How Successful People Pivot in the Midst of Panic

Success doesn’t come from avoiding panic; it comes from pivoting in the right direction when you do.

Maybe you are one of those people who simply doesn’t make mistakes. When everything hits the fan, you calm take it all in and without fail make the right choice. If that’s you…skip this article. It’s not for you.

I believe we learn very little by getting things right however we learn exponentially when we get them wrong. It’s no wonder research shows as much as 80% of learning happens before the age of 7. Kids are comforted daily with things they don’t know and can’t do but they figure it out. How do we keep that childlike resilience to fail forward?

The key: what we do in THAT moment. The moment of doubt that can quickly snowball into fear and then panic. Take control of that moment using the acronym SNAP. Ian Morgan Cron introduced me to this tool in his study guide to The Road Back To You. Here is how it works.

SNAP (Stop, Notice, Ask, Pivot)

STOP. At least twice a day, stop for three minutes and take four deep breaths to ground yourself in your body and return to the present moment. This sounds easier than it is. Our day can pick up speed fast and if you can pump the brakes it sets you up for the next part.

NOTICE. Once you have reached a full stop, notice what is going on around you. Use all of your senses. What do you see? What do you hear? What are you feeling? Don’t overthink it. You are not trying to fix anything here. Simply notice it.

ASK. Once you are aware of what is happening and how it is making you feel. Ask yourself the following:

  1. What am I believing right now?
  2. Is it true?
  3. Is it helpful
  4. Who would I be (and what would I do) if I let go of that belief?

PIVOT. Having now identified your various default responses, this is where you can now pivot to the right response. Someone once said, “The Hero and the Coward are both afraid and they both run…the difference is that one runs in the right direction.” In the pivot stage we get to choose to right path. The life giving path. The path that moves us towards our goals. A wise friend once told me, “Bryan, it’s ok to run…just make sure you’re running towards something you want and not simply away from something you don’t.”
SNAP won’t change your life overnight, but overtime, it can slow you down enough to pivot away from paralyzing panic and towards sustainable success.


  1. Which of the four stages of SNAP will be the most challenging for you?
  2. What is your default behavior when you feel panic, anxiety or stress?
  3. List some of the challenges in your life that you have overcome. How did you pivot from failure and challenge into success?

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