When is it time to let go of a project? The Dip, by Seth Godin

(cross-posted from my other blog, Nonprofit Update.)

Previous post introduced the ideas of Cliffs, Cul-de-sacs, and Dips explained by Seth Godin in his book, The Dip.

What do we do with that idea?

Seth Godin says:

It’s okay to quit, sometimes.

In fact, it’s okay to quit often.

You should quit if you’re on a dead-end path. You should quit if you’re facing a cliff. You should quit if the project you’re working on has a Dip that is not worth the reward in the end. Quitting the projects that don’t go anywhere is essential if you want to stake out the right ones. You don’t have the time or the passion or the resources to be the best in the world at both.

The challenge is that in the middle of a situation, you can’t tell if you are facing a cliff, cul-de-sac, or dip. They all feel and look the same. Wisdom is figuring out which is which.

We need to distinguish between the three scenarios.

  • If there is a cliff in the future, there is nothing we can do to change it and we need to leave before we go over the edge.
  • If there is a cul-de-sac, we need to get out because things are never, ever going to get better.
  • If there is a dip, then we need to keep working and pushing and trying.

I can look back and see that I used this analysis in deciding to leave several jobs. Each of the situations was rewarding with enjoyable work and things were going well. However, I was in a cul-de-sac according to the framework offered by Mr. Godin. I concluded that things were never going to change, at least in my lifetime. So I fired my employer and moved on.

I commend the book to you. It is very short, only 76 pages, but very powerful.

I recommend you grab hold of the concept of cliff, cul-de-sac, and dip. It will be a great help to you in the future.

Next post – why should we push through the dip?

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