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From my last speech I discovered a bit more about myself. I am good at preparing a speech, yes, diligent, dedicated and demanding of myself. Which is good for the first few speeches, but not a good thing as I go forward. The problem is that I tend to overprepare. When I say overprepare, I mean research, write, add a personal experience, and then practice the speech in my head about a dozen times. I expend too much energy on this phase.

What happens is that despite the great structure of my speech, with all the perfect elements of sharing information, it ends up like a lecture. The point is that I am not having fun with it.

A communications coach once said, I should deliver my speech in a way that is aligned to who I want to be. That’s a deep-dive, I know what he means – I need to be in the moment, sharing from the whole of my being.

So for speech 3, which was my 8th speech. Yey! I decided to relax the preparation. I decided to just go with the flow, and write about something that I enjoy – which is generally new information. Knowledge that I can apply, and share with others.

The theme was Mentorship. I didn’t want my speech to be only about my mentor, or about what mentorship is all about. I wanted to add a different spin to the topic.

I had read in one of the business newsletters that TikTok was a trending site for young people, particularly those seeking advice in their career. The younger generation were searching for mentors on TikTok – a site that was never really taken seriously. TikTok was actually shaping careers of the next generation. Wow! what an amazing story. I decided to create a nice little speech around it. I drafted a few points, and imagined myself in the audience, and then worded my speech in a way that would entice and intrigue.

When I gave my speech, I started by asking a question about TikTok, and then I proceeded to share interesting nuggets of information related to the new ways of searching for mentors.

My delivery was relaxed, interactive, and I also shared my personal insights about the Toastmasters mentorship program, and how much I have gained from it. Mentors do make a difference, and I would recommend that if you are on a new path in life, find a mentor who will be able to guide you correctly.

It turned out to be a good speech.

I won ‘best speaker’! Honestly, I had fun with the speech, I felt connected with myself, and the audience. I sort of understand what my coach said about the alignment. I am still learning the process of finding that perfect balance of words, delivery, emotional connect, and body language. Definitely there’s a lot more to learn and practice. For now, I shall not overthink it.

I am grateful for what I have learned so far. In this year, I have moved from being a nervous speaker, to a more confident one. The best part, is that I will continue on this pathway to practice my speaking skills so that I will become an effective communicator combining my knowledge as a writer and coach, and now speaker.

Looking forward to continuing my Toastmasters journey in 2023.

My speech was not structured well. That was the general feedback I received. When one is standing in front of a roomful of people, one needs to entice, and grip the audience’s attention. I should have started my speech with a story, a story of my failed attempt at speaking about my expertise. Below, you will find the content of my speech, I am sure it will benefit someone who needs some updated info on the elevator pitch.

But first, here’s the speech guidelines:

Deliver a 5- to 7-minute speech at a club meeting about your communication style and its impact on your professional and/or personal relationships. If you are uncomfortable discussing your communication style, you may speak about the communication styles you have encountered and how they impact you.

I usually write my speeches in short paragraphs and memorize the main points. This is my speech draft which I did not deliver verbatim:

Expressing Powerfully

I work with written language day in and day out, and yet when I was at a recent Women’s networking event, I stumbled over my own words. The question: ‘What do you do?’ stumped me. I was unable to share a clear concise summary of what I was all about.

Imagine the networking event, it was an after-work drinks, at an exclusive club. Many of the ladies were in stillettoes, branded handbags, perfectly manicured nails and wearing jackets. These were confident savvy women, eloquently sharing their ‘wow’ career path and smoothly handing out their namecard. It was like a dance that was perfectly choreographed. I felt clunky and odd in my flats and rather fusion informal look. In that ambience, I too wanted to make an impression. I am a successful entrepreneur, an author of 11 books, over 25 years of writing experience, and more recently a book coach.

