Ep. 15: Pivot
ON THIS EPISODE:
Today we talked about the pivot, what it is, why it’s necessary, and what it leads to in both our hearts and our lives. We’ll also talk about ash-outs, exploding kittens, and why goods news is often bad news to many. And you don’t want to miss our ‘Be Kind/Please Rewind’ where we take it back to life pre-technology and pre-wifi.
INC Magazine Article: https://www.inc.com/alan-spoon/what-pivot-really-means.html
I’m Morgan Hansow and this is my husband, Dave - we’ve spent the last 20 years on a wild adventure that’s taken us to Africa, the Oprah show, and Hollywood.
Welcome to Chasing Unicorns… a podcast about giving ourselves permission to chase our dreams, explore our faith, and figure out who we are, all while trying to keep our crap together!
As Creatives, Humanitarians, and Parents, we’re learning (sometimes the hard way) that the hustle and pursuit of the elusive unicorn will never satisfy.
Each week we explore what it looks like to live authentic, passionate, and connected lives while being a part of a movement that’s trying to transform the world through story + grace.
Overview of today’s show -
Welcome to Chasing Unicorns! Today we’re gonna talk about the pivot, what it is, why it’s necessary, and what it leads to in both our hearts and our lives. We’ll also talk about ash-outs, exploding kittens, and why goods news is often bad news to many. And you don’t want to miss our ‘Be Kind/Please Rewind’ where we take it back to life pre-technology and pre-wifi.
This is our last podcast before Summer is officially over. I know all the schools back in our hometown of Grand Junction, CO started this week, but our kids have their first day of school this coming Monday. We’re trying to soak in the last few days of summer but I’m not gonna lie, I am actually really looking forward to some routine. It’s definitely bittersweet.
It really is. While we love summer and having our kids at home, it’s always a challenge, especially when you work from home, to find ways to keep kids entertained. Although, I will say, that this last year there’s been a significant shift to our kids planning their own social gatherings...since they both can text when around wifi, they’re in constant talk with friends and they’re always planning hangouts or meet-ups and then asking for rides! Yesterday was a mall day - we dropped them off a the mall with their sets of friends and for a few hours they hung out at the mall.
Yes and part of that is finding indoor activities - bc even though it’s been 3 weeks and the hype in media has dwindled, the fire here in Redding still continues, so air quality is not great. So maybe we should do a little fire update… The Carr fire is no longer a threat to the actual city of Redding, but it’s still burning. It has moved north and as of today it’s burned over 211,000 acres and is 67% contained (it burned 7,000 more acres yesterday alone) and there are still over 4,000 firefighters working relentlessly on the fire. We’ve been seeing the retardant planes flying over our house the last few days - although, part of that is b/c there’s another fire 18 miles northeast of us that started last Thursday - it’s burned 7,000 acres and is only 5% contained and they have 650 firefighters on that.
Yeah, it’s pretty crazy! Last year I remember having smokey days knowing there was a fire somewhere - but it’s been a different summer having them so close. But here’s the thing that’s interesting about Redding and Northern CA… our summers are dry and freaking hot. Back in CO, our summers were green and grassy - here our green and grassy time starts late fall and goes through spring and then it when the sun starts blasting us and temps start going over 100º, all the wild grasses get singed and turn brown and act as the ideal firestarter. I’m pretty sure it’s also like this up into Southern Oregon as well which is why they have several fires right now as well. So if you ever want to come visit, we’d recommend coming when it’s lush and pretty and green, not during the inferno of the summer!
Yeah, you actually don’t do well in heat Baby! Although, you in heat AND humidity is a really sore sight, I actually think you’re better in this dry heat.
That is true - all you have to do is watch Episode 5 or 6 of The FIND:Nicaragua to see what a baby I was in heat and humidity. But we actually had some relief from the heat and the smoke so...
Let’s start today’s show with a segment we haven’t done in awhile… “Be Kind/Please Rewind” - This is a segment where we connect with our inner child and give ourselves permission to drop the Adult BS to talk about and try things that add beauty, joy, wonder back to life
It’s true, we were both long overdue connecting with our inner child. It seems like that should be something that’s fairly easy to do during the summer, and honestly, we had high hopes for some fun shenanigans but with the fire and poor air quality, all our outdoor plans have had to go on the backburner
Right! Until now… Sunday morning we woke up and decided we needed a little family getaway—which in a lot of ways was fueled by YOUR need to getaway
Totally! You had the joy of a week in Rhode Island but the kids and I have been in our house for 3 weeks straight aside from volunteering and the occasional trip to a store or a movie. I know I’ve joked about being claustrophobic, but I really am and this past week the pressure of being trapped indoors by hazardous air quality was finally too much for me to handle. I had a couple mini panic attacks and our kids have grown idle and bored and were ready to be invited into something more. I had found this little remote resort in the middle of the forest - I was sucked into the story on Instagram about this couple that just bought the Mill Creek Resort in March and have been working to fix it up. So Sunday morning I called and they had one cabin available so we booked it, packed and left after church.
