When You Feel Like Quitting

Selling Girl Scout Cookies“You’re astonishing. How dare you waste it.”
-From Godin’s The Dip
The other day, I received an email from my mom. It went something like this: “I don’t know why, but I feel compelled to tell you that you need to write your book. The time is now.”

I wrote her back, “My book? But, I don’t know what to write.”

She wrote back, “Write what you know.”

Of course. That is what they always told me in graduate school. So, yesterday, when I began to feel like quitting, I started editing entries from my first blog, which I began in 1999, and I started to write a story that belongs to my memoir, which I have only shared with two people.

And, yesterday, when I felt like quitting, Robert brought me home a book I’d placed on reserve at the library: Seth Godin’s The Dip.

Godin writes, “Winners quit all the time. They just quit the right stuff at the right time…Extraordinary benefits accrue to the tiny minority of people who are able to push just a tiny bit longer than most. Extraordinary benefits also accrue to the tiny majority with the guts to quit early and refocus their efforts on something new.”

And, yesterday, when I felt like quitting, I discovered that a local journalist, who also happens to be one cool Generation Xer, linked to a post I wrote back in April. Right in the middle of that moment that Godin says all high-achieving, goal-oriented people have – that moment when we want to quit – I received this tiny bit of validation. I’m thanking the journalist for it in the only tangible way I can, by adding him to my blog roll. Here, the rule of reciprocity prevails for a humble blogger like me.

So, as it turns out, I’m in the dip. Godin writes, “The Dip is the long slog between starting and mastery. A long slog that’s actually a shortcut, because it gets you where you want to go faster than any other path.”

My father’s favorite chapter of the Bible was Hebrews 12, sometimes called “the faith chapter.” It’s my favorite, too. Paul the Apostle said it even better than Seth Godin. “…Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.”

Lately, I’ve been jumping rope to improve my cardiovascular health. I walk a block and jump for 50 and I do this over the course of 16 blocks. This morning, I inadvertently stuck my keys in the pocket of my shorts. They drove me nuts. They clanked. They threw me a little off balance. They interrupted my focus. One tiny set of keys slowed me down.

No matter a person’s particular faith or the lack thereof, I believe everyone has a race marked out for them. Do you ever feel like quitting? What do you need to throw off to run your race with endurance? Is it time to persevere or is it time to quit and refocus?

Hello! Before You Go…

I don't know what brought you here today, but I'm glad you're here. I invite you to sign up for my MONTHLY NEWSLETTER. It will be delivered right to your inbox just once a month. (No annoying daily emails.) Life is beautiful and though the days be short, sometimes, our troubles are long. Let's share a small part of the journey with each other! --jen


  1. says

    I know I’m just now getting to it, but what a fabulous post. There couldn’t be a more appropriate time for me to have read it. I love the way the universe works!

    Refocusing, I’m workin’ on it. :)
    Thanks, Jen.

  2. says

    You are definitely ‘in the dip’ Jen because where you are now is where you are supposed to be.

    When you get that you’re always where you’re supposed to be, there’s no need for anticipation. You can enjoy each moment of your life. You are present, in the moment. What’s coming will come, you don’t have to guide it in.

    Here are a few thoughts for you to ponder upon Jen.
    If you knew then what you know now, would you have lived any area of your life differently?

    You see – if you knew then what you know now, you wouldn’t be where you are now. You wouldn’t have what you have now, and you wouldn’t be with whom you are with now. Not that any of these things are good or bad (they could be either if you choose to see them that way).

    What I have written is probably as ‘clear as mud’ but I feel you will know when the time is right to write your book.


  3. says

    Great post with reminders to keep on going, with a reminder that sometimes its ok to think about what you are doing.

    Are you going to be ready to jumprope the Tulsa Run this October?

  4. says

    Hi Jen, as usual your post has inspired many. They usually do -you should always remember that! good luck with the big write and i know its been up a while now but I haven’t said how much I liked your new banner.

  5. says

    @REMI from the UK – I can’t begin to tell you what it means to have a new name, a new face show up on my blog. I believe God orders our steps if we allow Him, and I am so grateful that today He spoke to you through these words – of course Godin deserves much of the credit, but everything good thing cometh down from the Father of Lights, no? I hope you’ll visit again, soon.

  6. says

    @DEBRA – I believe in you. I’ve been following your blog, and I believe you should push forward – stretch to what seems like the impossible now. I am so very grateful that I have connected with you.

  7. Remi, United Kingdom says

    Hi there, first time here, navigated from light her lamp’s blog.

    I was about to go to bed and thought I would do my blog rounds… and then I came across your blog… yup, I’m so way down in the ‘dip’ it’s unreal, but I made a decision yesterday and today to do something about it, and tonight I was almost about to prospone it, but after coming back from prayer meetings and then reading this… I have no choice but to ‘just start’ what I need to do, and therein lies the steps to take me out of this terrible dip!

    Hmmm… Thanks for sharing… I might not make much sense right now! lol.. But your post has been a confirmation about something I need to do… now.

    God bless

  8. says

    Jen, you and I walk similar paths. My father has been bugging me to begin “really writing”. He sends me books by authors he thinks that I should use my style to write like.

    I agree with your mom, Jen. Just start. You already have a fabulous base!


  9. says

    @KAT – Don’t worry if you can’t make the rounds to everyone! Blogging can be exhausting. Focus on your art form of poetry. I have some ideas to shoot your way. I will email you.

    @KREG – You’re so observant – and funny. I can’t believe you visited my blog. 😉 Mastery leaves me bored, too.

  10. Krëg says

    Jumping rope is the most brutally efficient workout I’ve ever tried. Of course, I haven’t tried splitting rocks with a mattock at a forced labor camp yet. I suppose that would be more slightly more effective.

    The Dip sounds like the only part of life I really enjoy: pre-undertaking just leaves me longing, and mastery just leaves me bored.

  11. says

    Funny, we’re kind of in the same “dip” at the moment. I’m trying to focus on getting my writing out to an audience other than my blog. I’m assembling my works in the hope of publishing and I’ve also just started seriously exercising again.

    I’m working more away from the internet and yet I feel badly if I don’t get to visit everyone. (Still got that guilt thing going on.)

    Your mom is right, Jen. The time IS now. If not now, when?

    Good luck! You’re going to do fine.


  12. says

    @TR – Thank you! You are nicer to me than I deserve, but of course, the sentiment is mutual. Your blog is such a rising star.

    @Naomi – Really, we’re in the same place? I need to know I’m not the only one who wants to quit sometimes. Godin says everyone feels this way, but it seems like nobody wants to talk about it. =/

  13. Naomi Munn says

    Wow, we really are in the same place! :) I realized lately that I need to throw off my blanket of “normal” and just be who I am. I’m weird. It’s about time I accepted that fact and delved into it, instead of covering it and fighting it. And like the Dip, it’s the slog that’s the hardest but also the fastest way to enlightnenment. Happy writing!!!

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