However, I didn’t know how to say all of that and hold the interest of my audience. Instead, when I was asked the question: ‘What do you do?’ I mumbled: ‘I am an author and life coach’, and spent stressful seconds rummaging through my handbag for a namecard, which I managed to produce, but the lady who had shown some interest in me, had already moved on to the next person…

I came home that day feeling really awful – my inner critic in full volume telling me that I should be ashamed of myself. I am a woman who uses words for a living, why is it that I could not even articulate the right words to express my self! It was an angry internal dialogue,  eventually I asked my inner critic to shut up. I reflected on my situation and realised something important about myself.

As speakers, most of you are well aware that 93% of communication is non-verbal. And the rest 7% are the words that we speak. My focus was on the 7%. Why?  Because if I get that 7 % right I knew in my heart of hearts, I would succeed at a100%

I went straight for my laptop and began searching for a knowledgeable personality who would help me develop a power- packed summary of myself, and what I am all about.

Communication, in essence, is building connections, it is forging a rapport, invoking curiosity, so that the person is enticed and says those three magic words – tell me more!

I wanted the words to spill out, with emotion and power, to convey my purpose, all that in 30 seconds or less.

After much deep diving and research, I came across three important points that’s relevant:

  1. When someone asks what do you do, don’t tell them who you are, tell them what you do.
  2. People don’t really care about your process, what they are interested in is the impact and outcome you create, how you change or improve someone’s life.
  3. End the pitch with a question

All of this delivered in a clear concise powerful way. My sincerest thank you goes to Lisa Nichols. I have watched her video many times, I am in awe of her style and ability to express herself powerfully. Do watch if you want to get savvy in delivering a speech and how to pitch.

After learning from her I drafted a short snappy pitch about myself:

Instead of saying I am an author and a life coach. I say:

As a result of my 25 years experience as a writer, and author of 11 books, I have helped aspiring writers, busy individuals, and professionals, write their stories to inspire and spread their wisdom. In fact, one of my clients, a CEO, received glowing book reviews and the book is being used as a resource for MBA students. Who do you know who has a dream of writing a book?

The above pitch template is flexible, easily repurposed depending on my audience. It covers the main points, just enough to arouse curiosity.

That 7% of words, when delivered with the 93% of body language resonates with the listener, becomes powerful, and creates a connection with the listener.

People may understand you through your body language, but they will remember you through your words.

Ordinarily, I would not bother with researching about Leadership styles, and more specifically my leadership style. Quite simply, I am a follower not a leader. I work great in a team. I usually prefer to let others take the lead. What do I know what it is like to be a leader?

So, when I had to write this speech themed on – Understanding your leadership Style:

Write your speech. Include information about your preferred leadership style as well as styles you would like to cultivate and how. If you are uncomfortable discussing your leadership style, you may speak about styles in general.

So I wrote about styles in general. I shared my impression of leaders and their personalities – which is primarily autocratic, ‘my way or the highway’, impatient, ruthless, bullies. I cited Steve Jobs and Soichiro Honda. I had written a chapter on ‘Toxic Workplace’ in my book Reboot Reflect Revive – Self-esteem in a Selfie World. My research was to show how self-esteem is affected by bosses who treat their employees like robots rather than humans. It brought to light the difficulties and mental anxiety faced in the workplace. From there, I had this negative impression about leaders.

However, that impression has since changed.

In my speech, I shared about my change of impression to a more positive one. This happened after I worked on ghostwriting project for a CEO. I expected an arrogant, self-absorbed, type of personality. The individual turned out to have a more compassionate leadership style. The kind who was open to listening to employee’s ideas, creating a better work environment that was focused on creating high morale, and inspiring his staff.

I delivered the speech easily, and that’s when I realised that relating to personal experiences, is what made it easy. I was honest about what I felt and I explained why I felt that way. I shared a few examples, and a personal perspective. That’s all that was needed in a 5-7 minute-speech.

I ended with a quote, which went a bit flat, as I ran out of time. The quote didn’t get communicated effectively – ‘If you want to lead, you must first learn how to obey.’ I needed to bring it into context and to relate it back to my client. There wasn’t enough time. Note to self that I should share the quote earlier on, and repeat it towards the end.

