The Push-Pull of Pivoting: A way to get started on the new normal



My all time favorite Friends Episode where Ross aggressively asks Rachel and Chandler to pivot as they hilariously try to move his coach into a second floor apartment. 


I can’t hear the word pivot without thinking of that episode and silently saying the word like Ross says it…piVOT. 


In a matter of one week, I’ve had 4 different conversations on the topic of pivoting in our lives, careers and organizations after the urgency of this global pandemic passes. 


Clients, colleagues, friends and family are all asking similar questions:

  • How do we begin the process of doing what we need to do for long term sustainability?
  • How do we create opportunity and positivity from crisis?
  • How do we shift the direction of our strategies to meet our customers, patients, employees, students where they are now in their new normal?


We must find the good in the uncertainty and crisis. 


We must find peace in the unknown.


We must find excitement for the possibilities. 


And at the same time, continuous change and uncertainty is really, really hard. But in the words of Glennon Doyle, we can do hard things!


After going through the hardest experience of my life, the loss of my child, I’ve learned that joy and positivity can grow in even the harshest of environments if we nurture them by asking the right questions and using the answers to help us pivot.


There is a lot of dialogue in multiple forums around what comes next, how do we create our new normal after the dust settles?


My inbox is filled with fellow entrepreneurs encouraging “the pivot.”


I’m grateful for the reminders and resources and the push to pivot in preparation of the unknown future. 


At the same time I find myself being pulled back to the present and wanting to really experience this moment for what it can provide:  


A time to reflect.

A time to be honest with myself about what is working in my life, and what I’ve been resisting. A time to show up as who I truly am and to serve from that place.


If you are also feeling this push-pull to actively pivot and plan for the future, here is what you can do right now to lay the important groundwork for what a pivot into the new normal might look like. 


First, reject the notion that things will go back to normal.

Instead, embrace the possibility that this unique situation brings with it the unique opportunity to show up differently and implement differently. 


Next, think about the lessons you have learned by living and leading through this very hard situation:


  • Did you discover that your organization can actually get things done quickly, despite the bureaucratic roadblocks in the past?
  • Did you discover that you can implement strategies or ideas that are not perfect, maybe even a little messy for the sake of moving things forward?
  • Did you discover a new level of connection with your colleagues as you weathered the storm together? Did you meet their kids as they interrupted your zoom meeting or pause a discussion so they could let their dog outside? 


Brainstorm the lessons you have learned and do the same with your team.


Lastly, from those lessons, ask yourself and then your team four questions:


  1. What do we want to leave behind as we plan for the new normal?
  2. What do I want to do more of in a more meaningful and compassionate way?
  3. What were we resisting in the past that we now would benefit from considering?
  4. How were both our strengths and weaknesses magnified through this crisis and how will that define our new normal?


In the long term, we need to define the new cultural norms to allow a safe place to pivot quickly, implement new ideas, celebrate failure and find joy in the uncertainty. 


We need to really listen to our people about what they need to recover from the crisis and most importantly, what they really need to be the best of themselves in the organization. 


No doubt, there is pressure to pivot. The new normal we are in currently is just a preview of the degree of uncertainty that the new normal 2.0 will look and feel like.


And no one can predict the future. 


However, we can find ways to create our guardrails for success through beginning to ask the right questions, being open to the answers and focusing on joy and positivity when it seems there is none.


We all need support when adversity hits. Download this free Personal Action Plan for Overcoming Adversity based on my TEDx Talk: The Four Choices to Overcome Adversity. This plan will give you the confidence and focused action to take when you feel overwhelmed and circumstances seem out of your control

Personal Action Plan







Carrie Koh is a TEDx speaker, consultant, executive coach and healthcare executive with a passion for enhancing the way we communicate with one another to ensure efficient and innovative results with greater fulfillment along the way. She is the leading authority on transforming overwhelm to impact and teaching high performing leaders to lead teams through uncertainty. She would love to connect at