Get What You Want – Even When You Don’t Get What You Want!

Pivot - Hari Kalymnios

Confused? Yep, me too.

How can you get what you want when you don’t get what you want? Last weekend I went to a national convention of professional speakers – the MEGA conference for the PSA (Professional Speaker’s Association). I was there (amongst other reasons) to speak in the semi-finals of their annual competition for newbies (like me) – Speaker Factor. You have to give a 5 minute speech and the version I gave can be found here: If you’ve watch this video ( you’ll know that I didn’t actually get through the heats with that first entry. Luckily I entered in a second region (the rules permitted two entries) and got through! Although that one wasn’t recorded.

Anyway, I digress.

So that’s why I was at the conference – to speak in the semi-finals (on the Friday evening) with a view to being one of the 5 selected to speak on the Main Stage on the Saturday in front of everyone. The semi’s were held in a small break out room only allow about 50 people to sit in (instead of the 200+ that would be watching on Saturday).

My main outcome was naturally to win Speaker Factor. I gave a good performance too (I’m told) and …… shock horror…… did NOT go through to the finals! 🙁

So my dream of winning and also speaking on the Main Stage – which was really also a goal – wasn’t going to come true.

Or was it…?

Here’s what happened. I decided – literally 5 minutes after finding out I hadn’t made it through – to do something a little risky.

On the Friday evening, there was to be a Comedy Night. 12 volunteer speakers from the PSA had spent months crafting their 5 minute sets to entertain the crowds at the evening event.

And what did I do….

I asked the organiser of the Comedy Night if I could enter. This was around 7.30pm when the evening started at 9.30pm! As luck would have it someone had dropped out and so I could claim their spot.

Now I just had to come up with the goods.  Back in 2012 however I had actually done a comedy course and I suspected that I might be able to find my set in my old emails.

I frantically looked through my emails – thankfully I had my laptop with me otherwise searching on the phone would have been a night mare – and found it.

I then sent it to my phone and spent the entire first half (while the others were performing) half listening to them and half learning my set!

It all went down well in the end – I remembered most of it and even got a few laughs.

But more importantly – and here’s the crux of it – I got to speak on the Main Stage in front of my peers. Which really was the goal all along. They managed to see me speak – some twice if they saw the Speaker Factor semi-finals – and I got to make my mark on the event.

And that’s the point. That sometimes you need to pivot (a popular start up term of late). Which means taking a radically different direction from where you think you are heading.

That’s what I did effectively. The goal initially was win Speaker Factor – but regardless of that, I also wanted to speak on Main Stage so others could see me in action. I needed to pivot when my original plan didn’t work. And thus I succeeded.

So my question to you is this. Do you need to pivot? 

Let me know below. 


What do you think?