hard right now to NOT lose focus and not go on and on about Andrew Osenga’s music career, his angelic voice that can turn on a dime and go full out rockstar with no autotune needed, the fact that he played guitar and sang on two of my albums (While We Wait & Parallel), and how I obsessed for a really long time over one of his albums he recorded in a SPACESHIP he created by himself. Again, I’m trying really hard NOT to go into all of that right now. Instead, I’m gonna talk about something ELSE he did on TOP of all that - a podcast he created, called THE PIVOT.
In season 1 of his podcast, he talks to several people (9 to be exact) who have experienced pivots in their lives (both in careers and life in general), and a huge bonus for me is that he actually interviews 4 people I’ve been a huge fan of in different seasons of my life (Andrew Peterson, Bebo Norman, Dan Haseltine of Jars of Clay, and Dave Barnes). My favorite by far is his episode with Dave Barnes (another artist I can go on and on about). It’s incredibly comforting listening to people I can truly relate with. Seriously. There aren’t a lot of people around where I live that I’m currently friends with that I can talk to and say “remember that time we were struggling to be singer songwriters, and then life happened, and we had to adjust accordingly”?
I also need to add: Osenga knows how to interview people! He is SO good! It's a skill that not too many podcast hosts have. It doesn't hurt that he's got a really soothing voice, but tie that in with the fact that Osenga knows when to be quiet, when to jump in and help the person out to complete or summarize their thoughts, and when to inject some humor, and... when to cry :) One pet peeve I have is when the interviewers (in trying to relate) starts talking about themselves and makes it all about THEM and not the subject. Even that, he does well. He'll tell a quick little story. In. Out. Boom. Done.
But back to my point - even if you’re not a singer/songwriter, it’s a great listen. Favorite interview goes to Dave Barnes. As expected, really funny - but also moving and convicting at times (especially his take on being a parent and being a musician #realtalk). The podcast in general is a great sneak peak into the lives of indie musicians who ended up having great success in their careers.
Go ahead and check it out! THE PIVOT