“When the pain gets so bad that you’re ready to quit, you’ve set yourself up as someone with nothing to lose. And someone with nothing to lose has quite a bit of power. You can go for broke. Challenge authority. Attempt unattempted alternatives. Lean into a problem; lean so far that you might just lean right through it.” This is just one of the many inspiring quotes from Seth Godin’s small but mighty book, “The Dip.” This quote, in particular, stood out to me as it relates to a time in my life during which I was a singer-songwriter in the music business. My “dip” came when I realized that something I dearly loved, music, had turned into a commodity, a thing I made only for profit. I had turned it into something that would make money and bring fame; and in the process I lost my love for it. After being signed with a Nashville record label that went bankrupt I found that I barely even liked music anymore. Somehow, it lost the beauty and magic that it once held for me. It was almost like a death. I mourned the loss. But I also knew that I had worked hard at “making it” in the music business, had evidently focused on the wrong thing – fame, and decided to quit. However, music for me wasn’t, as Godin describes, a cul-de-sac or cliff but only a “dip.”
It seems I had “…quit the right stuff at the right time.” (p. 3) I left Nashville and moved home to Phoenix to help care for my precious Dad who had become ill. It was an honor to care for him and be with my family during this difficult time. I never fully stopped playing music but my creativity slowed as we entered survival mode. Ultimately, my Dad passed on to a place called “Beautiful.” And little by little music has begun flowing in my spirit again. Today, after finishing Godin’s book I went to the piano and pulled out some of the songs I have written over the years. I gave them a new musical twist and felt a renewed joy in the lyrics and melodies. Perhaps I am embracing something Godin describes as the opposite of quitting – “rededication.” He says, “The opposite of quitting is an invigorated new strategy designed to break the problem apart.” My approach to music today was for pure enjoyment, a search for sweet new chords, a desire to reach into my voice and heart for excellence. It feels like I am walking up out of the “dip” and it feels good.
“Go ahead, make something happen. We’re waiting!” (p. 75)