The Dip by Seth Godin is a little book about knowing when to quit and when to push through something. It’s a fascinating read that can be read from many perspectives: career, relationships, marketing, advertising, projects, sports, hobbies, etc. Basically anything we start doing potentially has a dip— that is, if it’s worth doing.
The premise of the book is that we need to learn to acknowledge the dip when we start something new and then decide whether to push through or bail out.
It seems every year around this time, I find myself in a dip. I don’t know if it’s the weather, the fact it starts to get dark earlier, or maybe it’s because we’re seven weeks into the school year and everyone is getting more comfortable and things tend to slide off the radar (like strictly enforcing dress code, consistently checking for planners, keeping accurate records, etc.). Whatever the reason, I always find myself in the dip and I have to put in the extra effort to get through it because I know it’s worth it in the end.
When we’re in the dip, we have three choices: fight through, quit, or stay (and be mediocre). However, the first two options are the only two options because no one wants to be mediocre (and miserable).
So which is the right choice: Fight through or quit? All our lives we’re told “Quitters never win” but that’s not true. In fact, quitters win all the time (see: Bill Gates and Richard Branson). The key is knowing when to quit a strategy or tactic in order to reach a worthy long-term goal. You don’t bail on the goal, just the current strategy you’re using to get there. Before school began, we set some goals as a faculty, and even though I’m in a dip with some of those goals, I’m committed to moving forward and pushing through to reach the goal we all desire.
If you find yourself in a dip, ask yourself this: Is this worth doing? If the answer is yes, keep pushing yourself because you’re almost there. If the answer is no, pivot and find a new strategy or tactic to help you reach your goal. Either way, we need to be moving in one direction, avoiding mediocrity and striving to be exceptional.