September, 2011

I Hope I Never Feel Successful


My wife, Lisa.

I hope I never feel successful. Let me explain.

My wife Lisa is one of the most healthy and in-shape people I know. When she goes to the gym she’ll see other women hitting the weights and she will feel like she’s not really that strong. “I mean, look at those chicks over there. I’m so weak.”

Last week at work, Lisa was carrying three boxes down a hall way. As she tells the story, someone asked her if the boxes were heavy. Lisa said, “No, they’re not heavy.”

Later in the day, the person asking about the weight of the three boxes had difficulty lifting even one.

Lisa’s strong. But she doesn’t consider herself strong. It’s not a “look at me” strong. This is only because she subjects herself to the influence of people who are better than her.

I run a small creative agency called Blue Ocean Ideas. It’s very easy for me to look around at all the big agencies, all the great speakers, all the amazing designers, all the compelling authors, all the tech startups, all the people that get a lot of press, all the bloggers, all the cool kids, and say, “I want that. I’ll be successful when I have that.” Sometimes this can depress me. Other times it inspires me.

Whether it’s Lisa going to the gym and being around people stronger than her, or me following guys on Twitter who are doing inspiring things with their careers, this is how we push ourselves. We can position ourselves to not see ourselves as the best. It makes us better.

If I put myself in the position where I always felt great about who I was and what I do, I would being doing a huge disservice to those around me, especially my clients. My clients get the benefit of me subjecting myself to the leadership and influence of people better than me.

It’s a tough pill to swallow, but I think that only as I continue to feel like I have no business doing what I’m doing (I mean, look at that guy! He’s awesome! Who would want to hire me?) will I have any chance at being good at what I do.

And by the time I get to where I want to be, I’ll be staring at another mountain.

I’m ok with never feeling successful. I hope I take the time to glance backward – just ever so often – so I can at least feel progress and contentment.


“The Dip” by Seth Godin – Summary & Review


The Dip by Seth Godin

The Dip by Seth Godin


Quit often. It frees up time and space to do the things that you shouldn’t quit.

Don’t quit the things where you can become the best in the world at something. The “world” is however nichey you want it to be. But be the best at it.

Count the cost. Decide early if something is worth doing because you have to be prepared for the struggle. The struggle is inevitable if the thing is worth doing. Just make sure your ready for it. Expecting it can help get through it. This struggle is called “the Dip” and the ones who get through it are the ones who lean into it in the first place.

Additionally, make sure you decide up-front when you’re going to quit. And don’t be afraid to quit. Don’t let being in the moment decide whether you should quit or not.

What I Learned (Or Was Reminded Of)

Zig Ziglar says, “Failure isn’t a person, it’s only an event.” While “The Dip” is certainly not a self-help type of book, it was very encouraging in how it encourages you to keep going.

As an entrepreneur, I can tell you this is very, very hard. The inclination to quit comes and goes at various intervals. The worst part is not knowing how to address that emotion.

This book gave a context for deciding when to quit. I feel more ok with quitting than ever before. I also feel less of a desire to quit than ever before. Zig Ziglar also says, “Anything worth doing is worth doing poorly until you’re good at it.”

The harder anything is, the fewer people will do it. This means that the ones who do will have more value to add to the world. Don’t be afraid of adversity. Embrace it. Get through it. Just don’t give up in the middle of it. Give up sooner if you’re going to give up.

Reading this book was even more delightful trusting that a sovereign God is in the mix of this mess that we all fight through.

Other Major Points, Whether I Agree With Them Or Not

There is surprising value to being #1. Of all of the various ice cream flavors, vanilla is the top-seller, and its sales are drastically higher than even the second most popular flavor, chocolate.

