Pivotal Moments

At one point after some minor surgery, I hadn’t eaten very much for two days, either on doctor’s orders or because I hadn’t felt much like it. To my pleasant surprise, I found that I had lost three pounds. I decided to leverage that, and watched my eating for the next few weeks, which led to another couple of pounds. After 90 days, I had lost 12 pounds and was at a level I like to maintain.

I had leveraged a pivotal moment.

Pivotal moments are those usually abrupt occasions which can be exploited for major advances and improvements. They occur with amazing frequency, but we’re often too preoccupied to notice and appreciate them, or too scared to spontaneously capitalize on them.

These aren’t “impulses” which can get you in trouble (as in impulsively buying that $85,000 car which is reduced to $70,000 because it’s almost a year old and the dealer tells you it will be gone by tomorrow. Not that that’s ever happened in my life, long ago). These are occasions which you can consider and ponder for a while, but they do have a short life-expectancy. My decision to further my weight loss needed to be made prior to my having a cheeseburger and fries that evening, for example.

A client may tell you that there’s an afternoon meeting with international people and you’re welcome to sit-in if you’re still around. You have the choice of rescheduling your departure to a later flight in order to meet and chat with potential new clients in the presence of your existing one. Or do you simply say to yourself, no, that’s not what I had planned?

You meet a piano teacher at a social event who tells you she’s having trouble staying in business because she has no idea how to market what she does. You realize that this may be your final chance to obtain piano lessons, on a bartered basis. Do you make the time to help her and help yourself? You find that, unknowingly, you’ve built up 75,000 points in a hotel program that you pay little attention to, but that you can transfer to an airline. If you also transfer your other programs’ points to that airline, you could take an unexpected vacation to Italy. Do you take advantage of that, or resort to the excuse that you’ve already planned two vacations?

Pivots are part of leverage systems. I think that pivotal moments exist when we realize that we can use the event or situation as a fulcrum to gain strength and speed. Archimedes said, “Give me a lever, and I can move the world.”

A successful article can lead to a column. A well-received column can lead to a book. A popular book can lead to speaking appearances. You get the idea. It’s not enough to correct weakness, you must build on success.

Where’s your lever? Watch for your next pivotal moment. You may already be well on your way to a key goal and you don’t even realize it.

© Alan Weiss 2010. All rights reserved.

6 thoughts on “Pivotal Moments

  1. This pivot points works as stated by being aware and looking for those moments. I often use a scaling approach of asking clients (and myself) to imagine that 10 is you have achieved the goal (the goal is generally established through a conversation etc…) and 0 is when you called me. Once they choose where they are on the scale I, say a 3. I ask what they would notice, what would be different, how would you know you are at a 4 or 5.
    Finding bright spots and focusing on what and how to achieve is great.

  2. I agree Alan, I especially picked up that you shouldn’t follow through with a plan, just because it was a plan! Plans change.. me? I nearly always end up at plan B! and it turns out to be better than Plan A. Unless of course your plans are numbered..

  3. Excellent post, Alan! Sometimes we forget to watch for these unexpected opportunities. Thanks for the reminder.


  4. the only goal you really need is…. keep having them(goals) the real issue is that many people and organizations only put them together once per year and survive the rest of the year… the trick is to make goal setting and the awareness that new ones come up… a continuous process.

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