STAGE ONE: PLANT — RESOURCES
Plant by creating a foundation from your values, strengths, and interests, and your vision for the future. The most successful pivots start from a strong foundation of who you already are, what is already working, and how you define success, no matter how broad that initial vision might be. The Plant stage explores: values, vision, strengths, and finances.
What are the hidden costs of digital clutter? How can we counter screen addiction and phantom phone vibrations? We explore these topics in this episode with Cal Newport as we discuss his new book, Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World.
Cal Newport is a familiar voice on the Pivot Podcast and back by popular demand! On our first episode we discussed deep work—the increasingly important deliberate practice of focused work, especially in a world of cognitive junk. Now we turn to digital minimalism: applying a just enough mindset to our personal technology, freeing ourselves from the overwhelm, distraction, and “fear of missing out” side effects of the always-connected world. Or as Cal quotes Bill Maher from May 2017: “Likes is the new smoking . . . Philip Morris just wanted your lungs, The App Store wants your soul.”
As I get up to speed in my first semester at Union Theological Seminary, I’m re-launching a few of my favorite podcast episodes from four years of archives: I hope you enjoy some of these oldies but goodies, particularly if you missed them the first time around! Here’s a conversation I loved with Cal Newport from April 2016.
When was the last time you were in the zone?There’s nothing I love more than working with time flying. The sun rises and sets and I barely notice because I’m so engrossed in my work. Cal Newport calls this deep work, and says that contrary to what many assume, it is a skill, not a habit. That means it takes deliberate practice, and is a cognitive muscle that can atrophy with disuse—something we are all prone to as we get sucked into network tools like social media and email. I loved this conversation and I know you will too! Enjoy
“At the exact point that deep work is becoming increasingly valuable, it is also becoming more rare.”
As I get up to speed in my first semester at Union, I’m re-launching a few of my favorite podcast episodes from four years of archives: I hope you enjoy some of these oldies but goodies, particularly if you missed them the first time around! Here’s a conversation with one of my author superheroes, Martha Beck, who says “Suffering is a sign you are about to be woken up again.”
This week we tackle a tiny little topic—enlightenment—with one of my all-time favorite authors and thinkers, Martha Beck. I have read all eight of Martha's books (two or three times each) as they helped me through some of my biggest transitions in life and work. Martha is someone who blazes her own trails and has inspired me to do the same time and time again.
I admire Martha for her tremendous courage. She's been through hell and back, from leaving the Mormon church despite getting death threats and her entire family disowning her, keeping her pregnancy after finding out her baby had Down Syndrome and her Harvard colleagues suggested otherwise, or following her body's signals to turn away from the academic life that was making her sick, and even saying no to Oprah when it didn't feel right to say yes.
This is one of my favorite interviews, and a conversation that is crucial for understanding and revealing the hidden influences that shape many of our views on society, wealth and power. I have heard terms like white privilege (which applies to me), but I hadn't thought to look into the notion of invisible privilege until earlier this year. You may think it doesn't apply to you (as I used to), especially if you're not in the "Top 1%."
But as a recent Atlantic article revealed, The 9.9 Percent is the New American Aristocracy, privilege is something that affects more of us than we might immediately self-identify with, particularly for many who see themselves as part of the "middle class." (A necessary note: some of you may be in the Top 1%—and you're welcome here!—and some of you may be struggling to get by, and you're welcome here too).
After hearing it thrown around quite a bit in social change circles, I got curious. What does invisible privilege really mean? How does it affect me, and others like me? And how does it relate to broader social change? I'm so grateful for Karen Pittleman, who answers these questions with kindness, compassion, and clarity in this week's conversation. I can't wait for you to hear her story of giving away a $3 million trust fund when she turned 24 years old (now she's given over $13 million to activist-led funds), and her input on how we can all work together to redistribute wealth and power as we work toward a more just society.
Although many of us aspire to rewarding morning routines (and enjoy geeking out on the best of what others come up with), on some days just getting out of bed is a victory. To this end, one of my favorite quotes from Benjamin Spall and Michael Xander's new book, My Morning Routine: How Successful People Start Every Day Inspired, comes from Ana Marie Cox, a political columnist and culture critic.
Cox says, "When you come up with a morning routine, understand that you’re undertaking it in order to do something good for yourself, not to meet some stranger’s standard of productivity."
With that in mind, I invite you to this week's conversation with Ben where we discuss common themes across morning routines, and how to take some pressure off of trying to meet impossibly high Inner Critic Morning Routine Police expectations. I'm also honored to be featured in My Morning Routine, with a subtitle for my chapter that made me chuckle: "When your evening routine starts at 3:00 in the afternoon." Listen in to find out what I do with all that wind-down time :)
What is fear keeping you from doing? Is it worth it? Are you afflicted with an additional form of OCD, Obsessive Comparison Disorder? What are the pivotal plot points of your story, the triumphs and the tragedies? What sacrifices are you willing to make to honor your soul values?
