Change is daunting. Change is terrifying. Change invites in the unknown. But mostly, change is inevitable. The truth is that, throughout our lives, things are absolutely going to shift and move around and evolve. And while some of these changes are out of our control, there are definitely facets of our existence that are within our power to change for the better. And in her newest release The Pivot Year, author Brianna Wiest wants to help us do just that.
The Pivot Year consists of 365 daily meditations, each one guiding us through the process of becoming who we were always meant to be. However, while The Pivot Year is a new book, Wiest’s mission of self-actualization is nothing new. Over the past decade, Wiest has inspired and challenged us and encouraged us. Wiest’s work has been deeply important in my own life and I know this is true for countless others. Her writing has moved me, called me out, and brought me back together. And I know The Pivot Year will be another cornerstone book for me.
But don’t take my word for it. In her own words, here is author Brianna Wiest on her latest book The Pivot Year, which meditation was most important to her, and why she writes the way she does.
First off, congratulations on the publication of The Pivot Year! Can you give us a brief rundown about what this book is about and how it differentiates itself from your other works?
The Pivot Year is different from my other books primarily because it’s a collection of daily meditations. I intend for it to be something you can read bit by bit, to incorporate into a morning practice, or bedtime routine. I want it to be something that feels digestible and easy and not intimidating to approach. I think that no matter how hungry we are for change and inner growth, sometimes it can just be hard to find enough time — and I don’t mean minute for minute, but really the mental space. Everyone is busy. We all have schedules and responsibilities and stressors. I want The Pivot Year to be something that can have a profound and positive impact on you without taking up so much of your day.
For you, which meditation from The Pivot Year has been the most important in your own life?
This is a beautiful question and I think I would have to say it’s actually the few paragraphs that I included into the introduction, where I explain that the process of changing your life in the way it needs to be shifted is not one where you more closely align with external expectations, with the kind of person you think would make you more loved or appreciated or seen — but the kind of life that more clearly reflects the truth of who you are inside. The person you really are. The person you want to be. The life that gives you peace. The life that makes you proud. Even if other people don’t understand.
How does someone know when they are in the midst of a pivot period? In other words, how does someone know they’re actually ready to change their life?
None of us are ever ready for change, because change is never comfortable. So it’s not something that we will easily choose, even if it’s what we do genuinely want. However, I think what matters is reflecting on the fact that change has an inevitability factory to it. Our inner selves whisper until they scream — and the journey is about learning to hear and honor those whispers, to change when we are feeling nudged, before we are being forced.
Some years are more transformative than others, and a pivot year definitely will be one of the most expansive years of someone’s life. Do you have any advice for someone about to undergo their own pivot period? For example, are there any challenges to be expected? Anything beautiful to look forward to?
You are meant to evolve. You are meant to grow. You are meant to change. In the world we live in today, where we are often connected to a collection of every person we’ve ever known throughout all the phases of our lives, it can feel extra difficult to break through all of the layers of expectation and find our inner truth. I want you to remember that not only is this natural and normal, it’s healthy. It’s healthy to grow and experiment and it takes bravery to do so. Most people are content to accept a life that they can deal with, rather than fighting for one they will savor, one they will be proud of at the end of the day. When you begin your pivot period, you’re not just ending one chapter and beginning another. You’re opening yourself to a way of living that has you responding more to the moment you’re in. Adapting in real-time. It’s not about ever arriving at one single goal or objective. It’s about becoming the person you actually want to be, and living as them each day — even when it’s hard. It’s harder to live a life that’s not true. And I think that’s what you need to remember.
When it comes to personal growth, it can feel as though it is a never-ending journey. And, in a way, I think that is because the work of stepping into ourselves is never truly finished. And this can become exhausting, to say the least. With that said, how can The Pivot Year help make our healing and self-actualization journeys more successful and fulfilling?
My goal is to make growth feel more like the essence of, and an extension of, being wholly human… rather than a never-ending project to prove yourself as worthy of something you think someone else is withholding from you and might give if your prove yourself enough for it. My goal is to help everyone realize that this life will always present us with challenges, and it’s going to be how we learn to respond to them that determines our outcomes… not whether or not we can avoid them entirely. If we numb ourselves to the discomfort, we begin numbing ourselves to the joy. But that doesn’t mean we need to make our personal growth a constant forward motion. Often, the deepest growth comes from staying still. From learning to pause. From deep rest. From feeling that pinching, stinging hurt — and choosing not to act on it. Growth is as quiet as it is loud. And I hope that’s something The Pivot Year helps everyone to remember.
If you could go back in time at the start of one of your own pivot years, what do you wish you had done differently? And what would you have kept the same?
I wish I would have found my courage earlier. Every change I have ever made — beginning relationships and ending them, moving, again and again, altering and adjusting my work-life so that I had time and space for what I actually cared about, who I spent time with and didn’t, what habits and coping mechanisms I allowed into my life and then when I had to draw a line in the sand — it never came out of nowhere. It was always the inevitable end-point of a clear trajectory that I could see at the beginning. I wish I had found the grace and bravery to change course when I knew I needed to. I wish I had wasted less time.
For anyone who has not yet been introduced to you and your work, what would you want them to know about both yourself and your writing?
I am not trying to sound self-deprecating here, and I hope that this will come across clearly — I am just a person trying to figure it out. And I want for us to all figure it out together. I write what I have needed to read. What’s helped me and soothed me and moved me forward. And then I offer it up to whoever might need it next. I’m not special in the way that a lot of writers in my genre are. I don’t have any exceptional accolades, other than that I have felt deeply called to write my heart out, and have done it with all the truth and conviction I could muster, and have found the courage to share it, again and again, and I hope that when you read my words, you will realize that from one stranger to another… you really aren’t alone.
Anything else you want the world to know about yourself and The Pivot Year?
What I know for sure is that we cannot lose what’s meant for us. When we grow more completely into the people we are meant to be, the things that are meant for us meet us at a deeper and more beautiful place than ever before. Every time I was afraid to make a change, I was scared because I didn’t want to lose love in some way, shape or form. What I didn’t know was that to be loved as a person I wasn’t… is not to be loved at all. It wasn’t until I opened my heart to my own self… that others could meet it there, too.