I received positive feedback and I discovered some new facets that I hadn’t realised about my persona. It helps to know how I am perceived when I speak.

Overall mindset: relaxed, less stressed and less afraid to speak

Content: confident in how to write a speech with the audience in mind

Next speech will be on communication styles.

20th July 2022: This was my final speech for Level 1. I was looking forward to moving up the ladder to explore the structured approach to public speaking. Toastmasters is not everyone’s cup of tea, many find it too rigid.

For me what works is the structure, the meeting format, the Club rules, the roles of the facilitators. I love the format and ability to get creative in this space. It allows for freedom to explore from my unique way of sharing my content,

My evaluation was to be sharing my speech taking into account the previous evaluation and feedback.

I chose to share about the book ‘The Secret’ . I wasn’t really sure how the law of attraction worked for some people but didn’t for others. I did some research, found opposing views, and then drafted my speech.

Recalling the feedback, I prepared my speech to be simple, interactive and clear on the call to action.

While I wrote the speech, I began to realise the change that was happening internally. Previously, I would write with the reader in mind, the focus was on creating a descriptive, detailed, and vivid content.

As I discovered the many nuanced differences in writing for a speech and writing for a book, I began to focus on what my audience would be interested to hear.

The words were more listener-friendly rather than reader-friendly.

I did decide on the topic just few days before the speech, drafted and redrafted it based on how I felt comfortable delivering it. I said the words out loud, and if they were clunky, or complicated, I rewrote them. Sharp memorable metaphors helped me to get the message across, a quote, and then a story made the difference. The delivery, of course, is key to capture the audience’s attention. I was friendly, interactive, asked questions. It felt good.

I was confident, I spoke to the audience to entertain, and to deliver a message. It felt right, I felt aligned and comfortable. The initial thudding heart, nerves were all there, but they didn’t stop me from delivering my best speech yet!

Looking forward to Level 2 where I will deliver 3 speeches, and discover my ‘leadership’ style.

15th June 2022: I was ready, I knew what I wanted to share – a personal experience – from my trip to India. The power of taking ownership of the words, the expressions, the feelings – it all came together in a well-balanced coordinated way. I received a positive evaluation.

What I discovered about this speech experience, was that if I felt it, I could deliver it, the words flowed, I didn’t have to memorise, everything unfolded on its own. I was connecting with the audience, making them feel the sadness, the acceptance, the joy – the feelings were an important part of the journey. If I didn’t have the expressions that matched the words, the audience would have disconnected. The content was both a personal story and covered big themes in philosophy.. I shared the way I viewed the experience.

Writing a speech is one thing. Delivering is a whole other process. When I write books, I notice that the first step is the creative aspect – putting words on a page, allowing the story to flow using no self-criticism. Writing without judgement. And then, after having written, I would start the editing process. This requires a logical, critical, and careful analysis of the writing, and how to improve. Rewrites follow and the process loops back again, to writing then editing. Write first, edit later.

For a speech, I need to write with some editing in mind. I write with a purpose of ensuring that my audience will understand my key concept quickly and easily. Writing for an audience requires thought and deeper consideration that whatever will be said will not all be absorbed.

When we read, we are able to absorb the content, and we can reread to ensure we get what the author has written.

In a speech, we have to bring not just our words, but all of our physical self to connect with the audience, to show rather than tell.

It is performance art. It is an ability to capture the audience from the first sentence that spills out from me.

As I explore and understand the subtleties of public speaking, I am learning the implicit power of communication.

I have one more speech to go before I complete level 1.

This time, I will take a risk and prepare the speech just two days before the meeting, I’m testing my ability to 1. overcome fear and 2. be able to prepare a speech last minute.

Let’s see how that goes.

When I rewrote the speech for the fifth time I came to realise that speech-writing is a whole different creature. As a writer, I write for a reader to visualize a perspective of another reality. While as a speaker, my speech has to be written to get the audience involved in a matter of seconds.

