Learn Your Pivot Type To Accelerate Purposeful Career Change

Originally published at Forbes.com

Over the last 20 years, it has been my honor to guide people from “just a job” to work that is fueled by passions and purpose. From this experience and ongoing research with professionals of all ages, seven Pivot with Purpose Types has emerged which can be helpful as professionals evaluate their options and make shifts toward more meaningful work.

These Pivot Types and their application were just piloted in an eight-week program that was completed last night in partnership with SC Johnson Graduate School of Business at Cornell University. Here is a quick three-step process so you identify your type and benefit from this new approach:

Step One: Identify your type.  Choose ONE of seven descriptions that most describes your current situation at work.

  1. Learner – You need a change but do not have a clear vision for what is next.
  2. Liker – You like your job. but you want to love it.
  3. Leaper – You want to change jobs and/or companies or are in a job search.
  4. Lancer – You want to start or grow a freelance career.
  5. Launcher – You want to start or grow a division, business or organization.
  6. Leaver – You want to focus on your legacy (succession, mentoring, retirement, volunteering, etc.)
  7. Linker – You are committed to a vision for what is next which includes integrating two or more of the above types.

Step Two: Focus on one strategy. As you build your plan for career change choose the best strategy for moving into more meaningful work. Here are examples of proven strategies for each type:

  1. Learner – Focus on identifying and developing your PASSIONS.
  2. Liker – Focus on sculpting your role based on your strengths while adding a meaningful PROJECT.
  3. Leaper – Focus on generating a long list of POSSIBILITIES.
  4. Lancer – Focus on creating or honing your PITCH.
  5. Launcher – Focus on identifying the best PEOPLE to partner with.
  6. Leaver – Focus on developing your PURPOSE.
  7. Linker – Focus on developing a reasonable PLAN that allows the right amount of time to develop each role properly

Step Three: Take actions that relate to your strategy. Think about attainable actions you can take over the next two weeks to move your best ideas into concrete change. Here are three examples related to each Pivot Type to get you started:


  • Make a list of 3 activities you use to enjoy in your past that you would like to explore again.
  • Go somewhere you have never been before to get inspired. This can be a place nearby or plan a trip far away.
  • Explore local lectures, events or conferences related to things you are curious about but do not have experience with and plan to attend one of them. Get out of your comfort zone.


  • Do an inventory of what is working well in your role and what could be better.
  • Ask your stakeholders to tell you about your strengths.
  • Leveraging your strengths, brainstorm 5 initiatives or projects that could be mutually beneficial to you and your organization. Get buy-in on one and go!


  • Explore options in your current organization. Network with people you trust.
  • Create a top ten list of companies that intrigue you and reach out to people in those companies through LinkedIn.
  • Reach out to three people you know admire and invite them to coffee to get their ideas.


  • Ask three of your current clients or potential clients to meet to discuss your services and how to better communicate value.
  • Update your LinkedIn Profile including adding a few new endorsements and testimonials.
  • Survey competitors and then, create or update your basic rate structure.


  • Spend an a ½ day in nature thinking about your best ideas and vision as well as the best people you need to help you for this venture. Use this exercise for preparation so you can be clear and grounded when reaching out to your collaborators.
  • Have three one-on-one meetings with your top performing team members or three people you want on your team to discuss your vision.
  • Create or update job profiles for your team to ensure all essential roles are addressed.


  • Survey local and global causes and make a list of the top ten that resonates with your spirit.
  • Create a list of people you want to spend more time with over the next year.
  • Review your body of work from the past and make a list of your top three most satisfying accomplishments.


  • Create three time-bound goals for each of your roles/pivot types for the next 90 days.
  • Write down a one-line purpose statement for each role. (Answer the question: Why do I have this role as a priority in my life?)
  • Make a reasonable plan for next week to address progress on your 90-day goals and remember to have some fun!

It is natural for your Pivot with Purpose Type to change as you make changes and explore options so you may want to revisit this process as often as once a week as you explore possibilities and move toward a clear vision and action plan.