It was an hour and a half away (West - AWAY from the fires) and here’s where we REWIND.... We check in and you know, the first thing you do after you check into a hotel is load the wifi password into your phones, but here’s the thing… no wifi and actually no cell service! Totally taking it back to the vacations of our youth before the digital revolution!!! So Baby, what did we do sans devices?
Oh my gosh, sans… you’re a dork! But a cute and smart dork! Well first off, we breathed - we breathed DEEPLY (without masks) and we breathed with gratitude for the cool, clean, crisp mountain air. We wore sweatshirts (b/c the temperature dropped so significantly), explored nature, took walks, we engaged in meaningful (and playful) conversation, read, ate, and played lots of games. There was a great deck on the back of the little restaurant and you could check out board games so we played Jenga, cards, and this fun new game we ended up loving called Exploding Kittens which was a game that got its funding through Kickstarter.
Yessss! That game was SO fun and the cards were hilarious. Jadyn proved to be super sneaky and quite lucky - I think she either won every game or at least came in second! Playing that even sparked the family conversation of creating our own game - we all thought ‘Chasing Unicorns’ would be a good game title! Who knows!?
Oh geez, I’m not sure we need another thing on our plates, but knowing you I bet you already bought the domain…
Oh Lord! Well, aside from being inspired to create a game, we ate junk food, took pictures, laughed a lot, and just enjoyed each other’s company (well all of it aside the few hours when Jadyn got into a funk—I swear, these preteen girl mood swings… please tell me we aren’t the only ones dealing with this roller coaster of emotions!?).
Just keeping it real… the good news is the next morning, in typical Jadyn-fashion, she woke up and apologized and then was a delight the rest of the day. We took it easy, sipped coffee on our cabin porch and then had a breakfast over another round of Exploding Kittens and then packed up to keep exploring this wooded section of Northern CA we’ve yet to explore. We ended up driving to (and through) Lassen National Park which is something we’ve been wanting to do for the last 2 years. We learned a ton at the visitor’s center - like it’s one of the only parks to see all 4 of the different types of volcanoes. The largest, Mt Lassen, is an active (but dormant) volcano that last erupted in 1915. What did they say? It blew smoke/ash 30,000 into the air and blasted rocks, some of which landed a like 200 miles away?
Yeah, that’s what they told us.
Yeah, that’s crazy! Especially since Redding is only 100 miles away! At Lassen, we also hiked to a cold boiling lake and stopped to see hot and quite pungent bubbling mudpots that reeked of sulphur. Oh and we even found a ‘Morgan Summit’ right before we entered the park
That was a fun find! Overall our little getaway reminded me of what I remember of family vacations as a kid - snacks, car-trips, sight-seeing, outdoor exploration, and games. It was refreshing and it actually felt so nice to digitally disconnect!
So that said, we encourage you to find or create ways to rewind to simpler times when we were entertained by exploring nature and connecting over board games.
Yes! And we want to hear about your sans wifi excursions - tell us how you create family time and connection without technology. Or tell us about your recent trip to a National Park. Tag us on Instagram @HansowFamily or send us an email - firstname.lastname@example.org
Alright, it’s time for the Home (Office) Huddle in which we Talk about what’s surfacing in our current pursuits—both personally and professionally—as a Husband/Wife duo.
And this week, a lot of the conversations we’re having together and with friends involve the concept of pivotting. Basically learning to be flexible and hold things loosely. So we wanted to let you know a few of the ways we’re experiencing it, and some things that may help you learn to pivot better.
It’s true, for starters, this last week I got trained and started doing ash-outs with our church and one of the things they talk about often is being extremely flexible because during disaster relief, circumstances and needs can swiftly change.
And just for clarification, what’s an ash-out?
Yeah, well with a partial burn, a house that is burned but stopped by water and fire crew, they’ll do what’s called ‘salvage & recovery’ to help the homeowner recover salvageable belongings, but with a complete burn —where the entire house is burned to the ground—they conduct ‘ash-outs’ where a trained team comes in and helps dig and sift through the ashes to help the homeowner find anything of value. Usually the homeowner will have specific things they’re looking for, like dog-tags, coins, jewelry, documents, dishes, and family heirlooms.
And you’re all suited up and protected right?
Yeah, because the ash is considered toxic because of all the burned chemicals and plastics, you wear respirator masks, gloves, and these non-breathable tyvek suits that cover you from head to toe. With the heat, you’re sweating like crazy - I drank 6 water bottles and 2 gatorades in a 6-hr window and didn’t have to use the restroom once because I was just sweating out all my liquid.
