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Tuesday
Jun192018

You're out of time

The young man was frustrated with the quality, service, or availability of his company's products. He felt he could do better. So he started his own company to design, develop, and sell his own version of the product.

He worked hard. Some days he worked very long hours. He risked his money. He built a small business and gained respect in the marketplace.

However, his revenue got stuck at a certain level. It was like a brick wall that he could not break through. He would run up against it and then revenue would fall off. He would build it back up. It might stay for a while, but he had to struggle to keep it at that level.

He felt he could do so much more, but alas, he was too busy to break bad habits and develop new, stronger ones.

He was stuck in a “bad habits matrix” of his own design.

He had a few ideas, and some were good. But there were too many of them for his small business and the ideas did not directly relate to his core business.

Years passed.

Decades passed.

He grew older. He retired. He made money. He positively affected people's lives. But until his dying day, he always felt he could have done more.

He was right, but his time was up.

Image credit: Mobile-Cuisine

Seth Godin in his book, The Dip, argues that this slogan "Winners never quit" is not true. Successful people quit all the time and often they quit before they even start something. 

However, starting something does not equal success or automatically move you from the beginner class to mastery either.

Successful people COMMIT

In The Dip, Seth presents his case that successful people carefully consider where they are going to invest their time and resources before they commit. Once they commit, they are aware of three potential growth curves that lead to different results.

However, starting something does not equal success or automatically move you from the beginner class to mastery either.

In The Dip, Seth presents his case that successful people carefully consider where they are going to invest their time and resources before they commit. Once they commit, they are aware of three potential growth curves that lead to different results.

#1 - The Dip

The first is The Dip. This is the gap between basic understanding and mastery of knowledge, skill, and ultimately results. It is the difficult work of learning, practicing, and becoming better over time.

Getting through The Dip is not like turning on a lightbulb. It takes time, tenacity, and course adjustments to reach your ultimate destination.

It's important to note there is progress as you are pushing through a Dip.

In my story above, progress stopped. The growth of his business hit a wall and never advanced beyond it, yet he continued to have his little business and it met the needs of his family. His business could be classified as average.

Getting through The Dip is about persevering through difficulties to move beyond average to extraordinary.

#2 - The cul-de-sac

Our protagonist above got stuck in the second potential curve and result that Seth refers to as a Cul-de-sac. His business could grow to a certain level but then no farther. He had driven down the road and all he chose to do was drive in a circle and go no further.

I think Seth could have provided a better analogy than a cul-de-sac. Instead, a better visualization would be a roundabout. 

Roundabouts were developed in Great Britain. A roundabout is a a road junction at which traffic moves in one direction around a central island, with the choice of 2-3 new directions out of the roundabout beyond the road from which you entered it.

Image credit: WPCO.com

The reason I prefer the term roundabout over cul-de-sac is because if you are pursuing a particular result and you get stuck, then you have more options than just to return from whence you came.

The hard decision is to leave the roundabout or cul-de-sac.

Why? The roundabout is comfortable. There is a rhythm to your hard work and busyness where you come to believe what I call the Big Lie: “I'm doing everything I can."

In reality, you are not. You are stuck in a cycle of bad habits with a lack of focus on what's truly most important.

You have the capability to break out and achieve more, but you are unwilling to make the tough decision to drive away from your roundabout.

#3 - The Cliff

There is a third and final result that Seth recommends you consider with greater clarity: The Cliff.

A Cliff is something you have chosen to do that ultimately kills you. Seth’s examples are cigarettes and other at-risk behaviors that end in death.

I would take it a step further and encourage you to consider that in some people's lives a Cliff is being a workaholic, or not taking care of your health which leads to an early death, or simply being stuck. 

The man in our story had income, respect…  yet he lost his passion and personal fulfillment. Why? Too afraid to make the tough decisions to return to growth, meaningful work, and becoming the best he could be.

He procrastinated. For decades!

How long have you postponed your tough decisions?

Image credit: Medium.com

You're out of time

What can you do about it?

#1 - On your own, or with a coach or consultant, you have to challenge yourself to do things differently.

#2 - You have to focus on what's truly most important, what Gary Keller would call your ONE Thing.

#3 - You have to develop better systems for time management so your true priorities are getting your time and the fire drills, hysterical urgencies, and unnecessary drama are delegated or avoided altogether.

How do you get there?

You make the tough decision to choose what is great over what is good.

You commit.

You get accountability to follow through on your commitment. Don't ask someone who doesn't have the guts to be candid to hold you accountable. Don’t ask a friend or hire someone who is a “Yes-man” or “Yes-woman.”

You can do this. It starts with making the tough decision and the commitment.

You're out of time.

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