The Dip

Sometimes we hit a Dip, a big one. A simple letter may be the key to overcoming the dip.

“The Dip” is a term coined by Seth Godin in his book, The Dip.

It‘s that time and place when nothing is going right and you’re tempted to give up.

In The War of Art, Steven Pressfield calls it Resistance.

Others have called it hitting the wall, FUD (fear, uncertainty, doubt), or rock bottom, a total lack of motivation. A bumper sticker says it well: Life Sucks Then You Die. 

Regardless of the term, we all know the feeling and we’ve been there.

Seth acknowledges the reality that some endeavours are ill conceived and giving up may be the best choice. If there’s no future, you’re just digging a deeper hole. Sometimes the smart choice is to get a fresh start.

For the sake of this argument, let’s assume we’re not digging a hole to China. Our current situation is just a setback not a hopeless cause.

How to Overcome a Dip?

  • Willpower?
  • Self-discipline?
  • Focus?
  • Nonstop work fueled by caffeine?
  • Tips, hacks, or sticking to a daily habit routine?

It may take more than one item from this self-help menu.

One method to help get us overcome the dip is a letter to yourself.

But, here’s the trick. This letter is written 6 months into the future.

Example: Assume today is June 1. Write a letter to yourself, but date it December 1.

In this letter, talk in detail about what has occurred over the prior 6 months that enabled your success. (Those 6 months are actually the next 6 months.)

Using the past tense, reveal the who, what, when, where, why and how. Describe the person you have become and the state of your business and how you got there, how you overcame the dip, the resistance.

For me, this is about a dip in my solopreneur business, Start with Clarity

For you, it could be anything, school, home remodeling, writing a book or anything else that is a major project that is kicking your ass.

This brings an amazing clarity to what you should be doing.

It convinces you that you must do these things to succeed.

It also tells you that you can do these things.

After all, you’re writing this letter from the future. You’ve already done them!

Example letter:

Letter to Self,

The business I started in 2016 is finally self-sustaining. I have a small but loyal following of clients who support and encourage me in what I’m doing in Start with Clarity.

The growth is modest, but that’s okay. I prefer a small “tribe” vs. becoming the next big “thing” which would probably go to my head and turn me into an older version of Justin Bieber.

I just hired a virtual admin as well, so the routine of working until 9:00 every night is slacking up. And, I can focus on parts of the business I enjoy the most, writing and connecting with people vs SEO strategies.

When I think back to Aug 2017, I’m glad I decided to slog through the hard times, the nights when I looked at my budget and didn’t know how I would pay the bills, the waking up at 4:00 to get a head start on one-thousand things to do.

I’m glad I didn’t listen to my friend’s well-intentioned advice, “Just get a regular job.”

The best decision I made was to reach out to others in ways that were WAY outside of my comfort zone. I guess that’s what desperation does, lights a fire to get over our fears.

It takes something dramatic to get us pointed and moving in a new direction.

I finally reached out and asked for help in some of my online groups, hoping to find people that were following the same path and having some of the same struggles.

I also started pitching my product more proactivity, trying hard not to sound spammy. But, if I believe my product helps people, I’m not doing them a favor by hiding it.

If I really believe in what I’m doing, I’ll be standing on my soapbox and telling the world about it. Or, at least telling my audience.

Another good decision I made was to NOT sign-up for any more classes on “How to get 10,000 paying subscribers in 30 days or less.”

Those pitches are addictive. But, I kept thinking about the half-dozen I had already followed. If that approach was going to work, I wouldn’t be struggling now, would I.

Duh!!

I just needed to focus on the lead generation and conversion methods I knew and stop chasing the latest thing.

I also decided to get more authentic in my writing and not hide the struggles. People connect with hardship; we’ve all been there.  

On the topic of honesty, I got more honest with my business in another way. I quit fooling myself that I could become an expert in everything and that I have time to perform every task; 70-hour weeks take a toll.

I developed a practice of conducting a monthly CEO Review.

This semi-formal process helped me scale back and focus on priorities. When you’re a solopreneur, there is a limited number of ways you can divide up that resource (yourself).

Six months ago, you made some excellent choices – way to Go!

END of LETTER

There it is, my letter to self written from the perspective of 6 months in the future. A story of struggle, perserverance, and success.

A quick summary of the action items in my letter to self.

  • Reach out, ask for help, and collaborate
  • Stretch beyond your comfort zone
  • Get loud and proud of what you do
  • Narrow your focus to a few select strategies
  • Be authentic
  • Conduct an objective review monthly

Now, this doesn’t guarantee that my endeavour (or yours) is actually a good idea and will succeed.

A separate process (perhaps a business plan), is needed for that purpose.

But, if you’ve already covered that step, try writing a letter to yourself to get some clarity and motivation.

The “letter to yourself” is an extension of my journaling process, which is all about self-awareness, self-discipline and productivity.

If you’re interested in learning more, start with my email based habit challenge.

You’ll get a daily email for 14 days with a lesson and assignment – FREE.

Or, you may want to checkout my post on the superpower of habits.