That’s crazy, well I know we’re getting a little off-topic, but because this is so foreign to most of us, I think it’s worth telling. So what types of things did you find?
Well, we found some of the wife’s jewelry, the husband’s coin collection, some of their dishes, and even a couple of black/white family photos that were all singed/burned but somehow didn’t burn completely. And the amazing thing about ash-outs is that up until this point, everything the homeowner has experienced revolves around loss and tragedy and for the first time they get to connect with some of their salvaged belongings which allows for some closure and some hope - that not all is lost. The neighbor (whose house was saved) came over and told us that it’s the first time he’s seen the homeowners laugh and express joy since the fire. It was so rewarding to be a part of that - and I have another one tonight and then one tomorrow morning - so who knows what I’ll be digging out of the ashes.
And as tragic as this has been, it’s right up your ally to serve in this way because you are a treasure-hunter at heart Babe. I don’t mean to make light of it, it is utterly erie to drive around town for the first time this week and see complete neighborhoods burned to the ground. Our city lost over 1,100 homes—All that’s standing in most of the homes is a chimney and the remnants of appliances and cars in the driveways. But in getting back on track...all these people who had lives, plans, and homes are suddenly faced with the fact that everything they were planning on for shelter, safety, comfort is gone. They’re having to face the biggest challenge of salvaging what’s left, finding closure, and then starting to choose hope so they can find housing and figure out what’s next.
Yeah, we know about a dozen families that have lost homes and are in a season of holding everything loosely as they start to put the pieces back together. And in addition to the post-disaster recovery, we’ve had countless conversations with close friends and acquaintances in this last week where big life plans—things that have felt solid and a surefit—have abruptly changed.
True. We have a group of friends that helped start a charter school for their kids last year and this last week, a week before school starts, the Board of people they brought on and trusted to bring leadership to the school used their power to implement some huge changes that completely changed the trajectory and vision of the school and so they all pulled their kids from the school they had all helped start. We had a phone conversation just last night with a friend who had a plane ticket to go back to his home country this month only to find out the civil unrest is so dangerous that flights are possibly being canceled through the end of the year and so now he’s trying to figure out what his life is going to look like staying in America.
And you had a conversation yesterday with a friend about the film Asher had the honor to act in last summer. Well actually, both Asher and jadyn acted in it—It was originally going to release in the summer and then got pushed back to the fall and now it’s rescheduled for a release in early 2019 and even though it will ultimately be better in the long run to have the time to work on marketing and a distribution plan, it’s been a lot of Asher learning how to manage anticipation, expectations, and disappointments as things have changed over and over, especially about something he’s so excited and passionate for.
And even in our own lives. You’ve had a devastating blow about the publishing changes of the children’s book you helped write. You’ve had to work through that, and you’re still doing so because there are so many levels and layers with passion, creativity, and friendship. And then we’re in the process of creating a formal proposal for next step in the script we’re wanting to write, but in the meantime, I’m realizing that in order to take care of our family, I’m needing to pivot my design business, which is what pays our bills. So for the last month I have been taking huge chunks of time away from designing to work ON my design business so I can take it to the next level, which is something I’ve never done. I’ve completely redone my website, created design and website packages, and am now working on figuring out marketing.
Well, I know I’m sort of bias, but your new site kicks ass - it’s really good and I’m confident in your skills and know that you’ll be successful as soon as the word gets out!
Well thanks Hun, but I’m not going lie, it’s felt like a lot. By this point in life, I thought some other things we’ve been working on and investing in would have taken off and so I didn’t think I would need to take the thing I was doing on the side and turn it into my main thing for this season.
I know! And the truth is, it IS a lot. And all these things we’ve mentioned are a lot to us or the people we mentioned, especially when you’re talking about such emotional investments that revolve around things like home, creativity, and passions. As much as we try to learn to hold things loosely, the truth is there are initial blows that are layered in emotions - things that take time and perspective to unpack and yet before we can fully process and find healing, often there are decisions to be made - decisions that require immediate action — find a home, find a job, find a new school, start a new site, respond to the hurtful email— and the trick is to do this all while you find a way to protect your heart from bitterness. It’s no small feat to pivot in life.
And the truth is pivoting is absolutely necessary and success is often linked with the ability to pivot. This is true in life and especially true in business. Actually one of the key factors in determining whether or not a business will be successful is its ability to pivot. I recently read an article in Inc. magazine, that says:
“Pivoting” is a familiar word in the startup world. When your first business model isn’t working (and this happens more often than not), the CEO and team pivot to plan B. These are deep breath moments!
But pivoting doesn’t necessarily mean desperation. It can be a tool to discover additional growth--growth you might otherwise have overlooked.” - https://www.inc.com/alan-spoon/what-pivot-really-means.html
In fact, my buddy who I mentioned earlier about the charter school he helped start was telling me about what happened and said: “It’s funny - at 43 things are way less tragic - enough years, loss, and failure puts it all in perspective - it’s about the long game!”
