How to blast past the “dip” and get that tail wagging again

by Craig McBreen · 45 comments · Breaking out, Creativity

Do you have a convenient excuse for failure?

I excelled at this for years and it has something to do with the “dip.”

This Seth Godin term describes that juncture where the romance has worn off. Your enterprise is past the tail wagging stage and it’s time to plow forward or call it quits.

I’ll just call it a Grand Master Funk.

It’s when you grasp how lengthy, plodding and tough that climb to the top can be. This realization often kills our spirit and we want to throw in the towel.

A general malaise sets in.

The enchantment is gone and you see nothing but work ahead.

Infatuation meets familiarity and the once passionate becomes routine.

Talk about a convenient time to say, “oh well, I tried but it was just too much.”

“Just too much.” Hmmm. Where you at with that, huh brah?

You feelin’ kinda stuck?

Has the passion died?

Where in the hell did the music go?

You know? That infectious tune inside your head that said “never give up?”

What happened to NEVER GIVE UP! Huh?

It doesn’t have to be this way. Do you want to know why?

Because you have the power inside you.

Damn straight you do! And don’t ever think you don’t.

This moment of stagnation is an opportunity.
Because this is when you discover how strong, creative and innovative you are.

Sure, sometimes quitting is the best thing you can do (so says Seth), but this is about the people who want to push through and make something great.

Do you want to push through and see that big, fat dream come true?

Then get used to the fact that it’s a long, slow journey.

And become familiar with the term, “resistance.” Steven Pressfield* coined it. It’s when dread and apprehension take over. Indecision and self-sabotage rule the day and keep you from your grand aspirations.

As he put is so well:
“Resistance is more like the pain-in-the-ass schoolteacher who won’t let us climb the tree in the playground.

But the urge to climb came first.”  … Damn I love that Pressfield.

And you know what?
That sure-fire, energy-sucking, pain-in-the-ass always makes an appearance during your little funk.

So get familiar with this term and don’t forget that your dream, passion, or crazy good feeling came first.

That, my friend is love. Big love and that will help carry you through the funk.

As the Red Head would say, bitch slap that funk and get back to work!

If you need a little help, try these fun exercises:

1. Learn to embrace discomfort
Go out and do the things you want to do, even if you fear them. Do this often young Jedi and it will tame the fear response deep within.

And remember this: Your primal lizard brain doesn’t like dreams. Please don’t let it dominate your life, so learn to push through by embracing uncomfortable situations one day at a time.

2. Change your perspective
You alone have the power to change your outlook from negative to positive. Well, duh! Thanks master of the obvious.

But do step back and observe. Think about the past few days, weeks. Have you turned a great day into a crap day?

So please change that attitude first thing in the morning.

If you focus on problems you might open a Pandora’s box of needless pain. If you focus on opportunities, well, I think you know the rest.

And c’mon, is it really that bad? Really?
First world problems are a bitch, huh? Well, some people in Liberia or Afghanistan might want to talk to you about real problems.

This all comes down to fear. Work to tame it, daily. Or better yet, drop-kick that mother.

Think of this “dip” as an opportunity. Kick fear to the curb and embrace Love. I know you love a challenge and have some lofty goals.

So don’t let the nasty old funk kill your spirit.

It’s zero hour, so crank it up and get busy. Sorry, I’m a sucker for cheesy, motivational movie vignettes. I bet you are too.

Go on, you can do it. Fists in the air.

On the way to making IT happen?

Are you feeling stuck in the mud?

What gets you off the mat and ready to take on the day?

*I’ve listed The War of Art on my resources page, because it’s such an amazing book!


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{ 43 comments… read them below or add one }

Suddenly Jamie May 2, 2012 at 6:12 pm

SO needed to hear this today.
Love the ideas.
Love the format.
TOTALLY love the skydiving/motorbike-riding Chihuahua. New personal Grand Master Funk mascot. :)

To quickly answer your last question – the thing that gets me “off the mat” each day is the possibility of what might be and the knowledge that I’ll never get to find out unless I get moving. Now.
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Craig McBreen May 3, 2012 at 1:03 am

Hi Jamie,

I need to hear it every day. That’s why I write it! ;)

Thank you and yes that is one kick-ass Chihuahua, huh?

