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So we’ve talked about how hard it is to begin. We are in the company of our fears and insecurities. Maybe we even get pushback from friends. But, a new level, a new devil.
Meet THE DIP
You pushed all those negative thoughts back and STARTED. GO YOU! Maybe you started a new eating plan, a new novel, a new BJJ class. Odds are there was some pain involved, but the changes you saw were enough to keep pressing. Sure, you might have been bummed to be eating veggies and chicken instead of drive-thru burgers, but the clothes started getting looser and your skin began to glow. That new novel seemed to write itself. Yes, BJJ was hard, but MAN what a workout and you were learning SO MUCH.
Sometime, somewhere you ran into a wall.
Now? No matter how many veggies you eat, the scale isn’t budging. You pound on the keyboard, play with spitballs and try to be inspired, but? NOTHING. You can’t seem to finish that novel. If you are like me in BJJ, you feel like you’ve been at this FOREVER and you just aren’t getting any better. X number of months in and you wonder if maybe the dojo would be better off spraying your gi with Endust so at least the mats will be clean when your opponents finish wiping the floor with you.
The Dip is that pan of suck right before the breakthrough (thank you Seth Godin). No one knows how long The Dip will last until they are standing on the other side. Problem is, this is the place most people give up.
It is easy to keep pressing when we have some kind of outside validation that what we are doing will eventually pay off.
It’s easy to keep eating super healthy so long as the scale is going down. It’s easy to keep writing so long as the chapters are flowing. It’s easy to keep blogging so long as people comment and the stats at least improve.
But can we keep doing it even with NO SIGN what we are doing is “working”?
I’m a mom. I have a great kid, but he IS a five-year-old boy, which means he is like an Etch-A-Sketch someone shakes every night erasing all I imparted on him throughout the day. Even though we HAVE a routine and we HAVE structure, I still have to remind him over and over and… *cries* over.
“Is that how we ask for things? Please may I have…?”
“Is that where your shoes go?”
“It is not my job to keep up with your XBox controller. No, YOU need to look for it.”
Many times it would just be a LOT easier to give him what he wants without insisting on manners and respect. It would be easier to put away his shoes and find the controller because short-term? It is easier.
Did I mention that it is EASIER?
But what would happen fifteen, twenty or twenty-five years from now? What kind of person would he be? Granted, I can’t control all of his choices, but as his mother it is my responsibility to at least TRY to rear a good citizen who is respectful and has self-control.
But I can’t always SEE that. That is why it is important to…
Keep Our Eyes Beyond The Dip
Lately I have felt stuck in BJJ. I didn’t feel like I was improving all that much. But, I kept thinking of why I began. I wanted a black belt in SOMETHING. Apparently sarcasm doesn’t count 😛 .
So, I just kept showing up. And, today I was at the gym doing my own training and found that, suddenly, a certain drill that was really cumbersome and awkward clicked. It is a small step, but it IS a step.
With my son, day-to-day I can’t SEE who he will become and parenting can feel like a GINORMOUS Dip. We seem to never make it forward. Every day is new, but still sticky, coated in cat fur or lost in the basket of socks we STILL need to fold.
Then one day, he says or does something that I stop and go, “OMG! He IS listening! It’s working!”
The Trick To Busting The Dip
Keep pressing. We need to remember the WHY behind what we are doing. We should keep our eyes OFF The Dip (namely because that sucker is HUGE and intimidating) and instead keep our eyes on putting one foot in front of the other.
Never underestimate the value of simply showing up.
I did this as a writer. I blogged when no one cared what I had to say. I blogged for a YEAR AND A HALF to the spam bots. Now, eight years later that my name is in Writer’s Digest Magazine? Sure, WAY easier to show up. But what if I’d focused on The Dip instead of the work?
Right now? I have all kinds of other Dips (organizing my house, getting a blue belt in BJJ, finishing my next book). That’s the thing about Dips. We get past one and soon? There will be ANOTHER Dip and likely a tougher one. This is why we must learn the PSYCHOLOGY of The Dip.
Dips serve some great purposes:
Dips weed out the uncommitted.
If every person who started writing a novel could be GUARANTEED to be a New York Times Best-Selling Author? They’d likely finish the novel. But it is simply because there ARE NO guarantees that few people ever get published at all. Most give up because they really didn’t LOVE writing.
Dips make us value what we’ve achieved.
Trust me. When I get that
black okay, blue belt? I AM WEARING IT EVERYWHERE. I will VACUUM the house in that thing because I worked my tail off for it.
Dips harden us and fire out our character impurities.
I used to make more excuses than I do now. These days? Because of some Dips? I am much more self-disciplined.
Dips train our minds to be formidable. Success in anything is mostly mental.
Some see obstacles and others see opportunities. Dips TRAIN THAT.
Once we learn to recognize The Dips, we know they aren’t permanent. When we realize they aren’t permanent, we can shift our locus of focus to those things we CAN control and CHOOSE to focus on those instead. We learn to be OUTLASTERS. Eventually? We eat Dips for breakfast 😉 .
What are your thoughts? Have you ever been through a DIP? Was it hard not to give up? Are you happy you didn’t? What was on the other side? Are you in a Dip now? I SO am. Which is partly why I am WRITING about Dips.