Grind Less and Glide More

By Amy S. Hilliard

A lot has been written lately about Quiet Quitting, the #Soft Life, and women losing ambition as we have gone through the pandemic and seen COVID change the way we live and the priorities we used to hold dear.  I know.  When it was announced on May 14, 2022, that 1 million people had died in the U.S. from COVID, I had Covid.  Yet I hadn’t died.  I had all the vaccines, the booster, and it was my second bout of the disease.  But I was still here.  I could have been one of those in that horrible count, but God wasn’t through with me yet.

Fortunately, my book, Pivot for Success- Hone Your Vision, Shift your Energy and Make Your Move was published at the beginning of 2021.  I was able to spend the many quarantined months of 2020 writing about the key pivots my life has taken, so much so that my moniker has become the “Reinvention Specialist”, as my career has included senior positions in Fortune 500 corporations, legacy entrepreneurial companies, and my own businesses.  Those months gave me the chance to BREATHE and think about the directions my life has taken. 

I grinded HARD in each of those positions and phases…HARD.  As a Black woman from Detroit and an honors graduate of Howard University and the Harvard Business School, it took a lot to get to high corporate levels, create multi-million-dollar brands for others and challenge myself to create one for my own family. And in the process, I was laid off, bankrupted, foreclosed on, and divorced twice. Grinding took a toll.

My loving parents had high expectations of all four of their daughters, and I did not want to disappoint.  So, I grinded.  Doing well meant everything.  I grinded through the murder of my best friend in college at 19 while I was on scholarship.  The death of my sister-cousin from a car accident when I was a young mother. The passing of both my parents as an entrepreneur–the financial setbacks, and the divorces.  I’m blessed that my relationships with my adult children is strong and secure.  But I had to bury a lot of feelings to stay on my grind.

Many people lost loved ones during COVID. Before COVID, I lost 9 close friends one right after the other in the 18 months before the pandemic hit, including my mother.  Had to keep grinding.

Life has a way of putting things in perspective, though.  In 2012, a shift occurred.  When I turned 60, my mom was 90 and my daughter was 30.  I could see both ends of life’s spectrum.  That’s when I started my blog, Sizzling After 60 – How to Thrive at Every Stage of Your Life.  It’s still going, but my time to write is limited.  However, I turned 70 last year, and this milestone and having COVID in May of that year for the second time, really made me pause.

By the fall of 2021, a true blessing came when the University of Chicago reached out to me about teaching marketing at their Booth School of Business.  I had taught marketing at Loyola’s Business School which was great training for teaching at the university level.  The Booth School already had a strong marketing bench, so I proposed teaching a course to MBA’s based on my book about pivoting.  With COVID, the economy, and world events, so much was happening.  Everyone was talking about making pivots, but I didn’t find an easy-to-understand framework to do it.  So, I used the !0 Pivot Points from my first guidebook in 2005, Tap Into Your Juice—Find Your Gifts, Lose Your Fears and Build Your Dreams that was endorsed by Michelle Obama as the framework for my new book.  When she became First Lady, Mrs. Obama said her endorsement of the 10 Pivot Points was mine for life!  Sheryl Sandberg, Dr. Wayne Frederick of Howard University, Mellody Hobson, Debbie Allen, Tom Burrell, Bozoma Saint John and several other women and men have endorsed the Pivot Points and tenets of Pivot for Success, and I’m glad it is helping many students and others.

Most importantly, though, Pivot for Success has a graphic in it that helped illuminate the Sweet Spot where I Grind Less and Glide More. It shows where I’ve merged Purpose, Possibilities, and Passions with having Patience, setting Priorities, and knowing my values about Prosperity.  Finding that Sweet Spot allows a flow to come to my work.  I’m working hard for sure, but I’m not GRINDING, I’m GLIDING with power, like the flow of a river.

For me, that work is teaching and speaking about how to pivot.

This is what moves my spirit.  Seeing a light come on in the eyes of students or others about their goals after a strong class discussion or speech just lights me up!  Sharing strategies of pivoting, especially to ambitious women and men, totally energizes me, because is it so universally relevant, personally, and professionally.  Personally, because by becoming self-aware about what truly motivates and inspires you, work can become more of a calling that can powerfully serve others. Professionally, successful pivoting skills can help leaders move organizations large and small in the right direction in times of crisis and opportunity.

As mentioned, turning 70 and having COVID was a true turning point for me. It made me focus even more on my health and to seek ways to grind less and glide more to a make my life a sustainable way of living healthfully.

2023 has just started.  At the beginning of each new year, we all see lots of information about new exercise routines, machines, gym memberships, diets, and the like.  And some of us rush to the latest trend and wear ourselves out, and then stop.  And therein lies the problem.  Statistics point out that as a country, we are still in danger of dying from diseases that can be prevented or diminished with lifestyle changes.  Stress is rampant and we are grinding too much and not gliding enough. 

For example, after some positive years of decline, heart disease remains our Number 1 killer, according to according to Dr. Sadiya Khan at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and a 2022 report from the Centers for Disease Control that lists a rising rate of heart disease deaths. 

Significantly, new heart health trends are very disturbing:

  • Younger and midlife adults are dying more often from heart disease
  • More older adults are dying too
  • COVID increased the number of heart attacks in those at mid-life and older
  • Congestive heart failure is on the rise due to lifestyle choices

I’m not a medical professional by any means, but numerous studies have indicated that stress can kill you.  And GRINDING through an exercise and/or diet program you really can’t stick with can be stressful.  So, on top of professional and personal life stressors, what we think will help us may hurt us if we are not aware of the self-care our bodies and spirits really need. 

As 2023 moves forward, I wholeheartedly recommend we all take a look our lives and see where we can reduce grinding and start gliding more.  Find your Sweet Spot.

Now, most of us can’t do a full re-set and move to the tropics to live, even with WIFI.  Yet, taking a look at the various aspects of life and the choices you CAN make, may identify areas of GLIDING that are available for you to start now. Don’t just dream about it, make it a goal.  I’ve heard that a dream is just a goal without a timeline.  Set some timelines on taking action to Grind Less and Glide More.  Stay engaged on your terms.  It will be worth it.  Your life is worth it.  Make it a promise to yourself.


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