Last week, I learned a lesson in how to pivot when things don’t go as planned. 

Even though I know that life is an unpredictable journey filled with twists and turns, and as we pursue our dreams and goals, we often encounter unforeseen challenges that force us to reevaluate our paths and make adjustments, life’s curve balls still seem to catch me off guard. 

Working with a trademark attorney, I submitted a trademark application last October for my upcoming course based on my book “Your Next Chapter. Dream It. Design It. Live It.” which is scheduled to drop in September. For the past couple of months, I have been busy putting the course together. Almost everything is done. Except for actually recording all the lessons. Thankfully.

This week, I was notified that my application had been rejected because the trademark was too similar and could easily be confused with one that had already been approved. Setback.

The attorney said we had the right to plead my case and explain how my trademark was different from the one already in the database. For an additional fee, of course. I said, “Let me think about it.” Finally, I paid to have a conversation where I could understand more about trademarks, the likelihood I’d be successful if I pursued it, and whether or not it was time to pivot.

It was time to pivot.

I had something else planned for this week, but I think this lesson in knowing when and how to pivot is a good one to share with you. A few years ago, I would have had a meltdown. The past couple of days have been very different, and I think I’ve come up with a new title for my online course that is even better than the one I had before. All because I approached the “pivot” in a much different, and dare I say productive, way.

Here are some mindset shifts I used that led me to actionable ways to adapt and grow when things don’t go as planned. 

  • Accept the Reality

The first step in handling any disappointment or setback is acknowledging the reality of the situation. It’s normal to feel frustrated or disheartened, but dwelling on negative emotions for too long can hinder your progress. By accepting the unexpected outcome, you free up mental space to explore new possibilities and find a way forward.

Having my trademark application rejected was disheartening, considering the time and effort invested. The attorney had done the initial research on similar trademarks, and while there was no assurance mine would be approved, I had moved forward with confidence that it would be. But, the reality is, had I decided to pursue it, I may have wasted time and resources with a “slim” chance of success. Just accepting that as a risk I wasn’t willing to take and this reality was just part of the journey allowed me to focus on my next steps with a clear mind. 

  • Reframe Your Perspective

Pivoting is not about giving up; it’s about shifting your perspective to see opportunities in the face of adversity. It’s reframing your mindset from thinking you’ve lost something to looking for the silver linings. Hard and disappointing as it was, instead of viewing the trademark rejection as a failure, I saw it as an opportunity to reevaluate my brand and make the title of my course even better.  

  • Learn from the Experience

Every obstacle is an opportunity for growth and learning. In this case, I used the trademark rejection as a learning opportunity. In collaboration with the attorney, I was able to analyze the reasons behind the trademark rejection and use that to research alternatives that would not only make my course better, but ensure success with a new trademark application. When things are outside your control, it’s important to be able to think clearly so you can take the right steps to not repeat your mistakes. 

  • Reevaluate Your Goals

Pivoting often involves reevaluating your goals and assessing whether they are still aligned with your vision. As I was researching other trademark ideas, I realized that this setback was perhaps a blessing in disguise. I found two other titles that are a much better description of my course and ideal audience than the one I had originally settled on. So when setbacks occur, ask yourself if there are any aspects you could improve upon. Then take the time to explore new opportunities and refine your goals and objectives accordingly.

  • Seek Expert Advice

When you’re faced with a setback and possible pivot, it’s important to seek expert advice. I reached out to the attorney handling my application, but I also talked to mentors, coaches, friends, and people in my online community for guidance and support. And you know what I found? Fresh perspectives and insights that helped me settle on the most amazing course title. One I hadn’t even thought of before. That’s the power of connecting with others and asking for input. 

  • Embrace Flexibility

Being flexible and adaptable is crucial when navigating through life’s uncertainties. Embrace the idea that your journey might not follow a linear path. Be open to adjusting your plans as new opportunities arise, and remember that a pivot doesn’t mean giving up on your dreams but finding different ways to achieve them. It would have been easy to throw in the towel, but that wouldn’t have done anyone any good. Being flexible allowed me to pivot with confidence to a much better outcome.

  • Harness the Power of Creativity

Creativity is a valuable asset when faced with unexpected challenges. Use your creative thinking to brainstorm innovative solutions. Honestly, this is one of my zones of genius. I love the creative process, and once I tapped into the right hemisphere of my brain (the creative side), the ideas just started to flow. I talk more about how the mind works in my course because being in the right mindset is so important when you’re in a transition or even just dealing with everyday life.

  • Be Resilient

Resilience is the key to thriving during tough times. Embrace the setback as a test of your resilience and determination. Remember, some of the most successful individuals have faced numerous failures before achieving greatness. I share some examples in my book, and I’m considering this trademark experience just one setback on my path to create and deliver an amazing course for women nearing retirement.

Life is an ever-changing journey, and embracing the pivot is an essential skill for success. When things don’t go your way, it’s not a signal to stop but an opportunity to adapt and grow. My trademark rejection taught me to tap into lessons I’ve learned about resilience, perseverance, and the importance of staying open to new possibilities. I hope these lessons will inspire you to do the same.

So, as you embark on the next phase of your journey, remember to accept the realities, reframe your perspective, and stay flexible and creative. Use setbacks as stepping stones towards greatness, and with the right attitude and approach, you’ll be amazed at what you can achieve even after a detour.

Always remember, the journey is just as important as the destination, and every twist and turn helps you become the best version of yourself. Even though the title of my course will change, the contents remain the same. You can get on the waitlist here. (Just click on the Next Chapter Plan™ Academy.)