September 3, 2012


In my work, I spend a lot of time around startups and early-stage companies, and I’ve been learning a lot about the entrepreneurial spirit and the challenges that come from going out on your own.

One of the things that has fascinated me over the past few months is the idea of the pivot.”

The concept is simple: when things aren’t going the way you had planned, or when things around you change, you transform the direction of your company. You don’t scrap everything; instead, you take whatever assets and skills and expertise you have and move them towards something new, in light of the changing context around you.

Pivoting is scary. It’s downright terrifying. After all, how do you know that the new direction is the right one? When you’ve known who are and what you do so well for so long, how can you completely transform?

It’s not just companies that pivot. We do it too, as individuals. Or, at least, we should.

Sometimes, when your context, your environment, your life gets turned upside down, you need to re-evaluate who you are, and what direction you decide to follow.

Over the past eight months, my life has taken a complete 180-degree swing. Before January of this year, I knew just who I was, what I did, what I lived for. I had life all figured out. And then things just fell apart.

It’s scary, to try to change direction when you know yourself so well. I had thirty years of experience being Sameer, and over three years of experience being the Sameer she knew me to be. I spent thirty years doing my best to make other people happy, three years of my life doing everything, sacrificing everything, to make her happy, most often to my own expense. (Love makes you do crazy things.) I knew who I was, I knew my direction. Life was simple, figured out.

Now, I’m pivoting.

When the one thing in your life that was your constant disappears and you find yourself without purpose, you need to find your direction again — and often, that direction is vastly different from what you’ve been used to over the past thirty years.

I’m not sure where I’m going now, but I know that I’m different, and the way I approach things will be different. Perhaps I’m a bit more guarded, a little less trusting, a little more cynical, but at my core, I’m still the same. I’m taking my existing assets, skills, and experience, and turning them into something new.

Like all businesses, there’s a high likelihood that my pivot may fail. But there’s a chance that, after all of this, I’ll emerge successful.

There’s a chance that this pivot may take me away from the person I was and into the person I should be.