What I Underlined

  • “Winners quit all the time. They just quit the right stuff at the right time.
  • “Anyone who is going to hire you, buy from you, recommend you, vote for you, or do what you want them to do is going to wonder if you’re the best choice. Best as in: best for them, right now, based on what they believe and what they know. And in the world as in: their world, the world they have access”
  • “…each micromarket still has a best…best in that world…”
  • [cartoon] “Only talented people fret about mediocrity.”
  • “In a free market, we reward the exceptional.”
  • “The Dip is the long slog between starting and mastery…that’s essentially a short cut.”
  • “Scarcity, as we’ve seen, is the secret to value. If there wasn’t a Dip, there’d be no scarcity.”
  • “…lean into the Dip.”
  • [margin note: AKA “The Resistance” (War of Art)] in reference to: “If It Is Worth Doing, There’s Probably a Dip”
  • “…facing either of these two curves [The Cliff, The Cul-de-Sac], you need to quit. Not soon, but right now.”
  • “What’s the point of sticking it out if you’re not going to get the benefits of being the best in the world?”
  • “And if you don’t have enough time and money, do you have the guts to pick a different, smaller market to conquer?”
  • [cartoon] “If it doesn’t cost you your life, it isn’t a quest.”
  • “It wasn’t until Butch and Sundance faced certain death that they escaped.”
  • **”In a competative world, adversity is your ally.”
  • “When Jack Welch remade GE, the most fabled decision he made was this: If we can’t be #1 or #2 in an industry, we must get out. // Why sell a billion-dollar division that’s making a profit quite happily while ranking #4 in market share? Easy. Because it distracts management attention. I sucks resources and capital and focus and energy. And most of all, it teaches people in the organization that it’s okay to not be the best in the world. // Jack quit the dead ends. By doing so, he freed resources to get his other businesses through the Dip.”
  • “…the wind is unpredictable…every single function of an organization has a wind problem.”
  • “The reason people bother to go windsurfing is that the challenge makes it interesting.”
  • ***”The Dip is the reason you’re here.
  • “***”A woodpecker can tap twenty times on a thousand trees and get nowhere, but stay busy. Or he can tap twenty-thousand times on one tree and get dinner.”
  • “…you do a minute or tow of work for no reason other than to tire out your muscle so that the last few seconds of work will cause that muscle to grow.”
  • “…you quit using your muscles before you reach the moment where the stress causes them to start growing…because an exhausted muscle feels unsafe–and it hurts.”
  • “Unsuccessful trainers pay exactly the same dues but stop a few seconds too early.”
  • “If the journey you started was worth doing, then quitting when you hit the Dip just wastes the time you’ve already invested.”
  • ***”Simple: If you can’t make it through the Dip, don’t start.”
  • “Not only do you need to find a Dip that you can conquer but you also need to quit all the Cul-de-Sacs that you’re currently idling your way through.”
  • “Being better than 98 percent of the competition used to be fine. In the world of Google, though, it’s useless. It’s useless because all of your competition is just a click away, whatever it is you do. The only position you can count on now is best in the world.”
  • “One of the underpinnings of the Dip is the pyramid…people at the bottom support the guy at the top.”
  • “…lots of people sign up for a health-club membership (having a lot of members lets the club keep the rates reasonable)…very few people actually come frequently after they join.”
  • [cartoon] “[pawn:] ‘The harder I work, the sooner I get to be king!” [King:] “The harder he works, the longer I get to stay king!”
  • “The pain (and the waste) comes when the optimists have to make the hard choices when they get stuck in the Dip.”
  • “Why not quit? Same reason as always…it’s easier to stick with something that we’re used to…”
  • “It’s about the story you tell yourself. You grew up believing that quitting is a moral failure.”
  • “…Declaration of Independence warns us, “all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which the are sccustomed.”
  • “I’d rather have you focus on quitting (or not quitting) as a go-up opportunity. It’s not about avoiding the humiliation of failure. Even more important, you can realize that quitting the stuff you don’t care about or the stuff you’re mediocre at or better yet quitting Cul-de-Sacs frees up your resources to obsess about the Dips that matter.”
  • “Worse, when faced with the Dip, sometimes we don’t quit. Instead, we get mediocre.”
  • “When faced with the Dip, most people suck it up and try to average their way to success. // Which is precisely why so few people end up as the best in the world.”
  • **”…you have only two good choices: Quit of be exceptional.”
  • “…sticks with a consistent theme, showing up, paying its dues…”
  • ***”Most people are waiting for the tested, the authenticated, and the proven.”
  • “…(you must) quit a product or feature or a design…you mustn’t quit a market or a strategy or a niche.”
  • “Your strategy—to be a trusted source in your chosen market—can survive even if your product is canceled.”
  • “The Opposite of Quitting Isn’t ‘Waiting Around’…the opposite of quitting is rededication. The opposite of quitting is an invigorated new strategy designed to break the problem apart.”
  • “…someone with nothing to lose has quite a bit of power.”
  • “He wasn’t bluffing.”
  • “No One Quits the Boston Marathon at Mile 25”
  • “Winners understand that taking that pain now prevents a lot more pain later.”
  • “If You’re Not Going to Get to #1, You Might as Well Quit Now.”[cartoon] Short-Term Panic –> Long-Term Gain –> Short-Term Panic –> Long-Term Gain –> Short-Term Panic –> etc., etc.
  • “Quitting is better than coping because it frees you up to excel at something else.”
  • “Are you too proud to quit?”
  • “If pride is the only thing keeping you from quitting, if there’s no Dip to get through, you’re likely wasting an enormous amount of time and money defending something that will heal pretty quickly.”
  • “The best quitters…are the ones who decide in advance when they’re going to quit.”
  • ***”Sergey Brin, cofounder of Google, told me, “We knew that Google was going to get better every single day as we worked on it, and we knew that sooner or later, everyone was going to try it. So our feeling was that the later you tried it, the better it was for us because we’d make a better impression with better technology. So we were never in a big hurry to get you to use it today. Tomorrow would be better.”
  • “Measurable progress…needs to be more than…just “surviving is succeeding.…surface new milestones in areas where you have previously expected to find none.”
  • “Quitting Before You Start // Here’s an assignment for you: Write it down. Write down under what circumstances you’re willing to quit. And when. And then stick with it.”
  • [quote from ultramarathoner Dick Collins] “Decide before the race the conditions that will cause you to stop and drop out. You don’t want to be out there saying, ‘Well gee, my leg hurts, I’m a little dehydrated, I’m sleepy, I’m tired, and it’s cold and windy.’ And talk yourself into quitting. If you are making a decision based on how you feel at that moment, you will probably make the wrong decision.”
  • ***”If quitting is going to be a strategic decision that enables you to make smart choices in the marketplace, then you should outline your quitting strategy before the discomfort sets in.” [margin note: Execute w/ nothing to lose until this point.”
  • “The lesson is simple: If you’ve got as much as you’ve got, use it. Use it to become the best in the world, to change the game, to set the agenda for everyone else. You can only do that by marshaling all of your resources to get through the biggest possible Dip. In order to get through that Dip, you’ll need to quit everything else. If it’s not going to put a dent in the world, quit. Right now. Quit and use that void to find the energy to assault the Dip that matters.”
  • “If it scares you, it might be a good thing to try.”
  • “All our successes are the same. All our failures too. // We succeed when we do something remarkable. // We fail when we give up too soon. // We succeed when we are the best in the world at what we do. // We fail when we get distracted by tasks we don’t have the guts to quit.

Performing “Add to the Beauty” with Jeremy Casella


Our Honeymoon to Paris – (Music) Video Recap


Lisa Bond & Brody Bond – Wedding – October 10, 2009


Brody Bond’s Bachelor Party – Las Vegas, NV – September 24-26, 2009


Brody on the Price Is Right

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