The Dip

I consider a book to have value for me when concepts I read start demonstrating themselves during my daily activities. Such is the case with Seth Godin’s The Dip, which I finished a few days ago. Godin is “a a bestselling author, entrepreneur and agent of change” – from his Seth’s Blog.

I knew that this book had taken root in my mind when yesterday during a meeting, I heard myself say “do you see the light at the end” (the end being what Godin says you power toward when you’re in “the dip.”)

Here are a few other concepts from the 80 page book that stuck with me:

  • It matters to be number one – people don’t have a lot of time and don’t want to take risks, so they narrow their choices to those at the top.
  • It’s important to be “the best in the world.” Best as in “best for them, right now, based on what they believe and what they know.” In the world is as “in their world, the world they have access to.”
  • Almost everything that matters is controlled by the Dip – the long slog between starting and mastery (after the fun of beginning is over.)
  • The Dip is hard. It creates scarcity (because lots of people quit) and scarcity creates value. Successful people lean into the Dip.
  • The Cul-de-Sac is a dead end. It goes nowhere and uses up your resources.
  • If you can’t be #1 or #2, get out (ala Jack Welch)
  • When faced with the Dip, many diversify, instead of obsessing to be the best in the world.
  • It’s easier to be mediocre than it is to confront reality and quit.
  • Godin lists 8 “Dip Curves.” The “Education Dip” is particularly relevant to our field. Your career starts when you leave school. The Dip happens when it’s time to learn something new, or reinvent or rebuild skills.
  • Quitting at the right time is difficult. Most people play it safe, and try to average their way to success.
  • If you’re not able to get through the Dip in an exceptional way, you must quit.
  • The opposite of quitting isn’t waiting around, it’s rededication.
  • It’s OK to quit if the project isn’t worth the reward at the end.
  • Pride is the enemy of the smart quitter.
  • Decide in advance when you should quit.