About 6 years ago, a book called “The Dip,” which discusses the art of quitting, was given to me by a sales mentor. I didn’t read but two pages, before I thought, “Yup, I’ve got it. Sometimes you need to quit and move on from the wrong things in order to devote more time to the right things. Aaand done!” Soon after, that book was stored away in a box I packed before my next apartment move. But I always kept in mind the wild idea of the quitting concept and the importance of recognizing worth-while obstacles in my day to day life. In the very few words my eyes skimmed over, I actually took away some great advice and stored it away in boxes of its own. (You know those places in the back of your mind that tap you on your shoulder and say, “Hey, you big idiot, you know better than that!” Yea, I stored it there.)
Recently I ran across that old box of books, (that I still haven’t found a place for 3 years later) and I remembered the instant influence Seth Godin’s words had on me. So I picked it back up, fully intending to reach the final page this time around. Instead I only read to page 20… and quit (I’m completely serious).
It kicked up so many thoughts in my head that I decided I would (for now) not waste time reading the rest of the book and instead focus my time on getting my thoughts on paper (after all, this blog needed to be completed by the following day. “Ain’t nobody got time for dat!”). In just a few pages, the book’s message left its mark for a second time, and while most are drawing up new-year blueprints decorated with goals, resolutions and new additions to their bucket lists, I was reminded of “The Dip” and why it’s also an important time to evaluate and reflect on my quitting strategy. Now, typically the word “quit” is negatively connected with words like loser, failure and weak, but “The Dip” in a few pages, opened my mind to the fact that knowing the right things to quit and figuring it out sooner than later can actually be one of the key factors that guide your success.
It’s true and it’s simple: What separates the good from the great, the memorable from the legendary and the rich from the wealthy, comes down to that one element set way deep down in the root of man. That one key differentiator is called perseverance. It’s not intelligence, charisma or physical appearance that inevitably separates the gladiator from the gods – it’s simply the conscious decision a person makes to hold on that much longer than the man hanging on next to him – the man who leans into the dip – and as Godin calls it, becomes the “best in the world.” In any personal or professional situation you will experience highs and lows, even more so in a sales environment. However, Godin points out that in order to sustain that whirlwind of grit and vigor that follows the inspiration to succeed, you first have to choose a path that you believe is worth fighting for. The obstacles will await you regardless, but if you choose correctly, the setbacks will be welcomed.
In the last couple of years, I’ve watched my boyfriend, Chris, go through many dips (and I’m not talking about his dance moves in “da club” either). In short, this man could sell Christmas spirit to Scrooge and a straightner to Richard Simmons. In his personal life, he could easily be written as a character in “Family Guy,” or play Dale in “Step Brothers” (OK maybe not that bad, but close), but in his professional life, you meet him again for the first time. It’s like you can literally hear the flick of the switch turn on in his mind. From 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., he is a man on a mission. When I first started with MultiView 3 ½ years ago, I was told that one of the company’s mottos was, “we take our business very seriously, but we don’t take ourselves very seriously,” and ever since, when I begin to explain our company’s culture to an outsider, that is usually the quote I begin the conversation with. This motto also completely describes Chris.
(Not to get all proud girlfriend on you, but…) His background and experience boast an impressive resume that includes playing arena football, giving motivational speeches to high school students and acquiring multiple sales accolades with top medical device companies. But one day, I could sense his emptiness more than ever and his longing for something more. It was then and there that he decided to leave a well-paying job behind in order to seek true fulfillment in a career he could believe in. Have you or someone you know ever felt this way?
Chris’s first thought was to go after it all. His interests involved starting summer football camps, opening a gym, starting his own medical business for a specific procedure, and even possibly becoming a professional public speaker. And don’t think these are just things that were written on paper and lost in some notebook by his bed. He signed himself up to manage quarterback teams for other director’s football camps, he talked with investors about a gym, worked for a short time attempting to get a medical program off the ground and has attended public speaking classes to help him improve. I can’t help but cheer him on because just as one can be motivated by their own dreams, it’s invigorating to watch someone else attempt at discovering what they’re truly made of and go to great lengths in order to get there again and again and again. Unfortunately, most of what I had to witness was head-on collisions with wall after wall. These multiple business endeavors started to cave in around him and left him trapped; and now the case was that focusing on too many things at once left him lost, exhausted and still feeling unaccomplished.
During his months of battling between career paths, he had become involved with helping a developer assess storm-damaged roofs for supplemental income (when I say this man has his hand in everything, I promise you, he does). Then, low and behold, after the company realized the amount of referrals Chris was sending in, they asked him to come on board full time as a sales/marketing manager. Like the hail that rained down on those roofs, God hit Chris right on the head with an opportunity he could finally fall in love with. At first he was skeptical. It was a world he knew nothing about, and he was unsure if this was the right step for him to take with so many different ideas he had about how his professional life was going to take shape. But he decided this was a risk worth taking, and without any experience he immersed himself in the new opportunity – and to his surprise – discovered an industry that was made for him. Although he works longer hours now than in any of his previous jobs, I’ve never seen him more focused, and I’ve never seen him happier. I know he still hopes that down the road he’ll direct a few summer football camps. I believe that one day he’ll give a great speech or two to a big audience, but for now he has found his passion again for a career that he believes is worth “leaning into the dip” for.
This book describes a worth-while dip, a dip that leads nowhere and a dip that will lead you off a cliff. Your job is to learn the difference.
Is there a sales lead (or several) that you’ve been spinning your wheels on, day in and day out, calling and leaving messages for, while you waste precious time you could be using to investigate new leads? A successful sales day is a result of proper planning, and efficient planners know what to plan, how to plan and when it’s time to ditch what you thought you knew, and go back to the drawing board.
Tireless ambition is to be admired, but it is a treasure that can be better utilized when it’s tailored. I only read to page 20, but the information has definitely hit home. Maybe you will read to page 40 or 50 and get even more out of it than I have or understand something completely different from its message. Regardless, we are all in the same boat when it comes to the battle of self-discovery and our sometimes lonely road of dreams that we hope will lead us to true happiness personally and professionally. Which battles will you choose to conquer, and which will you choose to surrender?