That’s great wisdom and great perspective. The more years we experience, the more loss and disappointments we encounter and the more we realize that the world is not predictable or easily controlled like we maybe thought it was at one point.
Well I think when we’re young we see life as a sprint - a sprint to success and dreams and then once you start out and encounter the delays, roadblocks, injuries, etc, you quickly realize that it’s not a sprint after all, but a marathon. Really small issues feel enormous when you’re young, but the longer we’re alive, the more we realize that these issues are just part of life. It’s really about the long game and how we pivot to deal with these losses, disappointments, betrayals, failures, and setbacks ultimately determines how well we end up when we arrive at mile 23.
Totally, and wouldn’t you say that our mental, emotional, physical and spiritual health is really forged in confronting these things in a way that protects our capacity to stay in the long game? Again, it’s not easy, but it is true, the more of crap you deal with the easier it is to deal with more crap and not be totally taken out.
Yeah, and we also have perspective...if pivoting is a precursor for the success of a startup or a business, then pivoting should be a precursor for our personal success. I mean, I hate loss and struggle just as much as you, but I can honestly look back at the shitty times in our life and see the beauty that came from those ashes because we didn’t let it take us out.
Way to bring it back full circle Baby! Back to ashes… yeah, I 100% agree, the ability to pivot makes or breaks us AND nothing changes our character like suffering and loss (which is concept worthy of its own whole home-office huddle in itself), but I would say in hindsight we gain eyes to see how God uses the tragic and unexpected things we encounter to bring blessing and beauty if we’re willing to be soft and protect our hearts from bitterness. It’s always a choice...bitter or better.
Yes - so the charge today is better!
Alright, Let’s get to the GOOD NEWS - splices of what’s going right in the world
Even though we’re ‘hardwired’ to respond to bad news, we think it’s our mandate to be people who point out out the beauty and truth in the world wherever we see it - ESPECIALLY in the midst of struggle
Well...I don’t want to over share regarding the fires we’ve had these past few weeks here in Redding, but I want to share one piece of good news that has stood out to me. A few days into the fires, there were roughly 200 homes lost, and so at that point our church… Bethel, announced that they were going to give $1,000 to every family who lost their home. This was an amazing and tangible way to help struggling families get back on their feet in the coming week. I also read quite a few posts from these homeowners who stated that their insurance deductible was $1,000 and this was the exact amount they needed to begin getting that help. But then something surprising happened… over the coming few days, over 1,100 homes were lost. You can do math, but what was once a $200k commitment from our church quickly became a million dollar investment. And… they’ve kept to it! It’s beautiful and humbling to see the church be the church to the community it loves. r
This week I saw a story about a 36-year-old woman who tried to get a manicure in a WalMart salon in Burton, Michigan but was denied service. Angela, who is in a wheelchair, has cerebral palsy, which can cause her hands to shake and apparently the manicurist didn’t want to do them. Angela then shopped and went to check out and was talking to the cashier, a woman named Ebony, about her disappointment over what had happened. Ebony told Angela that if she waited until her next break, she’d give her a manicure. So Ebony helped Angela pick out a color and then they bought the goods and went over to the Subway restaurant in the WalMart to set up shop. Wow!!! What a beautiful story and incredible act of kindness. But more than that, what a beautiful heart Ebony… I love that Ebony heard Angela’s story and was moved to action instead of just offering condolences. If I’m honest, I probably would have just said I was so sorry to hear that and continued to check her out and say goodbye. It’s such a heart check to become the people who aren’t just moved to emotions, but are moved to action. So inspiring! - https://www.good.is/articles/wal-mart-cashier-helps-cerebral-palsy
Hey Dave?... How about a Deep Dive?
Richard Rohr: Naked Now quotes: https://www.amazon.com/Naked-Now-Learning-See-Mystics/dp/0824525434
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Brought to you By
“Today’s show has been brought to you by the word ‘’PIVOT” - life is about mastering the pivot. It’s not always easy and it doesn’t come without release - release of control, release of frustration, release of hurt/pain, release of anger and release of disappointment. But what we find on the other side of the release is life. So may your grip on life, circumstances, people and things loosen. May your perspective shift to see the silver-lining, hope, and joy that awaits on the other side of the current struggle. Better over bitter. It’s a choice, over and over and over… so give yourself grace. And may you remember it’s a marathon, not a sprint... so take a deep breathe, and then choose to pivot to the more… the more abundant, more connected, and more fulfilling life.
“Until next week...keep embracing the mystery, asking questions, and giving yourself permission to enjoy the process. And watch out for those freakin’ unicorns...they’re glitzy and shimmery and full of crap!” ;)