The Power of Pivoting with Monica Ortega

Monica Ortega is a professional on-camera host, speaker and author. She created the online travel show Monica Goes in 2014 to inspire others to break out of their comfort zones and go on adventures. As someone who's afraid of everything, she'll put herself through almost anything to show that if an average everyday person like her can do these things, anyone can.

Monica has spoken openly about how her personal setbacks have helped her pivot into creating a life that she loves. She speaks at events around the country helping others to embrace change and create their own dream life. She is a co-host on the podcast Stumblin' Forward which is all about the missteps of entrepreneurship and life.

She is also the author of The Power of Pivoting : How to Embrace Change and Create a Life You Love where she uses humor and wisdom to show you how you can lean into your own pivots and create opportunities from any situation, even the unexpected ones.

Inside This Episode

  • How to Know When It’s Time to Pivot
  • Signs That You’re Resisting Change
  • Why People Resist Change
  • How to Get Started in Making a Big Change
  • The Importance of Listing to Your Gut and Considering Timing
  • The Unique Factors to Consider When Thinking About Changing Careers
  • How Leaders Can Retain Employees and Have Important Values-Aligning Conversations
  • How to Use the Outside World to Let You Know When It’s Time to Make a Change







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John Ryan
You're listening to key conversations for leaders. This is episode number 49. Welcome everybody. In today's episode, we'll be talking about the power of pivoting with Monica Ortega will be looking at how do you know when it's time to pivot? What are signs that you're resisting change, and how leaders can retain employees and have important values, aligning conversations and much, much more.

John Ryan 0:24
Leadership is about vision. It's about creating a vision and sharing that vision with others in a way that inspires them to walk with you towards its fulfillment. Along the way, leaders encourage motivate, guide and even challenged people to bring their best each and every day. And it's all done through conversations. That's what this show is about better conversations for better leaders,

John Ryan 0:47
Hey everyone and welcome to key conversations for leaders. I'm your host, John Ryan. And today we're very special guest Monica Ortega. Monica is a professional on camera host speaker and author, she created the online travel show, Monica goes in 2014, to inspire others to break out of their comfort zones, and go on adventures. As someone who's afraid of everything. She'll put herself through almost anything to show that if an average person can do this, then other people can do the same thing as well. So Monica has spoken openly about her personal setbacks in life. And I would helped her to pivot into creating a life that she actually loves. She's the co host of the podcast, stumbling forward, and is the author of power, the power of pivoting, how to embrace change and create a life you love. Welcome to the show. Monica,

Monica Ortega 1:33
Thank you so much for having me on.

John Ryan 1:36
Oh, it's an absolute pleasure. Would you mind telling us a little bit about you know, what inspired you to write the your new book, The Power of pivoting?

Monica Ortega 1:44
Yeah, well, it's kind of crazy. Because even a year ago, this wasn't even on my radar. Like being an author writing a book was not something I thought about. I did think about kind of talking about the story of, you know, my divorce and starting the show and all of those things. But I thought I can't write about this. I'm in the middle of the story. And then I thought, Well, you know what, my middle might be somebody else's beginning. And then 2020 happen. So all the travel contracts, speaking engagements, all those things are out the window. And everybody was finding themselves in this pivot. And, you know, dealing with big changes, maybe for the first time and I thought, well, this is something I'm good at. I've changed a lot of careers. I've been through relationship changes. And so I thought, well, let me just sit down and see if I can write anything. And I think it was like three weeks later, I had a book and I was like, Oh, I guess I had some stuff to say. So yeah, it's been a whirlwind, learning about how to publish a book and all of those things. So

John Ryan 2:38
Well, I know, we were talking before we started our conversation, the 2020s been a big pivot for you and the rest of the world. Really? What advice do you have for people, you know, trying to pivot and find their new way in where they want to go in life?