These are the powerful questions that my longtime friend Paul Angone asks and collects in his new book, 101 Questions You Need to Ask in Your Twenties. The book covers four categories that we also dive into on the podcast: adulting to win, careerish, relationshipping and finding your signature sauce. I love Paul's humility and humor, and I can't wait for you to see which of the questions we cover might just change your day, your week, or your life :)
"My father had been like a broom, constantly sweeping me out into the world, and my mother was like the dustpan gathering up the shattered pieces and rebuilding me, only to have my father sweep me out again."
—Eric Weihenmayer, No Barriers: A Blind Man’s Journey to Kayak the Grand Canyon
This week's guest, Erik Weihenmayer, needs no introduction beyond his incredible life story and mission, and I cannot wait for you to meet him. Erik is an adventurer, author, activist and motivational speaker, who has also become a celebrated and accomplished athlete despite losing his vision at the age of 13.
He was the first blind person to reach the summit of Mount Everest, on May 25, 2001, and completed the Seven Summits the following year, joining 150 mountaineers at the time who had accomplished that feat, but as the only climber who was blind. In 2005, he co-founded No Barriers, a nonprofit organization with the tagline, “What’s within you is stronger than what’s in your way.” The organization helps others with diverse backgrounds and abilities attack challenges head on, problem solve, build winning teams, and serve others. In September 2014, Erik and blinded Navy veteran, Lonnie Bedwell, kayaked the entire 277-miles of the Grand Canyon, considered one of the most formidable whitewater venues in the world.
That’s the focus of his recent book, No Barriers: A Blind Man’s Journey to Kayak the Grand Canyon. In the foreword, Bob Woodruff said, “Erik is simply one of the most remarkable men I have ever met.” I agree, and not just for what he has accomplished, but for who he is—full of heart, soul and inspiring hustle. This episode is one you won't want to miss.
"Mama well she told me time / is such a wonderful gift / You're not running out / You're really running in."
—Lyrics to You Can't Rush Your Healing, by Trevor Hall
I am absolutely elated to bring you this week's guest—one of my favorite artists, singer/songwriter Trevor Hall. Trevor's divinely-guided music is infused with soul and spirit, and lifts me (and so many others) up who crave connection to meaningful lyrics and exquisite melodies.
We talk about the inspiration behind his new album, The Fruitful Darkness, with a special song premiere of "Karma" at the end of the episode (I got to choose my favorite from the new batch—which was not easy to do)! We also dive deep into astrology as a guide to our inner blueprint, how he "hears" songs before he even knows exactly what they mean, staying in flow while touring around the world, and finding blessings in the dark, unwanted, or unknown times of life. I hope you enjoy this conversation as much as I did :)
Ideal Day Madlib Template: Fill-in-the-blanks in this document to articulate what your ideal day looks like. Bonus points: do one version for your wild-and-crazy vision, then do another for your ideal average day; what an energizing “regular” work-day might entail.
Knowns vs. Unknowns Template: Before moving on to the Scan stage, summarize your known variables for your one-year vision, as well as remaining questions.
Hotter/Colder Exercise: Reflect on the last week and figure out when you were in the zone (what you might want to do more of) and when you felt bored or indifferent (what you might want to do less of)
Time Tracker and Schedule Blocker Template (3 Tabs): Especially great for those with flexible schedules, the time tracker and schedule blocker template will help you analyze where your time is currently going and help you put your ideal average day plan into tangible weekly terms.
Job Interview One-Sheeter: This template condenses nine key questions into a one-page “Cliffs Notes.” Quickly articulate your answers to 9 key areas, including: strengths, goals, work-style, ideas, challenges you have overcome, questions & an answer to that dreaded “weaknesses” question.
Four-Step Budget Template: Most budgets are too cumbersome to be useful. Check-out this handy 4-step budget: After filling in income, must-have expenses & nice-to-have expenses, you’ll get a “monthly allowance” for you to spend on discretionary items as you’d like.
Financial Modeling Template: Get a bird’s-eye view of your business model, and track your business income and expenses with this template. This more robust template helps you assess baseline expenses for living and for running your own business. It also includes simple financial modeling tables to map out potential income sources, such as the number of clients needed at specific rates.
Test Your Side Business Ideas: Side businesses are great experiments: you have a hypothesis about something that interests you that could make money, and now it is time to test your theory.
Your Career Permission Slip: Created by PIVOT coach Lisa Lewis. In a stark contrast to when you were a minor, you do not need anyone's permission to make a change in your life except your own. In fact, holding out for permission from others is often a reason why we end up in frustrating career situations in the first place. So grant yourself permission to start today.
Chili Soup Recipe & Grocery List: Reduce decision-fatigue with this chili soup recipe that lasts all week. Healthy, hearty and delicious, meals can be one less thing to worry about when grappling with bigger pivot questions.
Mind Map Tools: Nothing beats pen and paper, but for online mind-mapping tools, check out Bubble.us and MindMeister. If you have an iOS device, check out Simple Mind and the Post-It App (which allows you to photograph and re-arrange post-it notes).
PERSONALITY & STRENGTHS ASSESSMENTS
Strengths Finder 2.0 Assessment: One of my favorite assessments for aptitude. Identify what your natural talents are and acquire the language to talk about your strengths.
Stand Out: Similar to StrengthsFinder; book with accompanying assessment