A pivot is a change of direction and, therefore, focus. Since most people in conflict focus attention in ways that get them stuck, freedom from a conflict means pivoting in three key ways.
Many of you know I’ve been working on my second book. Its working title is The Conflict Pivot. And today I’m going to introduce you to the Conflict Pivot framework.
In business, a pivot is a strategic change in a company’s direction, motivated by opportunity for greater success. In basketball, a pivot is a rotation to face another direction, motivated by a desire to pass or shoot the ball with greater success. In conflict, a pivot follows the same idea: Change the direction you’re focusing in order to achieve both a better outcome and peace of mind.
Pivots don’t mean that you must forget the past and ignore what has happened. Silicon Valley entrepreneur Eric Ries, credited with popularizing pivots as part of successful entrepreneurs’ business strategy, says this about pivots: “…successful startups change directions but stay grounded in what they’ve learned. They keep one foot in the past and place one foot in a new possible future.” Similarly, the conflict pivot doesn’t require you to dismiss the past as though it did not happen, but instead invites you to place your attention where it will matter: What will happen from here forward.
Conflict Pivot 1: Toward your reaction, not their behavior
What’s your stuck story? Like a movie trailer, your stuck story of the conflict is a montage of the most interesting moments, with certain scenes magnified and others omitted. It’s not the story of the conflict; it’s your story of the conflict.
The first pivot is to turn your attention away from their behavior and toward your stuck story’s influence on your own.
→ Recognize that you have a stuck story.
→ Detect its impact on your behavior in the conflict.
→ Identify what you dwell on and react to most in your stuck story.
Conflict Pivot 2: Toward the hooks, not the story
Why do you care? Conflict occurs when something important feels threatened. The things you’re dwelling on and reacting to most are hints about the true source of your unease.
The second pivot is to turn your attention away from your stuck story and toward understanding why you’re hooked.
→ Investigate the link between what you dwell on and what’s important to you.
→ Identify the perceived threat.
→ Discern your personal hooks and ways they influence you.
Conflict Pivot 3: Toward the future, not the past
What will you do about it? Conflict thrives in the unknowable past and in your reliance on the other to set things right. Face forward and take back your power to find real freedom from a conflict.
The third pivot is to turn your attention away from what’s happened and toward what’s next.
→ Uncover options for freeing yourself from the ways the conflict has hooked you.
→ Consider solutions that you can act on without relying on the other.
→ Rewrite the story of your future.
For most, the toughest part of pivoting is freeing yourself from the habits of mind that have kept the conflict stuck. Those old habits are like well-worn clothing, comfortable and familiar, even if threadbare or ill-fitting. As with the change of any other habit, your commitment to creating a new habit, along with a few key attitudes and actions, will be the key to success.
￼I’ll be writing more about conflict pivots here and there over the coming months and will have a worksheet available for download soon. Tell me…what do you think of the idea? Leave a comment with your thoughts.