“New personal Grand Master Funk mascot.”
-Love that! :)

I love what you are saying and glad you got moving! Here’s to making those big dreams happen one step at a time.

Thanks and always great to see you here.


Suddenly Jamie May 2, 2012 at 6:13 pm

PS – Also, bribing myself with chocolate is pretty effective. ;)


Craig McBreen May 3, 2012 at 1:05 am

Choose your poison, right? Well chocolate is pretty harmless ;)


Bill Dorman May 2, 2012 at 7:42 pm

Over? It’s not over:

I was thinking more along the lines of Grand Funk Railroad.

And as far as dip is concerned is all I have to say about that.

I dipped hard because I couldn’t keep up the pace; I had to step back and find what is sustainable for me and it’s been a love-fest ever since. Sometimes you just have to move past some of this silliness in here.

If you think you were cheesy, just check out my attachments……..:)

I do have patience (except when I’m driving) and I can see things through. 29+ years in marriage and same employer should be an indication of that, huh?
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Craig McBreen May 3, 2012 at 1:12 am

Hi Bill,

Those damn Germans ;)

I was thinking more along the lines of Grand Funk Railroad.
–Good one ;)

Well, you can be a Skoal dipper if you want. No problem.

It’s crazy, hard work keeping up, isn’t it? Glad you were able to step back AND embrace writing … I think it will only get better for you from here on out. And, nothin’ wrong with cheesy.

29+ years of marriage will teach you more than a few things, and I guess patience is one of them, or maybe it’s just one of your virtues.


Jack@TheJackB May 2, 2012 at 10:57 pm

My kids get to shadowbox with me to this all the time. One day they will think I am crazy, but not yet. Not now.

Can I share one other thing? They went to Philadelphia in 2010 and ran the stairs without me. That sucks.

Next time baby, eye of the tiger.
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Craig McBreen May 3, 2012 at 1:15 am

Hi Jack,

Same here, my youngest son and I shadowbox and dance to these too. I honestly never get sick of cheesy, Rocky vignettes. I like ‘em all and so does he.

Bummer, I hit those steps about 20 years ago ;) Yes, next time make it happen.

Thanks for stopping by.


Ralph May 3, 2012 at 12:08 pm

Here’s my take on this whole thing…..

Ok. Maybe I’m waaaaay too serious for such shenanigans. Godin and Pressfield have it nailed and THAT advice is good to help you see the light and recognize the things that can make you eff the whole thing up. Fo sho bro.

Here’s another one for ya! I started reading a few weeks back and it had some tangible tips (strategies) to build on your creative process. What it does is recognize all those things that Pressfield and Godin identify that can hold you back and puts them into practical action related methods to keep your creativity alive. Brilliant stuff.

So, I say SCREW resistance and the dip can SUCK IT ’cause this cat is here to stay. Just see what I can do with TIME (and the great advice I get from you folks).

Rock on mister! Are you the lyrical Jessee James? Do you have it?…….
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Craig McBreen May 3, 2012 at 5:14 pm

Hi Ralph,

Ah, childhood memories :) Electric Co. Trippy intro and all.

Love Todd Henry. In fact I just listened to his BlogcastFM interview for about the third time this morning. He does his thing extremely well.

I guess you and I admire the same people. Todd offers great, actionable advice. Seth, well he just does his thing. And Pressfield: Well I’ve read the War of Art several times and go back and read parts of the book often. In my humble opinion it’s one of the best self help books ever written.

“So, I say SCREW resistance and the dip can SUCK IT ’cause this cat is here to stay. Just see what I can do with TIME (and the great advice I get from you folks).”
–Yowza! Keep rockin’ it, Ralph!

Loving the YouTube Vids too.


Ralph Dopping May 3, 2012 at 5:32 pm

Thanks. And just to be clear I absolutely love Pressfield’s book “Do the Work!” published by Godin’s Domino Project. I have huge respect for Seth Godin for putting great content out there tahat may never see the light of day. We are all better for haveing the chnace to read stuff like that.

Do the Work is my bible, per se. I tend to go back to it over and over.

