So I recently went through a book by Seth Godin called, The Dip. I loved it! The basic concept is that there is a dip that all of us have to go through when we pursue goals that are worth pursuing. The greater the objective that we have, the greater and harder the dip. There is a dip when it comes to marriage, parenting, our vocation and basically any endeavor we engage in.
The dip is characterized by discouragement. It’s when we realize that there is a mountain of information that we need to acquire. In the dip we realize that it’s going to take a long time to learn how to do our job. In the dip we realize that marriage isn’t as easy as we though it would be. We begin to understand that parenting doesn’t come naturally to us. The dip is real and it can be brutal. This is where vision comes into play.
The people that survive the dip have a strong vision as to what life will look like on the other side. They see the strong marriage on the other side of the struggle. They see a vision of a strong family on the other side of the parenting challenges they are going through. They see themselves shooting a 72 on the golf course on the other side of the painful and expensive golf lessons. They see the sweetness of life on the other side of the dip and that picture compels them to press onward.
The dip is not a passive entity. It responds to our hard work and perseverance. If we will engage the dip with tenacity and focus, we can press through more quickly and efficiently. I want to give you a few tips that I have picked up over the years in persevering through my own dips.
1. Get ready for a fight.
Sometimes you catch all the breaks and the process is painless and fun, but don’t expect it. If you encounter a dip that you need to go through, get your war face on and prepare for the fight of your life. You don’t want to be the guy that storms the beach of Normandy with a towel and beach chair….you’ll get annihilated.
2. Find your vision.
The dip is much easier when you can envision life on the other side. I love this quote…”If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up the men to gather wood, divide the work and give orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea.” (Antoine de Saint-Exupéry) What is your vast and endless sea? Can you see it? Can you feel it? Can you taste it? Having this picture in your mind and heart will put wind in your sails as you navigate through the dip.
3. Gather the right people around you.
You need people around you, but not just anyone. You need soldiers who are ready to go to war with you. They need to understand the battle that you’re facing and how to help you win that battle. Our Senior Pastor at Seacoast, Greg Surratt, says that “a friend is someone who knows the song in your heart and is able to sing it back to you when you forget the words.” Who knows the song in your heart? Having this community around you is vital if you are going to survive the dip.
4. Accept the possibility that you may not survive the dip.
You know, success isn’t guaranteed. In some cases, you can’t control whether or not you get out of the dip. You can put in all the practice and all the time, but things still may not work out. In the dip you have to doggedly focus on what you can control and leave the results up to God.
5. Take one step at a time.
Every step that you take in the dip is to be celebrated. The dip is hard and you will get discouraged if you try to bite off more than you can chew. Keep your eyes focused and take one deliberate step at a time. This is the way that mountains are climbed.
We’ve probably all been in the dip before. The trick is making sure we know which dips are worth persevering through. You can’t make it through a million dips at a time. You need to identify the battles that are worth engaging in and then fight with all your might to make it to the other side. Our culture loves the idea of success that comes quickly and easily. It’s a lie. Anything worth having has a cost associated with it. Take the time in the beginning to count the cost and then make sure you engage the battle wisely….with the right resources.