I have discovered that the speaker is just an instrument, carrying a message, to impact the audience. Therefore the most important person in this whole equation is the audience, not the speaker standing on stage delivering his/her address. The ability to charm, to entice and to keep the attention of an audience requires talent and training. And while delivering the speech, one must be mindful to share emotions through tonal quality and gestures.

A speech, delivered with wit and enthusiasm, sells the meaning, the moral, the purpose and creates an impact long after the speaker has left the stage.

While on this journey to be an impactful speaker, I have come to appreciate the ability to communicate and present with effectiveness. I am even more in awe of people who can orate with such power and impact. It is a gift.

My journey as an author, has been writing stories that are evolving and developing in my head. I don’t communicate directly with a reader, I have time to edit, rewrite, and to reevaluate how to structure my work. It is a process. I can take my time to deliver my best work in writing.

Speaking requires a different format. It is having the confidence to meet the audience face-to-face and share an opinion with powerful words, voice, and persona. Using words, structuring an idea, and then articulating them with clarity – all of that in a limited time frame – what skill!!

When I was preparing my speech that would be evaluated on tonal quality and body language, I did practice in front of an imaginary audience, conscious of my hand movements, of my voice, presence and my expressions.

When I delivered my speech to the audience, I added more drama, and it felt like I was acting out a play. It was fun. I received a positive evaluation, and recognition for good use of body language, however I could have done better with vocal variety. The learning continues…

Differences between authoring a book and writing a speech:

  1. Speech: Write with the audience in mind, what will grip them, the way one delivers the first few words are important.
  2. Book: write to build a world for the reader to visualize. Be descriptive, be detailed with words that create an impact.
  3. Speech: When you share a story, don’t go too much into the details, bring the audience right into the centre of the story, like it is unfolding for them in the now. Keep them vested in what you are going to say next, like this: ‘I was in the Doctor’s office. I was only 8 years old, living in Africa….’ The suspense starts right away to capture the audience’s attention.
  4. Book: ‘When I was only 8 years old, I was living in a small town in Africa. I was a restless imaginative child who loved playing outdoors in the hot sun. Despite repeated warnings from my mother to stay indoors in the afternoons, I sneaked out to chase orange-grey lizards in the courtyard. I was a skinny little kid, and a poor eater. Worried about my health, my parents took me to visit the Doctor…’ When writing a book, it gets descriptive, and ideally one needs to create context, build the backdrop of the story slowly.
  5. Speech: Use gestures, pauses, emotive tones, expressions. Get the audience involved in your speech, in the way you are vested in it, get them to feel your joy or pain.
  6. Book: Describe emotions, all the five senses are explored to paint a picture of what’s happening. It is more detailed.

In both ways, the ability to touch hearts through words is the true power of communication.

If you want to join a Toastmasters Club, be prepared to challenge yourself, and be prepared to take it seriously.

Even if it means you have to present your speech online, there is a structure to the two-hour meeting, and everyone is pretty much taking this journey seriously. So online or in-face, the journey to be an impactful speaker requires discipline and dedication.

I thought that online presentations would not have an impact on me. Facing a small laptop screen, where the people are visible in tiny squares, why would I feel intimidated? So, I didn’t do much preparation for this speech.

After my booster shot, I was lethargic, and had no incentive to sharpen and rewrite my speech. I was confident that I had everything in my head, clear about what I wanted to say.

That was foolish of me.

It was a speech with a purpose. A purpose requires thought and reflection. Requires clarity and concision. Requires conviction and energy.

When you go on the Toastmasters website, they explain in detail how to structure a speech. It could be chronological, topical, spatial, causal, comparative, problem/solution, particular/general/particular. And then there are the transitions. Writing a speech requires deep thought and planning.

In 700 words, or less, I needed to articulate clearly what I wanted the audience to understand about my speech with a purpose. And here I was taking it lightly. I should have written ten drafts. I delivered after two drafts. I had practiced the speech only once.

Preparation is key. Speech writing: 75%. And delivery practice: 25%.

The most crucial point is: What is the core of my speech? What are the takeaways that the audience will remember. One must write it down in different ways, a dozen times if necessary. Eventually one must condense the core idea to literally one sentence of seven words or less. To get that kind of precision requires reflection, and deeper understanding of what I wanted to say. I had done a shoddy job.

