Timing is everything. We’ve all heard that before. Timing includes understanding when to be patient versus when to double down and push harder. Or even more importantly, timing includes knowing when to quit.
The difficult part of a any new skill, career, or undertaking is called The Dip, according to Seth Godin. The Dip happens in every new endeavor. It occurs that moment when you are no longer learning quickly; the moment when you start to feel those urges to give in and surrender. Understanding when you are facing “The Dip” informs you when you’re on the right path to becoming the best and how to persevere. Observing you’re in the Dip helps you understand when you are simply wasting your time.
We’re seduced by the tales of actresses being discovered at the local drugstore, or a classmate who got a fantastic job just by showing up at the college placement office. We see an author hit the big time after just one appearance on Oprah or a rock band getting signed after submitting a demo— it all seems easy and exciting. It’s easy to be seduced by the new money and the rush to the fresh. The problem is that this leads to both an addiction and a very short attention span. If it doesn’t work today, the thinking goes, why should I wait around until tomorrow? The problem is that only a tiny portion of the audience is looking for the brand-new thing. Most people are waiting for the tested, the authenticated, and the proven.
In Miami, it is no different. We see gorgeous property listings through filters in our Instagram feeds. We see real estate agents making huge sales commissions. We’re so convinced we are the next Chad Carroll, everyone in Miami has a real estate license. It has become a running joke. Why? Because the barriers to entry are next to none. It is easy to get one. The difficult part is learning the market, getting through The Dip. The hard part is understanding you’re not going to be selling mansions in year one, but still making cold calls.
Like any pyramid scheme—including the Real Estate Agent training funnel—Miami has a new pyramid Scheme: The Startup. Miami, like many cities, has bought into the startup fever. Look at the Miami Herald’s recent headline:
“Miami is a place that does very, very well on startup activity – a lot of people are becoming entrepreneurs and starting companies,” said Arnobio Morelix, senior research analyst and program officer in Research and Policy at Kauffman, which studies and supports entrepreneurship. “But when we look at how firms grow after they start, we don’t see Miami doing very well.”
This isn’t to bash on all startups, but to point out that our focus shouldn’t be exclusively on promoting the start. There is progress—Endeavor brought its first US office to Miami in 2013. However, what is missing is supplementing the encouragement of “the start,” with support of the push-through. We need to take Seth Godin’s words to heart and preserve through The Dip.
Being better than 98 percent of the competition used to be fine. In the world of Google, though, it’s useless. It’s useless because all of your competition is just a click away, whatever it is you do. The only position you can count on now is best in the world.
The market wants to see you persist. It demands a signal from you that you’re serious, powerful, accepted, and safe. The bulk of the market, any market, is made up of those folks in the middle of the bell curve, the ones who want to buy something proven and valued.
Those struggling artists at the local craft fair are struggling because they don’t have the guts or the wherewithal to take their work to the next level.
If you’re going to quit, quit before you start. Reject the system. Don’t play the game if you realize you can’t be the best in the world.
The choice is yours.