Having a “Pixar Moment” as catalyst for career change.

January 19th 2022 in Coaching, Jason, Strengths, Work Worth Doing

Have you ever had what is called a “Pixar Moment”?

Your career change sometimes needs one to get started.

It worked for me.


So what is it?

Pixar is preeminent amongst storytellers in smacking you square in the heart basket. With a swift blow, they can lay out even the most stalwart soul… but in a good way.

You feel it, sometimes are even brought to tears, because you can feel what the character in the story feels…because you’ve felt the exact same thing.


This isn’t a kid thing, it’s an adult thing.


The end of ‘Coco’ and the first 10 minutes of ‘Up!’ were seemingly designed to make grown adults weep internally, externally, or both.


The entirety of ‘Soul’ was a master class in finding your life’s purpose. 


When the hit the empathetic jackpot with you then you can’t help but remember the scene very, very well.


A Pixar Moment is what happens when you make a realization of the truth about yourself. These moments can really make an impact and, if you’re stuck,, having one can make a difference by being the spark you need to make a change.


One of my favorite Pixar moments was in the first ‘Toy Story’. It is the one just before Buzz Lightyear finally accepts that he is, in fact, a child’s toy and not a real space ranger. Randy Newman’s song “I Will Go Sailing No More” soars in the background as Buzz leaps into the air, activates his jet pack intending to fly out the window and, much to his existential horror, instead plummets to the floor like the hunk of plastic he actually is.


One of the unsung stanzas of the song goes like this:


All the things I thought I’d be

All the brave things I’ve done

Vanish like a snowflake

With the rising of the sun

Nevermore to sail my ship

Where no man has gone before

And I will go sailing no more”


Now, this film is almost 30 years old at this point, how was it relevant? 


I reached a point where was stuck in a cubical, there was no way forward for my career, and I was staring down a long and slow glide to retirement. My dreams that I had for what I might achieve, had been dashed on the organizational rocks.

It was time to “put up and shut up” or do something new.


Like Buzz, I was faced with a choice and, fortunately, I was able to make the right one. Instead of merely lamenting the unfairness of life, I dug deep and took a chance. 


I like to think that Buzz decided at some point “Okay, so I am not a space ranger, but I am a toy… so why not be the best, most heroic toy I can be?” What would that look like? I had zero idea, but I was willing to find out. 


This is not resignation that is giving up, it is a resignation that fires you up.


I quit my career of over 20 years not long after and pursued my goals of being an entrepreneur and author. My mission of helping learners and professionals adapt and navigate a strange digitally alternated world might have been forever changed, but I never once gave up on it.


So if you’re at the end of your rope, maybe it is time to leap out and grab onto something else.

Falling to the floor might be what you need to see how you can pivot, even in midlife.


It’s only too late unless you never start.

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