There has rarely been a better time to quit. Everything appears to be changing. And changing faster than we ever expected. Old models are crumbling. Some new ones are emerging. There’s a lot of chaos in between.
If you have been worried about the social impact of quitting, then maybe this is as good as it gets. With the impact of the economic recession now at its peak, behaviours and expectations have changed. Displays of wealth are embarassing. Frugality is the new chic. Austerity is the new religion. Or so it appears at this point, at the turn of the year, indeed the decade.
But what is it that you should quit? In The Dip: The Extraordinary Benefits of Knowing When to Quit and When to Stick, Seth Godin asks whether you are in a ‘dip’ or a cul-de-sac. And his message is simple: if you’re in a cul-de-sac, it’s time to quit; if you’re in a dip, keep going.
Most of us probably have some dips and cul-de-sacs. We are irrationally compelled to have more than one. We need to figure out which is which. And we need to do it quickly.
Many business people are hanging on. Hanging on for the recession to go away. Hanging on until the good old days come back. If you’re hanging on for the return of 100% mortgages, you probably don’t need to be told that’s a cul-de-sac. And you do need to quit.
But some are surviving. They’re making progress, albeit modest progress. And many may not be realising financial gain. And their biggest question right now is: am I in a dip or a cul-de-sac?
The good news is that quitting the cul-de-sacs gives you more energy to push through the dips. As Godin says, we can’t be the best in the world (our world) at everything. The world needs us to be the best at something though. There we need to dominate. Elsewhere, we should probably leave.
You may well be working on your plans for 2010. You’re probably calling it a strategy. How many of those plans involve continuing down a cul-de-sac? Be honest. If you can’t, ask others. Ask your boss. Ask your customers. Ask those who won’t tell what you want to hear.
Here’s a great question: if we could start all over again from January 1st, how would we do it? Knowing now what we do, what wouldn’t we have got involved in or started?
Got the answers? Great.
Quit the cul-de-sacs. Embrace the dips. What’s stopping you?