What I have discovered is that in speech preparation, making it as succinct, as captivating, and as audience-friendly as possible. The goal is to keep in mind that the audience is not going to get immersed in the speech if the speaker is half-hearted and not convinced by his or her own words.

The delivery – tone, expressions, body language, and presence – comes from practice and watching yourself. So, yes practice is necessary to ensure that there are limited number of ‘uhms’ and ‘ahs’.

As a story writer, I want to be able to create a unique way of telling a story. I am psyched by that idea. But first, let me tell you what happened at my second speech.

My speech was okay – I did it standing up. Despite the small squares of people watching, I was slightly nervous. The facilitators of the evening were keeping track of the time, language, and ‘ah’s, with a keen ear. There is pressure in that 5-7minutes of speech to create as much impact as possible. I did the best I could, but I self-reflected that I could have done better if I had prepared.

Speech review: the structure was okay. There was too much explaining, I rambled towards the last two minutes.

And that’s my learning. The writer in me knows I have the potential to improve.

I will be delivering the same speech next week. I have worked on the 5th draft, rewritten it, removed all the extra unnecessary bits. And by next week, hopefully, I will have a polished 10th draft. 🙂

This time the speech evaluators will be focusing on tonal quality, expressions and body language. I will be ready!

The Icebreaker Speech

As I started counting the days, hours, minutes to the moment when I had to go up on stage and deliver my speech, my body reacted with a fight/flight response. The date was set for December 29th, 2021. It would be the greatest end to the year, or the most forgettable. I wanted it to be the former. There was a lot to prepare…no not the speech, that was the easy part. It was the facing of an audience. I was afraid that I would be standing up on stage, nervous, faltering, failing miserably. I was so tense, my jaw hurt from clenching my teeth. I was self-aware of all of the feelings of anxiety. Usually, I would avoid ‘feeling’ the feelings and distract myself by reading a book, or doing something else that would keep me from facing the truth. This time, I was determined to face this feeling and deal with it head on.

My speech didn’t take long to draft, 750 words, which would be 4-6 minutes of delivery. I knew exactly what I wanted to say, and I was eager to voice my written words. I flow with words on a page, but find it difficult to speak the words as easily. This is a challenge I want to overcome.

My mentor and the President of the Toastmasters Club provided some useful tips on presenting with mastery. A good presentation requires not just speaking eloquently, but also the correct amount of pauses, intonations, presence, and eye-contact. Taking all of these points into consideration, I practiced. I mentally recited my speech at night, in the mornings, in front of the mirror, also while I waited at the bus-stop and so on. And each time, as I imagined myself in front of an audience. I felt the familiar sense of anxiety rise up and my gut clench.

Each time I revisited my speech; mind and body reacted with: ‘do I really have to do this? I mean really??’

Then I reminded myself that my goal to do this speech is to create awareness, it is not about me, it is the message that I want to present with impact. I aspire to share what I have discovered in my journey as a writer and more.

If I cannot even do an icebreaker speech in a small supportive group, how can I ever be able to face a larger audience? I took a few deep breaths and a firm mental step to continue practicing. I read the Toastmaster’s articles, then studied/read/listened/watched multiple videos of how to cope with anxiety and stress of public speaking. Very useful tips and wise words. Still the anxiety persisted.

I came to the conclusion that the only way to beat the fear is to face it head-on, to challenge it with the persona of a terminator and Matrix-type mind mastery. While training to be a life coach, I learned a lot of interesting aspects of our automatic behaviours, how we are often conditioned by old beliefs that don’t serve us anymore. We have the power to overcome negative beliefs and redesign our thinking to focus on successful outcomes. It was a challenge to face this feeling, but I knew that if I succeeded, I would break this cycle of fear.

