One of the main prophetic themes for 2015 is that this is a “turnaround” year. There is a special grace to turn around issues in your life that seem like they’re moving in the wrong direction. Some of these turnarounds will happen supernaturally, but in large part, turning things around is up to you. God’s saying He will put His wind of grace behind our effort.

So how do we do this?

One of the big keys to successfully navigating a turnaround is knowing when to pivot.

In the business world, the concept of pivoting has become a buzzword for entrepreneurs through the influence of the book, The Lean Startup, by Eric Ries. In his book, Ries suggests that one of the biggest reasons that small businesses fail is because they’re so married to their business models that they miss what the market is telling them. By the time they react, it’s too late. The money runs out and the business is forced to shut down.

He says that to succeed you need to be willing to pivot in your business model. Successful businesses constantly tweak and evaluate their model, sometimes even scrapping the original idea, because it doesn’t matter how great the product is if no one wants to buy it.

I think there’s a lot we can learn from this. So let’s look at how pivoting applies to our lives:

Life is full of cycles

 There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: …a time to tear down and a time to build…a time to keep and a time to throw away – Ecc: 3:1,3b,6b NIV

 So there’s this constant ebb and flow with God. Sometimes we’re in the zone of success. Everything is clicking and we feel on track. And then there are other times where we find ourselves in a downturn, feeling unfulfilled and disconnected. This is all part of God’s design.

But sometimes we stay in a downturn longer than God intended, because we’ve missed the signal to pivot. When you miss your pivot you find yourself spiraling off into a wilderness season of your own making. Some people spend years here, struggling with frustration and feeling unfulfilled.

You would think the misery of the downturn would motivate action, but that’s not always the case.

Why?

 Because pivoting is really hard. 

Four Reasons We Don’t Pivot:

We don’t know what to do to make things better:

You might sense things are off, but you’re confused about what to do about it. Sometimes, the enemy floods you with confusion to keep you floundering. Or it might be that the issues in front of you are so overwhelming that you can’t see above them.

We fall in love with our ideas:

What I mean is this: As believers, we tend to get hung up on the idea that “God told me to do this,” when that’s not always the case. Sometimes, we get clear strategy from Heaven about specific ways of attacking the situation in front of us, but most of the time God leaves the details up to us.

When we’re hung up by religion, we doggedly hold onto strategies that aren’t working, because, “God told me to do it.”

Let me bring in another business analogy: When we do this, we’re confusing the business model with the business plan.

When you’re launching a business, the business plan is the vision of where you’re going. The business model is how you get there. If we apply this principle to our own lives, God is the author of our business plan. He’s built within each one of us a business plan that relates to both our personal and our professional lives.

The business model is how you are going to make God’s business plan happen. How you get there is up to you. And just like in business, you must be willing to tweak or scrap things entirely when your model isn’t working. We can’t get tripped up in this idea that our model is sacred.

You’re idea is just that – it’s your idea.

 Because it costs too much:

It’s hard to shift course, especially when you’ve been on a particular road for a long time. You’ve got a family to care for, financial commitments and a lot of time invested going a certain direction. Making a pivot will affect your bottom line and your reputation.

 We feel immobilized because of external forces beyond our control:

You may find yourself in a situation where you are forced to pivot because of someone else. Perhaps you work in an organization that has moved away from the mission you signed up for, or maybe you have a relationship that’s strained because of the choices of the other person.

What do you do?

These situations are painful and we often miss the signal to pivot out of a false sense of obligation. You’ve invested time and made commitments. The original connection was right, but now it’s a mess and there is nothing you can do about it.

The idea of walking away creates a real grief and sense of loss because of how deeply you are connected. But understand this: you can’t make another person’s choices and you can’t prop up something that’s broken.

It’s a fool’s errand to go down with a sinking ship.

 Closing it out:

Pivoting isn’t fun, but when you miss the signal to pivot your life moves into a state of limbo. You find yourself in the land of the living dead. You’re not growing and you’re not dying. That’s a miserable place to be.

But this is a turnaround year. We can make the pivot.

Next week, I’ll share some ideas on how to successfully make a pivot.

See you then!