When someone asks me what I’m doing these days, I think of one fateful week in early October when two things happened:
It was a great book for me. I have always been interested in so many subjects and have always had a desire to learn. This has backfired on me because I have started and ended so many projects, ideas, etc. I have wanted to be everything from an actress, to a lawyer, to a doctor, to a teacher, to an organic gardener living in a Catholic Convent in Belize. I know I can do anything I put my mind to, but I’ve just had a hard time keeping my mind there.
There is one part of me that has been constant since I was a little wee one (and I think my creative and artistic mother is to blame). I have always wanted to create. I have always wanted to be an artist and write and illustrate children’s books. I believe we are all artists (some are just more trained than others) but art is what I want the bulk of my life’s work to be. Writing and illustrating children’s books has been at the back of my mind for years and years. I am not proficiently skilled in either writing for children or illustrating, so it’s not something that I can’t accomplish in a short amount of time.
Godin’s main point in The Dip that really stuck to me was basically the following: Anything really worth achieving is difficult because otherwise everyone would do it and it wouldn’t be that special. There is always a cycle, a cycle I have seen too many times. Something starts out fun and easy, and then there’s a dip: the hard part that most people can’t climb out of to get to the finish line. Our main job in our life is to seek out our dip. That something that you really really want to accomplish. That something that you will strive tremendously hard to work for, digging your way through the dip.
On the other hand, your job is also to seek out the things you can’t get through and quit before you have wasted your time and energy that could have otherwise gone towards your main goal that you need all the resources to fight with. Sticking out a dead-end job is the easy way out, but also very irresponsible because you are not contributing all you can to this world. You are not achieving what you are capable of.
Godin also stresses you have to enjoy the tasks in your dip, because otherwise you’ll never make it through. I finished the book with my mind reeling. Then a few days later, something else happened:
2) Steve Jobs died.
I didn’t know too much about him before he died. I was big apple fan, but beyond that, I hadn’t looked into him much. That is, until an early week in October. His fervor and intensity inspired me. His words became my mantra.
During that week, I listened to this song over and over again.
My dip had been there for years but I always thought it would be something I would do on the side. My goal had been to find a somewhat enjoyable career that would give me ample time to do the things I really wanted to do.
But according to Godin and Jobs, you’ll never find happiness and success down that route. You have to focus on what you love. I understand this is a very romantic view, but what’s wrong with that. Work hard on something you love until you reach success. Sounds practical to me.
So, with support from my husband (who is successfully employed in a good career), I quit my job to focus on my dip: writing and illustrating my book and in the process, sharpen up my graphic design skills. I felt utterly and incredibly irresponsible for quitting a decent job in such a hard economic time, but it felt right. I was working at a reputable Pinot Noir winery with flexible hours and no one micromanaging me. But I was merely a middle man for someone else’s creation. There was no fulfillment or challenge.
Now, not everyone has a partner who can support them through crises like mine and I wouldn’t have been able to quit my job had I been alone. But we are lucky (Let me change that: I’m lucky. He worked hard to get where he is. I am lucky I’m married to him). With that luck, I’m ready to step up to the table and try my hand at another roll, in the hopes of creating more richness, fulfillment, personal satisfaction and love in my life. But this is not a game of chance. On this roll, I have the tools, drive and passion to land a pair of aces. I am ready to work hard, go for what I want, and not stop until I am there.
Watch me go!