Are you a double dipper? Don’t be!
January 21, 2010 by Natalie Gelman
I’m not talking about onion dip or salsa – by all means go ahead on that one. There is another kind of dip out there you should be aware of though…
In my last blog I quoted from Seth Godin’s Purple Cow: “Are you making very good stuff? How fast can you stop?” I started reading his book, The Dip, next without realizing it was about just that (quiting what you should), which I found pretty ironic considering that it encompassed one of the main points I took from Purple Cow.
As an independent artist I realized one day that I wear a ton of different hats that if I was just an artist (with a team or a label) I wouldn’t have to. I made a list a few years ago of all the things I do for my career that someone would do as part of my team if I had one: Marketing, PR, Booking, Tour Management, Travel Arrangement, Accounting, Production, Graphic Designer, Project and General Management, Shipping Manager… Coffee Girl. Wearing all these hats can be a bit overwhelming and depressing or maybe it’s exhilarating if you appreciate yourself for all your work on multiple and very separate tasks -or if you just have a unique affection for head accessories. The truth is though, that you need to quit the stuff you don’t do well or just shouldn’t be doing and focus on being the best at one thing.
I think that Godin would agree with me that it’s important to have a taste of all of those jobs and realize the work they entail because he recommends that everyone involved with a product be involved with it’s marketing. I think it has definitely benefited me and made me realize how important just the right people for the team I am assembling are to my success as an artist and as they come together I will appreciate how much work it takes to do any of them exceptionally.
I have gotten very good at a lot of those “hats” but the truth is I would probably be a lot better at the stuff that mattered if I didn’t do so many of them. Time and talent are my biggest resources and over time, if I’m going to grow, its absolutely necessary that I let go, quit as Godin would say, all of the stuff that I just shouldn’t do and someone can probably do better. Not to mention that they would enjoy doing it a lot more than I do.
It’s more important than ever to be the best at what you do because we have such a global community now and people have access to products, or music, that may be more of what they want. Going back to Purple Cow you should pick your niche and then strive to be the leader and the best at what you do.
Isn’t it a tragedy to go after something half-heartedly anyways? I know I have felt that way when I realize I am too immersed in the business of my career and need to just listen to music, play for people and write some songs about what I’m feeling and learning.
The bright side of all of this is that when you’re doing what you love and focused on that one thing that you want to be the best at the little upsets will matter less and The Dip won’t feel so tough I think. I want to say a bit about that because I know a lot of people haven’t read the book and don’t know what I’m talking about.
The Dip is the time when after some success whatever you’re trying to do gets tough. It’s no longer fun like it was when you first started and you’re trying to decide if what you want is really worth all the work, fear, struggles and set backs your experiencing. We all experience those moments and those times in our lives. Right at the top of the book Godin says: “I feel like giving up. Almost every day, in fact. Not all day, of course, but there are moments.”
I read that and felt like I wasn’t so alone anymore. Here was a Bestselling author admitting that it’s tough. It would be so much easier to just lie in bed all day and be mediocre but that’s not what I want in my heart.
The point is, all the tough stuff, The Dip, is called a dip for a reason. If you work through it you will come out on the other side a much better musician and so much better at that thing you do that you will be the best at. Even better is, if you face it head on, realize it for what it is, and charge thorough it you will appreciate it for the challenge it is and get to your goals faster.
I’m going to do my best this year to make charging through dips a habit. I have been wearing a lot of silly hats for a very long time so hopefully you’ll see me passing those on little by little to people who will like booking, managing and dealing with all of that business stuff a whole lot more than I do.
I know a lot of you made resolutions for the new year and I want to implore you to push through any of your dips too. Whatever you do don’t be a double dipper. If your going to quit, quit early because it was the right thing to do for you and focus that energy at working through what you really want and the dip it takes to get there once. If you’re going to be the best at what you do or just loose those holiday pounds it’s not worth the time to quit, get momentum to start over and find yourself back in this dip some time in the future.
If you want to pick up the book or check out Seth Godin, he has a cool blog at www.sethgodin.typepad.com Tomorrow I’ll be blogging about his book Tribes as it applies to my career so stop back.