Monica Ortega 2:55
Yeah, well, it's so funny, right? 2020 sort of brought up the pivoting for everybody. But the truth is, we're changing in our lives at all times, right? So the sooner that we can get our mindset, from setbacks, to setups and starting to see these things as opportunities, the better off we'll be in every change throughout our lives. Right. So the advice that I would have is one, be kind to yourself, especially now, because none of us have you ever gone through anything like this before? reach out to people if you need help, but then also try to see this as an opportunity. You know, especially it's, it can be hard with everything we've lost, right? You've lost jobs, you've lost people you love, maybe, but it's a anytime you find yourself in a change or a pivot, it's a good time to step back and go, Okay, so it didn't work out the way I thought it would. What can I do from here because we can only control how we react to things, right? Not all the things that happened to us, or that I say happened for us. So it's really just shifting that mindset going. Okay. All right. It's a new beginning. So where can I go from here and then putting those steps into place into making those things happen?

John Ryan 3:58
You mentioned a couple different ways that the setbacks, the setups, I love that frame and I heard that before it's awesome happening for us rather than happening to us are there is that mindset piece, that there's a positive attention there? how important you think that is in resiliency and adapting to the changing environment?

Monica Ortega 4:18
I think it's the most important, right? Because it's so easy to get in that victim mentality and think I've lost this and focus on all the things that are negative. But if you can reframe it and go okay, I lost that job, but maybe that wasn't the job you loved anyway, so now what can I do with it? And if you can reframe that and build out a life that you actually love, you can take steps toward getting it.

John Ryan 4:40
You know, I think as a species, we love normalcy. We love certainty. We also love variety, of course, like how do you how do you know when it's time to pivot and to let go of the way of the old Are there any telltale signs?

Monica Ortega 4:54
Yeah, I always say I think our gut knows we're going the wrong way. We don't always know when we're going the right way. But we definitely know when we're going the wrong way. And sometimes that doesn't pop up right away. You may try a job you're a couple years in, you're like, I don't know. But then the next year, your gut is screaming at you, this is not for you. So it's definitely a timing thing to you know, people say, How do I know if I'm in, if I should leave my relationship or something, right. And I'm like, only you can decide that because your gut will get to a place where you know, you got to go, or it doesn't happen. And then you stay. But like, same with jobs, all of those things. So it's really truly tapping into that gut. But also, you know, for figuring out what you want to do, I love a good pivot, because it's a good time to figure it out, right? So I'll do all these different steps of visualizing what I actually want, what does my life really look like? What is my day to day in my dream scenario, and then you start putting those things into practice to figure out how you actually get to where you want to go.

John Ryan 5:52
You said, I love that idea. I love a good pivot. Right? So it sounds like you really embrace change. Sometimes it seems like to the outside observer that pivoting feels like there's a lack of direction, but I suspect for you and I know in my life as well, that all of those different pivots have actually been for the same intention. What do you encourage people to say to people who are looking on the outside, it feels like you have no direction? Or you're all over the place or something like that?

Monica Ortega 6:18
Yeah, I think especially in those moments, right, we can feel like I don't know which way to go. Or if there's multiple choices, I don't know which one to choose. And so that is where like, I will put the steps into place that I kind of talked about my book is, I was not very woowoo. It took me 10 years in LA to get to that point of vision boards and all of that. But because I'm very type A, so I put together the two I'm I'm woowoo. But I figured out a plan. So what I tell people, when you find yourself there is go through the steps. So for me, I sit down, I close my eyes, I visualize, literally I wake up, who am I next to what does it smell like? What does it look like? What am I doing? And then go through the day, right? what's the what's the job, what's the family life, and then I open my eyes, journal it out, do the vision board, create that physical thing. But then I take it one step further and start figuring out the steps. So if in my dream life, I get up, I run nine miles, and I'm all super fit, but I can't run right now. I literally work it backwards, do okay, so if I run half a mile now, if I put myself on that dating site, if I put myself on that job site, you start putting those steps into place that take you to that place. So for me, I know that change is scary.

Monica Ortega 7:27
But that's where it can be fun to create that vision board and create that new image and create that new life. And that can happen many times in your life, you may be living your dream life. And then you you know, have a loss or have a kid or like all these things change, go back to square one, create that vision board, it gets really exciting, when you can start seeing the opportunities. I was actually just talking to somebody she was talking about her last kid is going off to college, and how sad she was about that. And then a friend said, you can do whatever you want now, and it reframed her mind of, there's a lot of opportunity here too. It's okay to be sad about the things you're losing. But then you have to take one step further. And what can you look forward to

John Ryan 8:07
100% Congratulations, by the way on making it 10 years in LA without doing vision boarding. And now embracing No, just kidding. But but the vision board is an expression of vision, which is something that's used in all aspects of life, you know, without a vision people perish. If you don't know where you're going, any road will get you there, what suggestions you have for people who they have that vision, they know where they want to go. But they're resisting, they're dragging their feet on making those simple changes that you're saying, like I don't know how to run, I'll go well, I got to start here start where I'm at what suggestions you have for someone who is resistant to creating that change?

