If you haven’t yet read this cute little book by Seth Godin, I urge you to look for it on Amazon today. I have read several of his other books and always walk away with an ah ha feeling. “This little book teaches you when to quit and when to stick…” and as I turned the pages couldn’t help but feel like the teachings had direct application to relationships and the issues that I hammer on all the time about learning to make your most important relationships sustainable.
The basic premise is that after the honeymoon is over, which is the same in a relationship or a business venture, career path or sports endeavor, the fun is sporadic and the work and intention to be as good as you can at whatever you choose puts you in a dip- the hard place where days can go by before any satisfying results come in. If you want greatness, Seth says, you have to not only survive the dip- you have to lean into it and love it. This is hard going in relationships, learning how to stay when things aren’t quite what they looked like in the beginning and when the little things become so annoyingly big. It is easier to imagine yourself with someone else, or even on your own, free to play the field and happier.
It’s not that quitting is not a viable option sometimes. In fact Mr. Godin spends some time urging you to quit when you are in what he calls a cul de sac- better known as a dead end. Whether its a job that is going nowhere, a new venture that will never have enough capital to get over the hump or a relationship that is toxic because of bad habits and addictions, the sooner you can quit those and create space for something new, the better. It is hard to call those like they are – especially for some of us who are adverse to quitting, forever the proverbial – you never fail until you quit… running through the brain.
But clearly there are dead ends in life. Hopefully they teach us something, and maybe the most important thing they can teach is to let go. The Dip though points to a bigger and more rampant problem- the willingness to quit on the hard stuff because we believe ourselves to be mediocre or not up to it. We are afraid to feel the strain, so we quit- and most easily on relationships that are challenging. The problem with this kind of quitting which can become serial… as soon as the relationship demands more that we think we have, we bail. That place becomes so familiar, it is the jumping off spot, time after time. The real shame is that often the breakthrough place, where things start to work in a new way is just past that jump. Quitters never learn how close they were to finding a new way to live, to love , to work.
So here’s to leaning into the dip, to loving the work for the sake of the work itself and for knowing that we are being taught to love ourselves with each little step. Find out more about this great little book.