The Missing Chapter Of “The Dip” Every Entrepreneur Should Know About
“Why is there vomit on my shirt?” I thought to myself as I woke up in a haze.
There were two nurses around me, which made me remember I was at Urgent Care.
I had passed out from dehydration and fatigue and had started vomiting on myself while the nurses held me from falling off the examination table.
(Which, by the way, was a terrible way to start my day… I had too many things ‘to do’ to waste time being sick.)
Over the past two years, we had bootstrapped The Foundation from nothing to $2M+ in revenue. I wanted to push harder this year and spending time at Urgent Care wasn’t on my priority list.
As I sat in a chair with an IV pumping fresh fluids into my system, I thought to myself, “How the hell did I end up here?”
This post is a warning… as much as public service announcement to anyone who is an entrepreneur and has ever felt inspired by reading ‘The Dip.’
The Dip only tells half the story. It doesn’t share what happens AFTER you make it through and after you reach your goal. (And the dangers that follow.)
If I had known about this, I’m guessing I could have anticipated this and wouldn’t have ended up at Urgent Care that day.
(If you keep reading, you’ll see exactly how Tiger Woods understood this concept and leveraged it to become one of the greatest golfers in the history of the sport.)
Haven’t read “The Dip” yet?
Here’s the gist of the book in three short paragraphs (and one simple image):
There are specific points to quit new projects. In the beginning, it’s relatively easy and you’re full of inspiration. Then there is a phase of every new project or goal where you’re cruising along and you hit ‘The Dip.’
The Dip makes you decide if you want to experience the pain for the reward. The Dip forces you to choose if it’s worth it. The Dip is what keeps out the people who don’t really want it bad enough.
It’s very useful. When you make it through The Dip, you start seeing incremental progress. Often you’ll see exponential growth where the rewards multiply over time and you become the best in the world at your craft. The purpose of this book is to encourage the best time to quit, which is at the beginning… not when you’re in the midst of The Dip.
But here’s the problem: Do you notice anything funny about the graph of The Dip?
It doesn’t end. It just keeps going. It assumes that once you make it through The Dip once, the rest of your life is filled with rainbows and unicorns and is always perfect.
But that’s not the case.
Anytime you have a period of immense growth, you reach a point when you exhaust your strategies. You hit a ceiling. A wall. What worked before doesn’t work anymore.
You’ve outgrown your identity.
You’ve outgrown your belief structures.
You’ve outgrown your goals.
It’s like you’re running on an old operating system. And it’s time for a major update.
I call this “The Breaking Point.” And, it’s painful if you don’t see it coming.
Here’s what the graph actually looks like:
Here’s how it works:
The Dip — The period in starting something new when you hit a wall of challenges to force you to decide if you’re fully in or if you’re out.
Growth — If you make it through The Dip, you’ll move into “Growth.” This is the phase when you’re moving 100 mph and gaining massive results in a short period of time. It’s fun, energizing and exciting to see the fruit of all your hard work paying off.
The Breaking Point — Something happens after the explosive growth periods. It slows down. The results get harder. And then you hit a point all together when you realize what worked before isn’t working any longer. Usually this can come in the form of a painful life lesson. (I had to pass out at Urgent Care to learn this lesson.)
Recreation — In the recreation phase, you go inward. You know it’s not working. But you don’t know what “IT” is. It’s your blind spot. So you withdraw. You step back and focus on reinventing yourself and your strategies. This is required if you want to jump to the next level of success.
This requires you to forget everything you’ve learned. It requires you to reinvent yourself. It requires letting go of everything that worked to explore the unknown again.
It’s like the moment you thought you ‘made it,’ and then you realize the Universe has something much greater in store for you. And, to reach your true potential, you must go explore what that looks like.
This goes on forever. There is no ‘arriving.’ It’s a constant game of hitting a dip, growing, hitting a wall, recreating, and growing again.
How Tiger Woods Used “The Breaking Point” To Become A Golf Legend (While Everyone Else Doubted Him) Tiger Woods understood this concept.
Between turning professional in 1997 and 2002, Woods won eight major championships in six years. No one in the history of the game has come even close to beginning their career in such a dominant fashion.
Between mid-2002 and the 2005 Masters, Woods went 10 majors without a victory.
Because in 2002, he started to reconstruct his swing from the ground up. Reinventing it completely.
This is when the media had a frenzy.
What is Tiger doing? Is he crazy? Is he just a ‘flash in the pan’? What happened to the ‘old’ Tiger? He’s never going to the legend everyone thought he’d be.
How quickly people lose faith.
Three years later, Tiger went on another hot streak to win 6 more majors in three years.
Three years of nothing. Three years of working without any fame. Without any glory. Without any results. While everyone around him doubted him.
And then he went on another exponential growth streak.
(When the media, of course, touts him as the ‘greatest golfer of all time’ again.)
None of that would have been possible if he didn’t take the time to step backwards and to reinvent himself.
Tiger anticipated The Breaking Point and reacted appropriately.
Even though the media though he was crazy. Even though people thought he had ‘lost it.’ In the midst of everyone doubting him, he knew what was required to reach the next level.
This is what entrepreneurs need to understand.
The Dip isn’t something that happens one time. It happens over and over and over.
You hit The Dip. Push through it. Experience the exponential growth and the rewards. Then you hit The Breaking Point.
And you have to go backwards. Go inward to rediscover and reinvent yourself. And then go through The Dip all over again before hitting your next level.
When you understand this, you can welcome the changes like Tiger did. You’ll know that when the results start to slow down, it’s a sign to go inward… not to push harder.
Then you can welcome the changes with ease and grace.