Monica Ortega 8:41
Yeah, I would say really chunk it down and really work it back. Because I think sometimes we see the big goal. And it's like, I don't know how I'm gonna get there. Okay, I see this book, or I see speaking to huge audiences or whatever, you really have to like, chunk it down. So small to the point of, I'm just gonna get on Instagram and do a story, maybe to work up to speaking like, make it so ridiculously small, and then celebrate all of your wins. And another thing that I always say too, is I love to like write a letter to myself of the things that I've accomplished. So if you get to that point of never gonna get there, Oh, my gosh, it feels so far away, go back to that and go, Well, I've done this, this, this this. So I do have that in me to make things happen. And then just make it really small. And don't let those setbacks like stop, you just go. Okay, well, tomorrow's a new day. Let's try again.

John Ryan 9:31
I love that lots of golden nuggets right there in the power pivoting. It seems like it can be used in any area of life. We talked about health. You know, is there anything unique about career pivots that have to be thought of ahead of time? I mean, relationship you said obviously you have to decide for yourself, you have to trust your gut. Timing is an issue as well. How do you know when it's time to pivot in career?

Monica Ortega 9:53
Yeah, I mean, that can be a hard one, especially when you figure in money and supporting family and like all these different issues right. So So I do think your gut still knows, you know, I've worked at a restaurant for eight years. And I think I knew you're one that I should have left there. But I stuck it out. And eventually it got to a really bad place. So when you start seeing those signs, it comes out in other ways, too, right? Whether it's career relationships, whatever it is, you find yourself road raging, you know, you find yourself crying randomly your body starts reacting in these ways of something is not right. And then it's the time to look back and go, Okay, what is it that's causing these physical reactions? Now, hopefully, you can figure out before you get to the place where your body starts reacting. But yeah, it's really piecing together do I like what I'm doing? Do I like who I am? I think that's a big key, too. Because sometimes we put so much on our career, or our titles, or all these different things, but it's truly do I like who I am? Do I like the value I'm bringing into the world do I wake up and enjoy myself and the people around me. And if that's not the case, then it might be time to start looking at changing. And the crazy thing about careers is, I feel like every time we pivot in a career, we somehow feel like we're failing. I don't know why the world has put that out there that changing careers is bad, because the average person changes careers seven times in their life. And it's not taking a step back, it's failing forward. Every time you switch careers, you're getting closer to the one that you love. Now, I'm not saying just like, pop in and out, you know, give them tries, stay a little while. But if it's not for you, it's okay to change.

John Ryan 11:29
I love that sounds like it comes back to reflection, self reflection, knowing yourself being aware of being present to if you're crying randomly. If you're having stresses and getting road rage, all these other symptoms, that can really indicate there's a bigger issue, then it's time to do some reflection and figure out is this job lining up with my values and my goals, my dreams that I want to fulfill. Now, the pivoting part is obviously on the end, like on the personal individual level, is there anything employers you see can do to create space for people to pivot to have variety and create that values fulfillment in the organization without having to change careers seven times, let alone jobs in those careers?

Monica Ortega 12:12
Yeah, you said it's variety, right? So if you're an employer, and you see that you have an employee that's struggling, you see that they're not getting along with their co workers, they're angry, they're not productive, whatever it is, try some different stuff. Maybe asked how the person learns, or what is it that excites you, because I also feel like we get these natural nuggets of information in our life, right of what we're good at. So I pivoted in the entertainment career for 20, over 20 years, oh, gosh, I'm aging myself. But I knew I liked that field. So it was like, Okay, I'm going to try acting, I'm going to try singing, I'm gonna try these different things. But I kept getting hired as a host, until it finally hit me that this is what I should be doing the all the signs are there. So you can be within the same job. But ask your employees like, what is what part of your job do you love? What part of your job do you not love, maybe there's a way to separate because maybe somebody loves tech, but somebody else likes people. So there's a way to like delegate the different jobs within that. And then give your employees more things that they love, and less of the things that are stressing them out. Or at least like chunk it down in time. But I think that there's a way to delegate that so that everybody's doing exactly what they're supposed to be doing and what comes natural to them.