When the day arrived, 29th of December, I couldn’t eat or drink. I was surprised at the extent of how nervous I felt. I admonished myself for feeling this way. And later, I said to myself, I don’t need to do this, I don’t have to prove anything to anyone. I don’t need to be so hard on my self. My inner dialogue was pushing me to return to my shell, my old ways of thinking, to my comfort zone.

I was determined, I wasn’t going to retreat. No matter how difficult or uncomfortable, I said to myself that I would stand up in front of a crowd, my legs turning to jelly, my mouth dry, my heart pounding, and still do my speech.

What is the worst that could happen? I would fail, I would lose my cool, I would falter. but the one thing I would succeed is to shake hands with my fear.

I did it. It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. That’s the other thing I realised: we always imagine the worst in our head, then what it is in reality.

Evaluation was good, feedback from various experts will help with the next speech… I will be better prepared. Here’s my icebreaker: https://youtu.be/UwBUBUJe-rE

There are moments in life when we take stock of the past, and realise many facets of ourselves. While COVID hangs over our heads as a warning that travel is a no-no, and we have to sit tight with masks on, my mind continues to wander, and my heart seeks guidance.

This year, I have a deep sense of gratitude and appreciation for every moment with family and friends. I have also experienced a deep need to self-develop. Pushing through my comfort zone has been a challenge.

Ever since I wrote the book on self-esteem, my life has changed. I had researched not just the psychology behind our behaviour, but also to understand the self. The learnings I gleaned from motivational speakers, modern-day gurus, and empowered individuals resulted in applying the wisdom in my life. Inner work is all about the willingness to change the way we think, feel, and act.

I started with a morning ritual of gratitude. As a lover of the written word, I believe that words have the power to impact the way we communicate with ourselves and others. Therefore, besides words of gratitude, as much as possible, throughout the day, I monitored my inner dialogue, reflecting on the beliefs or conditionings that created a particularly negative thought process.

Fear has been a driving force in life. Converting my way of thinking, from a fear-based approach to a courage-based approach, had a great impact on the way I see myself today. In this year, I pushed through my comfort zone, challenged myself to face my fears. I held firm with determination, and pursued many new personal goals.

With these mindful changes, the greatest leaps began to happen. Not only did I notice a shift happening within me, I noticed that, as a result of my efforts, there was a difference externally.

I reverted to some of the learnings from the research in self-esteem. There is one particular teaching that resonated with me in 2021. In my book, Reboot Reflect Revive: Self-esteem in a Selfie World, I mention Carol Dweck, a Stanford University psychologist, who shared her findings on growth and fixed mindsets.

Dweck popularized the idea of mindsets. She defines mindset as a simple idea that has a profound effect on a person’s life. ‘Mindset is the view that you accept for yourself what determines the way you live your life, see the world, and make decisions.’ After decades of research into people’s beliefs about themselves and their abilities, Dweck identified two fundamental mindsets that people have.

The first is a fixed mindset, which thinks that our abilities are innate or unchangeable. Our thoughts are rigid and conditioned. If we stick to a belief system, we are not able to look at an alternate point of view. When this mindset is predominant, failure can be unsettling because it makes us doubt ourselves from the root of who we are. The other way of thinking is the growth mindset, which means we expect that we can improve our basic qualities and capabilities. In this mindset, failure is not so problematic, for it shows us how to change and learn from our mistakes. We accept that change is inevitable, and in an ephemeral world, adapting to new ideologies and trends is necessary to stay in sync with the new generation. Resisting change affects our own mindsets.

Many people are afraid to change or push towards a goal because they feel that other people will not approve, or they might lose respect if they fail. It is true there are people who will judge or resent us for wanting to aspire towards a goal. But that is a choice that one must make based on one’s own mindset.

If you have a growth mindset, you are never too old to learn. 

In 2021, I trained to become a life coach. Having the mindset of a student was an adjustment, but by being a student, I have learned how to teach. With over 140 hours of training and coach practice, I have discovered ways to resolve limiting beliefs, and to empower others in finding their purpose to lead a more fulfilling life. My niche: mindset coach. We need a growth mindset to be open to change, to let go of old and bring in the new, to be brave enough to flow, undulating through the waters of life lessons.

