Kumar Mehta, Contributor
Sept. 20, 2021
The journey towards extraordinary achievement often starts with a spark or unique moment. These are your Pivot Points where you make a choice that significantly affects your life outcomes. Every ultra-high achiever recalls the specific moments that shaped their journeys. You, too, will hear those opportunities knocking on your door, and to achieve something exceptional, you must choose to answer.
Bill Gates experienced a pivot point as a student at Harvard University when his friend Paul Allen showed him the cover of the January 1975 issue of Popular Electronics magazine that featured the launch of a new computer. This prompted the realization that the computer revolution would happen, with or without them, and this moment marked the end of Gates' college career and the beginning of Microsoft.
Michael Jordan's pivot point was when he was left off his high school varsity basketball team —not being selected for the team sparked his desire and motivation to excel, resulting in one of the most remarkable sports careers.
Pivot points may occur at any time, and while they may appear to be random events, they are the moments that reveal what you truly desire and want from yourself.
We all experience those moments where something gives us a jolt, and we think we can achieve something special, but what separates the most exceptional from everyone else is how they react to these moments.
When faced with a pivot point, the elite few take specific actions that drive them towards achieving their goals. Most others also feel the pang of a pivot point but do little or nothing, and quite soon, like every other experience, these crucial moments pass.
Identifying your pivot points:
A pivot point can be an insight or the moment you realize you have a unique skill, ability, or gift. Several women Olympians I worked with first recognized their talent when they beat their older brothers or other boys at their sport. This realization prompted a heightened desire to pursue it seriously.
Sometimes, a pivot point appears as an opportunity when you see something unique and rare happening around you. The Bill Gates pivot point discussed above was an opportunity that he could not let pass. The dot com boom or the advent of AI have served as pivot points for many entrepreneurs.
Sometimes a pivot point is a positive or negative life event. These are meaningful events in your life or career, such as being passed up for a promotion, starting a new job, finding a new mentor or coach or losing a loved one. Events that prompt you to do some soul searching or do something you would not ordinarily do are pivot points.
Reacting to your pivot points:
You know you are experiencing a pivot point when you feel a strong urge to do something unique and significant. When you get that feeling, hold on to it. Ideally, write down exactly how you feel and what you want to achieve.
Then act on it. Sometimes it involves making a tough choice. Leaving Harvard without graduating is a hard decision, but that is what Gates believed he had to do. Pivot points come with risks, so weigh them carefully as you decide the course of action you want to take.
Pivot points are not a once-in-a-lifetime occurrence. They frequently occur because they serve as prompts or reminders for things you want from yourself. Gates and Allen would still have founded Microsoft had they not seen the Popular Electronics magazine. There would have been another trigger. And Jordan still would have been a great basketball player regardless of his high school coach's decision. There would have been another pivot point to drive him to excel.
So, when you feel that twinge of desire pulling you in a particular direction, you need to follow through on the urge. Most likely, it is a pivot point prompting you to do something extraordinary. So, grab hold of that opportunity when you hear it knock, but don't beat yourself up for missing it. If it is something you truly desire, it will appear again soon.
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