John Ryan 13:23
This one seems like that same process of introspecting for the individual can still be applied from a leadership perspective. So pay attention like you what is individual pay attention to? If you're stressed, if you're breaking down, if you're having road rage, the leader can do the same thing? How is this person showing up at work? are they showing up late? are they missing appointments? Are they getting frustrated? Whatever are the emotional outbursts, and having that conversation interpersonally instead, so the same tools for pivoting, you just have to be more mindful of it as a leader? It sounds like,

Monica Ortega 13:54
yeah, and having that communication, I think so often in jobs, you know, the manager is so far apart from the employee. And instead, you really need to have that communication, you need to be open, you need to be observing and see are the people happy there, if nobody's happy at their job, it's not going to help productivity or the bottom line at all. So you want happy employees because then your money will go up and your quality of life and job will go up as well.

John Ryan 14:20
You know, communication conversations are so important, both with yourself and other people. You know, here are key conversations. We think conversations are key to creating change. And obviously for pivoting, would you mind sharing a little bit? You know, is there any Are there any conversations that stand out for you that had a big impact on you your life or personally or professionally?

Monica Ortega 14:40
Oh, man, that's a good question. I guess professionally, so I realized when I was unset, and I was wondering if I'd be home in time for dinner, or if I would be home in time for the Bachelor. I thought this isn't lighting me up. So it was actually the book Jen. You are badass by Jensen chair that I was reading and it was like When do you lose time? When are you your best self? When are you the person you want to be all these things? And that's when I kind of put two and two together that it was hosting. So it was really a conversation, I guess, with myself of trying to figure out, Okay, this isn't working. So where can I go from here? And then, personally, I think a lot of it shifted from I feared change my whole life, I thought life had to be linear, you get married, you have kids, you know, all these things, right? And for me, when my divorce happened, which I found out overnight, my husband was cheating. And the rug got pulled out from under me that I finally stopped and went,

Monica Ortega 15:34
Okay, what do I actually want from life? Who do I actually want to be? Maybe I didn't, I didn't want to check those boxes. I don't want to marry that guy. like, Okay, so now what, and it was this golden opportunity of not caring what the world thought anymore and actually asking myself what I wanted. So that's when I started kind of implementing that into every aspect of my life and seeing that change doesn't have to be scary, it can be really, really exciting and there can be a lot of opportunity. So I just think having those conversations again it's introspection having those conversations with yourself but if you're in a workplace or in a relationship and things are getting tough be okay being vulnerable and having those talks as well because sometimes just saying that out loud the solution will come

John Ryan 16:20
in thank you for sharing about Jensen Cerro and like because it is a conversation when you're reading a good book that cause you to reflect your life it is a conversation so thank you for for highlighting that and for sharing your wisdom on on pivoting and and where can people find out more about you and also to pick up your book power pivoting?

Monica Ortega 16:39
Yeah. So everything the travel show, the podcast, the book, they're all on my website, Monica goes calm. And then on social media, it's at Monica goes show or add power pivoting. And then the book is available on Amazon.

John Ryan 16:52
Fantastic. I'll put all those links in the show notes. And Monica, thank you so much for being here. Really appreciate it.

Monica Ortega 16:57
Of course. Thank you for having me on.

John Ryan 16:59
Wonderful. And thank you for watching and listening until next time, develop yourself, empower others and lead by example.

John Ryan 17:06
Thanks for listening to key conversations for leaders with your host John Ryan. If you enjoyed the show, please let us know. Give us a rating or write a review. And if you'd like to connect with me and other like minded leaders, I invite you to join our Facebook group called Develop, Empower and Lead where I deliver free live training every week. If you go to it will redirect you right there. Hope to see you there soon.

John Ryan

Host of Key Conversations for Leaders Podcast, Executive Coach, Consultant, and Trainer

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