2021 has been a year of learnings and great opportunities to redefine my priorities.

Having a platform to share my perspectives helped me understand my strengths and weaknesses. These platforms have given me opportunities to transform: Youtube channel, TEDx online, book launch plus coaching workshops @ Naveda, recognition at an Indian Businessmen’s Association event, launch at Bookazine, joining the WoHK, and completing a book project as a ghostwriter.

2021 has brought in many new people in my life. I am grateful for the cultivated relationships, stronger bonds, new friendships and the community of empowered individuals: life coaches, mentors, gurus, and wise souls who I have met this year, their very presence has taught me so much.

We are all born with certain skills, but our attitude toward improving them and ourselves ultimately determines our success in life.

Every moment in life is a moment of learning and understanding.

2021 has been a great teacher. Looking forward to another year of more writings and more discoveries.

Photo courtesy: @nellyhats

When I look at the word Pivot, it brings to my mind a childhood memory of a playground – the see-saw – a rustic long wooden board fixed onto a triangular base -the fulcrum/pivot. This part is not meant to move. The person sitting on either end of the seesaw, moves up and down. This is done by pushing down/pushing up on one end of the seesaw. As children, we would sit on the ends of the wooden board, and push with our feet to see-saw back and forth. It was fun, it was exciting and we would always want to be ‘up’.

In science, a pivot is ‘the one central thing that something depends upon.’

In business, pivot means to shift in a new direction, to adjust to a new environment.

The point of pivoting still means that there is ‘one central thing’ that is immovable, that is the point of strength.

Pivoting relies on experience, on the ability to see a foreseeable future with a strategic goal. It can mean pushing the horizon of the product or service, to adapt to new ways of living. People are adjusting to the existing and new trends in business, online communications, work, and relationships. While many have found ways to pivot, others are looking at existing resources, fine-tuning skills and talents, to navigate into new directions.

The Financial Times lexicon defines it as ‘a shift in strategy.’

If I was to put it in context of our self-development: It is an ability to shift our mindset.

Pivoting is the ability to look at reality from a new angle. It is said that a crisis can become rare opportunities to pivot into new situations. Our thought processes pivot around limiting circumstances to find solutions. And when we find that one thing that can work, we are facing ‘up’.

When I wrote the book on self-esteem, I never realised that what I was doing was ‘pivoting’. The immovable part of my skill was my writing skills, the shift was in understanding the new potential to write in the self-help space. And then, I pivoted into becoming a life coach, pivoted further into ghostwriting.

In this process of pivoting, I was opening my self up to new opportunities and pushing through my comfort zone. I like being in a safe space and in my comfort zone. Oddly enough, the pandemic has broadened my horizons, given me the confidence to learn new skills.

Writing comes naturally, alone, in the comfort of my environment, but it’s always been communicating through written words. To pivot strategically has given me a much needed motivation to speak, to interact with people, to exchange ideas and develop a new way of thinking. And build new friendships and bonds.

Pivoting challenges our own beliefs of ourselves. It gives us a chance to renew ourselves. When every news bite tells us everything is falling apart, we can easily get stuck in a state of analysis paralysis.

When we pivot – we challenge the status quo. We proactively make a change to better our immediate environment. It is a mindset shift first, before it is a strategic action. We then help others find a way to deal with their situations. We look at existing difficulties from all angles, and then shift, and making small shifts can become a win/win.

Founded on the strength of experience, we can learn to pivot into any new direction. We just need to think differently, make a shift from within.

Thinking differently means learning how to use existing skills into a new field of work.

My writing career has been a path of self-development. With a new mindset I have pivoted into the self-improvement field. As a life coach, I can niche as a Writing Coach. It means that I link up my decades of experience as a writer, in helping others develop and write. To inspire others to be who they want to be, follow their dreams, and make a difference, is a new pivot.

Do pivot. It gives you a chance to rediscover yourself, redefine your strengths and becomes a reason to find out your true potential.

See-saw through life, look at the world around you. Which way are you looking? Up or Down?