The Power of Small Pivots in Your Money, Career, and Life
Confession: at the beginning of 2020, I was miserable.
I won’t go into too much detail, but it was like, “I might go missing and be discovered 20 years from now with a new name, living in a shack in rural Oregon” BAD (what- that's never crossed your mind?!).
It felt like I had been running full speed ahead and was just starting to realize that what I really wanted was behind me. And I was so far in the "wrong direction," that I couldn't even tell you what "it" was that I was missing. Everything just felt wrong, wrong, wrong.
I KNEW for a fact that I was heading in the wrong direction, but I couldn’t figure out for the life of me HOW to change course. I heard inspiring stories of people who quit their jobs and revolutionized their lives in what sounded like a weekend. I read articles about people who took a "leap of faith" into some new life and wished that I could do the same. I knew I needed a do-over, but there seemed to be millions of reasons why I couldn’t do something like that.
And here’s what no one ever seems to talk about in the personal finance community: THERE REALLY WERE! There were a hundred reasons why I couldn't just quit my job and start on some new venture! Perfectly valid reasons! I wasn’t just IMAGINING the rent that needed to be paid, the oncoming recession, and my total lack of savings. No matter what I read or listened to, I could never take a “leap of faith” because it rightfully felt like emotionally jumping off a cliff. I was unhappy, but I was still grateful to have food and a roof over my head. Any change that felt significant would have been too risky.
And yet, nearly every pillar of my life was still slowly crumbling around me to sacrifice for whatever "it" was that I was missing.
So instead, in January, when I felt like there was *absolutely nothing else I could do* I started making tiny changes.
- started saving a bit more
- spoke to a doctor about my mental health
- cultivated better friendships
- started Up at an Angle!
At the same time, the world began to slow down in ways that were outside of my control. My commute went from 3 hours a day to 1, and saving came a bit easier since everything was CLOSED.
Of course, I still didn’t know what good would come from any of it, if any. Truth be told, I started all of those things just to get myself from Monday to Tuesday, not January to August.
But guess what? Before I knew it, those small changes worked. It took me actually implementing those changes to figure it out, but I realized that although I couldn’t just drop everything and turn around, I could always pivot.
Each tiny change I made was like a 10 degree turn in the right direction. I’m not 100% where I want to be, but now- all the way in September- I can finally see it. It's like waking up in the middle of the night and hearing a bird chirp and the faintest tint of purple on the horizon and realizing that it will be dawn soon. What I want for my life is in my line of vision, and honestly? That alone makes a HUGE difference.
This is what I want for the Up at an Angle community. I see many people in the Personal Finance sphere reach major milestones often. That's awesome! But sometimes you feel like you’re stuck in a corner. You have mouths to feed and a mortgage to pay and half a dozen people to kiss up to.
While you’re dealing with all that, remember: there’s power in the small things too. One tiny change can be the difference between “I’ll never be able to do this,” and “Holy shit. It’s possible?”
A lot of personal finance can be a challenge, but you and me? We’ll get there.
If you enjoyed this article and want to take part in the Up at an Angle community, feel free to subscribe to my emails or follow me on Instagram, where I'll be hosting regular money challenges for the community to check in with. Thank you!