I talked with friends recently about the end of Body Boss, and the air of “unfinished business”. They noted my tone of disappointment. In my book, Postmortem of a Failed Startup, I noted a number of reasons why we failed. However, there were signs of turning a corner. One of my friends was curious if that was indeed the case, and mentioned Seth Godin’s The Dip.
The Dip recognizes the importance of pushing through challenging moments and when not to (“quit”).
- Dip vs. cul-de-sac. In any endeavor, after the initial novelty and possible early success, there follows a challenging period. Godin refers to this as the “dip”. In these situations, there’s a lift after the dip towards “success”. Godin is quick to point out that there’s also the “cul-de-sac”. The cul-de-sac refers to the situation where there is no lift, no emergence to success. A dip is temporary. Cul-de-sac is forever (or too extensive). It’s important to recognize if one is in one or the other.
- Be the best in the world. Godin points out how culture celebrates being the best – from sports professionals to actors. Being the best means digging in deep on what one is best at. This means quitting what one is not good at and cannot be the best at, or if possible, not even trying from the get-go. Quitting enables focus. Being the best means emerging from the dip and avoiding cul-de-sacs.
- Know when to quit before starting. Easier said than done. The recommendation is to quit before starting a cul-de-sac situation – effort, thus, not wasted. But if starting, Godin suggests writing down the conditions that would be necessary to quit. Writing down the extreme conditions that would lead to quitting means any lesser conditions mean continuation.