Want to hear a quick story about the power of networking? I met Emily Lamia of Pivot Journeys at a mastermind meeting in NYC about 2 months ago [barely] and we already have joint events on the calendar for November 2016 and a potential year-long program starting in January 2017. We. Just. Clicked.
I remember when she introduced herself in the circle – I made a note to myself about checking in with her on the breaks. I could just sense that we would work well together since our work has a similar purpose, but a different approach. Fast forward two months later, I’m not really sure what my day looks like without an email from Emily. I am so grateful to have met Emily because I can just sense that the work we are going to do together is going to be really, really good.
We can’t spill too many of the beans just yet since we need to get a few more things solidified, but let me tell you – this new idea we have for 2017 is AMAZING. We will be running a year-long program together that I wish I had in my life years ago. Here is Emily.
NAME + WHAT DO YOU DO?
Emily Lamia. Founder & CEO, Pivot Journeys
I run a startup, Pivot Journeys, which offers unique travel experiences for professionals who want to take their career to the next level.
A Pivot Journey is a 3 to 7-day adventure that takes you to top destinations around the world – New York, Iceland, Costa Rica – and gives you access to fun, self-discovery workshops that help you map your career.
Over the course of a Pivot Journey, you’ll participate in workshops, take diagnostic tools, and get private coaching that encourage thoughtful reflection on your career. And all of this is interspersed between awesome activities like learning to surf, hiking in nature, visiting top historical sights, savoring local culinary flavor, and making new friends who love to travel and are passionate about their career.
Travel is a powerful tool that unlocks inspiration, energy, new ideas and new possibilities. I get to spend my days planning and executing these experiences that let you harness this power to thrive in your career.
5 YEARS AGO, WHERE DID YOU YOU IMAGINE THAT YOU WOULD BE TODAY?
Certainly not running a startup!
I’m one of those people that doesn’t spend too much time thinking about where I’ll be 5 or 10 years from now. I’ve generally pursued paths or jobs that I thought were interesting, and sort of have had faith that doing things I enjoyed and excited me would give me a meaningful career.
Five years ago I was changing careers having worked for about 7 years in Democratic politics. After working for a number of electoral campaigns, and the Democratic National Committee, I was wrapping up my time running the membership association for progressive political operatives.
I was applying for grad school and shifting my career into the nonprofit world where I worked for the Girl Scouts of the USA.
Five years ago I knew that my passion was helping people navigate their careers. And I was traveling on my own Pivot Journey, which was before I had a name for the travel self-discovery experience.
I had no idea that I’d be pulling both of these pieces together into my own business!
WHAT IS YOUR SECRET TO KEEPING IT ALL TOGETHER?
I’m someone who needs structure and routine to feel at peace. That’s often hard to find in the startup world. So I create it where I can.
I prioritize exercising – running is my mental therapy. It’s during a run that I’ll somehow work out a problem, or figure out how to approach a challenge and get into a calmer headspace when things get crazy.
And I make deliberate choices about my priorities. In today’s world, we all are over-committed and are constantly ‘busy.’
You only have so many hours in a day to do the work you need to do, and that you want to do. I haven’t been able to be as good of a friend as I’ve been in years past. And if I’m being honest, I don’t cook a lot of healthy meals. But that doesn’t mean I never will again; it’s just not my priority right now. We’re all only capable of so much in keeping it all together; it’s all about priorities.
WHAT’S YOUR MOST VALUABLE TOOL THAT YOU USE DAILY?
A glass of wine.
Oh. That’s not the answer you were looking for? (No seriously, sometimes a glass of wine in the evening is one of the best tools to get you through some of the challenging days.)
Let me try this again… One of my favorite apps I use to keep on top of my to-do lists is Wunderlist.
But my daily tool that’s sort of unique to me, and might seem a bit archaic, is a printed out, 9-month calendar that has all the big picture items on it – Pivot Journeys, Pivot Workshops, newsletters, social media campaigns, speaking events, and big personal items. I carry this 9-page stapled calendar everywhere.
I find it incredibly helpful to see my life at a glance and not lose sight of what I’m working towards and how all the pieces are coming together.
In fact, I created a Job Search Training Calendar using the same format for the Pivot community that you can download on my website here.
WHO’S YOUR BIGGEST INFLUENCE?
Do I have to pick just one?
I think my family is my biggest influence. I’m quite close with my parents and they’ve been so supportive of my career thus far. The way they’ve lived their lives and the suggestions they’ve given me always influence me greatly.
If I had to pick just one person though, it would be my husband. We’ve been together for over 8 years and he’s incredibly smart, strategic, capable, and supportive. Sometimes I rely too much on him when I’m navigating a challenge! But his advice, ideas, and opinions hold the most weight in my life.
IF SOMEONE WANTED TO DO EXACTLY WHAT YOU DO, WHAT WOULD YOUR BIGGEST PIECE OF ADVICE BE?
Go for it!
But do some serious reflection and planning ahead of time.
On a Pivot Journey we talk a lot about the strengths and motivations that impact your happiness and success at work.
It’s so important to know before jumping in what you’re really good at, where your weaknesses are, what motivates you, and what’s likely to be the biggest challenge. And then plan for those.
Have a plan that lays out how you’ll use your skills and talents to make your business the best it can be. Have a plan that specifies who you’ll go to, or what you’ll do when you hit a roadblock.
Make sure you’ve thought through all the scenarios. Know what the best-case scenario is a year out, and what’s the middle and worst case? You’ll only know how you’re doing, and be able to pivot (sorry, I had to) accordingly if you think about and map out what the future might look like.
DO YOU STILL GET SCARED SOMETIMES WHEN YOU THINK ABOUT THE VISION YOU HAVE FOR YOUR LIFE?
Running a startup is like being on a rollercoaster. Some times it’s a huge thrill, you’re loving it, and can’t wait to go on another ride. Other times, you’ll feel like you just want to get off the ride because it can be exhausting.
My vision for my life in 10 years is probably different than what I’m doing right now. But I can’t say exactly what it is. The vision doesn’t scare me, but as most people can relate to, how I’m going to get there is the part that’s a little overwhelming at times.
But that’s life – we’re all not necessarily sure where we’re going to be 5 years from now and that’s part of the fun if you can embrace it.
FUN FACT ABOUT YOURSELF?
I’m a born and raised New Yorker who loves country music. Don’t judge.