'The Pivot' Is The TikTok-Viral Concept That Gives You The Power To Reinvent Yourself

"Pivot ... PIVOT ... PIII-VAAAAAAT!" Ross Geller screamed this during an iconic scene in "Friends," and since then, we cannot get that word out of our heads. But it isn't just useful for getting oversized sofas up narrow flights of stairs. As it turns out, making a life pivot might be a crucial and necessary step into becoming the person you want to be, and it's taking TikTok by storm. 

"If there is one hill I will die on, it is the pivot," TikTok influencer Makena Smith said on her @makontherun account. "The pivot is when you make a really big life change and maybe it goes against the grain of how you've normally done things. The only requirement is that it has to be really scary." She explains she has made several life changes, including living out in a van, moving several states, and even trying her hand at engineering. According to her, the motivation behind these pivots was simply that they were what her heart wanted to do. 

Smith's words seem to be resonating on TikTok because her video has over 108,000 likes. Other influencers on the platform, like @dasiadoesit, also swear by the pivot. "I am 31 and I have been so many women already ... you can literally be anything," she said. So how do you pivot? Let's investigate.

Don't fear the pivot

Lots of incredibly successful people in our world have mastered the "pivot," which is basically chucking it all out and starting again from scratch. Whether that be in your career, your love life, where you live, or even small things like where you shop for groceries or how you garden, these changes involve bravely pursuing what you want, often with no security blanket to fall back on. 

Kumar Mehta, bestselling author of "The Exceptionals," wrote for Forbes that both Microsoft CEO Bill Gates and basketball legend Michael Jordan mastered the pivot. For Gates, it was leaving college to jumpstart the computer company, and for Jordan, it was when he began his professional basketball career after being cut from his high school varsity team. "When faced with a pivot point, the elite few take specific actions that drive them towards achieving their goals," Mehta writes. "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."

We might do nothing because fear holds us back from achieving what we really want, but New York Times bestselling author Erica Ariel Fox told Fast Company that fear should propel us forward. "What's worse, making a change that doesn't work out or just waiting and doing nothing out of fear? Or waking up 10 years from now and seeing that you're still on the same path because you were afraid to make a change."

Small changes lead to big pivots

We know that change is the only constant, but it turns out that it can play a key role in your survival of the fittest. "From a purely evolutionary standpoint, pivoting is necessary. It's how we got to where we are. We stay with systems until they break ... because we feel the pain of loss more than the pleasure of gain. When the break happens, we change," author Tricia Emerson told Fast Company.

Yet when most of us think of pivoting, we immediately think of quitting our jobs, leaving our cheating partner, or even finally sticking to those New Year's resolutions and going to the gym. "Those are the big ones that are visible from the outside, but there's so much more that happens in a continual way," Jenny Blake, who has a book and a podcast about pivoting, told Quartz. "If we put our focus on [the small moves], it makes the bigger moves less high-stake and less high-pressure." 

So if you want to get healthier, a small pivot could be walking more. If you want to be promoted at work, taking side courses to build your skills and abilities could be a small pivot. If you want to be able to move to the other side of the world, build a side hustle until it becomes your full-time job and you're able to move to Bali! Okay, so say it with us now in your best Ross Geller voice: "PIVOT!!!"