The latest book to go through my hit-list was The Dip, by Seth Godin, a book all about tactical quitting.
The innate beliefs we hold about quitting could probably be traced back to our childhood:
Quitters never win and winners never quit.
This statement was drilled into us via our school teachers and our sports coaches, a saying that we can all recite.
Winners quit fast, quit often and quit without guilt. They find and commit to beating the right dip for the right reasons.
Quitting as a short term solution is a bad idea, but quitting as a long term solution is a good idea. What the coach or teacher should be asking you is “are you quitting something with great long term potential just because you can’t deal with the stress of the moment?”
The dip is something we almost always knew about. I would imagine every artist recognizes it too.
For me The Dip, had this enlightening effect that happened the moment I put the book down: I have decided to stop trying to become a jack-of-all-trades marketer and become the best content marketer I can possibly be.
But what does being the best content marketer look like?
Of course when you’re working in a small team you have to take the reigns and work on the problems that aren’t your strong suit. But there is also the hidden opportunity to level up your work, and make it your best yet.
Gregory Ciotti showed us how hard hiring a content marketer can be. He illustrates that it’s rare to have someone (hence unicorn) who is good at the three mains areas of content marketing:
When I’ve had my one-to-ones with our Director of Marketing, Kumy Veluppillai, we’ve always tried to hone in my strengths as I make my progress towards the Content Marketing Manager role. Kumy has always praised me for my networking skills, because I managed to secure some guest posts with the most influential voices in the customer service sector.
But I like to think of myself as a writer too. In your eyes that would make fall into the quadrant between writing ability and networking ability. But I think “writing ability” also encompasses editing too – a love for perfect spelling and grammar.
Trying to be the best content marketer
I think I could build my own area on the image above of “communication ability.” while that sounds very general, I actually mean it by: reaching out (or listening) to people, understanding their needs and worldview, then convincing them of a new way to think.
So what does this look like in practice? Quite simple really, and I demonstrated it within the customer service sector.
Let’s be honest here, customer service isn’t the sexiest industry out there. But it pays a lot of to focuses on customer service early on in the business. The rate at which a company grows is dictated by the amount of people that churn vs. the amount of people that sign up as new business – and founders know this.
But how do you sell customer service to people who only care about growth and revenue? Well you bring it to their awareness hence this blog post I wrote for SaaScribe:
The front end of the post presents some data on churn, but the other two thirds shows you how good customer service can help you reduce churn!
So when I can write a post like this – one that understands the audience and their problems – should I aim to be the best editor in the world?
In fact here’s a list of the things I quit:
1. Being the best editor – because I can probably hire and English Lit grad to correct my work.
2. Being the most knowledgeable about customer service – because I’ll never beat Sarah Chambers‘s knowledge.
3. All side projects I thought were a good idea, and have been slowly dying in the background while working full-time – because they’re a cul-de-sac and not a viable output of energy, plus I’d rather focus on my blog.
Quit the skills that don’t align with your personality
At Kayako we’re big fans of taking the Myer-Briggs personality test because we have an unusual amount of INTJs in the office. Sad news for the office because I’m an ENFP, or “the Campaigner” according to 16 Personalities.
But this is exactly where tactical quitting and personality lined up for me. After reading the The Dip, my Myer-Briggs personality lined up with job and skill set. The way I see “the campaigner” as a marketer is exactly how I described above. Going out there connecting with others, getting those guest posts, and encouraging readers of a new way to think.
It’s rare that an 80-page book can change your life, but I’d say this one certainly helped me feel that way.