I have not listened to the BCFM with Todd Henry. Must do. Thx for the tip.
Later gater…..;-)
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Craig McBreen May 4, 2012 at 12:15 am

Oh, yeah, I read “Do the Work!” too. That’s a great one to leaf through when you’re not feeling the passion. Here’s to the Domino Project!

That was a really solid interview. I think you’ll love it.


Jill Tooley May 3, 2012 at 2:30 pm

You know, this is one of the few blogs I read where I’ll not only read every single word, but also devour every single comment! There’s such an amazing group of people gathering here. Never a dull (or a down-in-the-dumps) moment! :) You guys rock.

I’m with Ralph on this one — the dip can SUCK it!!!

Thank you, Craig.
Jill Tooley recently posted..It’s Our 1,000th Blog Post! Celebrate with 16 of Our Juiciest ArticlesMy Profile


Craig McBreen May 3, 2012 at 5:17 pm

Hi Jill,

Thank you, Ma’am for the kind words.

And, yes, this community rocks!

I also love to write posts like this one because I know I will get some great, great comments which really motivate me even more.

And you know what? Your comment has done the trick. I’m stoked and I thank you very much!

I’m with Ralph too and so glad you stopped by today.


Jill Tooley May 3, 2012 at 7:39 pm

Smiles all around!!! :D
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Craig McBreen May 4, 2012 at 12:19 am

And keep ‘em coming! Shoot us an update on your book sometime too.


Jill Tooley May 4, 2012 at 7:23 pm

I’m up to 43 pages and counting! I’ve been averaging 1-2 pages a day. :)
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Craig McBreen May 5, 2012 at 12:03 am

43 pages! :) Talk about smiles all around. That is incredible. Great, great news and please keep me up-to-date.


Ralph Dopping May 3, 2012 at 5:35 pm

You tell ‘em Jill. BTW, I need to drop by yer blog. I can’t believe there have been a 1,000 posts and I haven’t read one. Sheesh.
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Jill Tooley May 3, 2012 at 7:40 pm

Haha, thanks Ralph! And don’t feel bad, because I need to drop by yours, too! Looking forward to it. :)
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Craig McBreen May 5, 2012 at 12:05 am

Oh, man. I gotta do that to!!


Craig McBreen May 4, 2012 at 12:17 am

She told ‘em! ;) You and Jill have really cranked it up!


Craig McBreen May 4, 2012 at 12:24 am

1,000! That IS something to sing about.


Jill Tooley May 4, 2012 at 7:24 pm

Aww, thank you, Craig! We’re pretty psyched!
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Craig McBreen May 5, 2012 at 12:04 am

I would be too. When I hit my 10th post I thought it was a big deal ;)

Jens P. Berget May 3, 2012 at 8:39 pm

Hi Craig,

Awesome post. I have also read the dip by Seth Godin, and it was sort of an awakening. And I believe that reading Seth Godin’s books was the first time I ever read about the lizard brain.

The thing is. I have many doubts and I think too much. But I never stop. I just keep going and going, because that’s what makes me smile :)

I really enjoy your style… keep it up.
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Craig McBreen May 4, 2012 at 12:10 am

Hi Jens,

Thank you, Sir!

We all have doubts (well, that’s most of my life ;)) but pushing through when we receive lizard brain interference can be magic.

Hey man, I’ll keep pumping this out as long as people keep coming. Thanks!

Always great to see you here.


Deeone Higgs May 4, 2012 at 7:19 pm

Man Craig, NOW THAT WAS MOTIVATION!!! Loved it man! That’s what I call a “swift-kick-in-the-get -yo-ass-back-to-work!” I’m like Jamie, I definitely needed that one, bro!

It’s easy to look at the circumstances and start feeling the give up bug biting, but you’re absolutely right, this is no easy or short journey. Each of us have to wake up everyday and ask ourselves how badly do we want it. And I WANT THIS!! BAD!!!

The dip is a beast… but I’m looking at the dip today with a brand new pair of eyes, I’m telling the dip…”Watch out! I’m coming for ya!” :D

Craig, you have no idea what you’ve done for me today, but I will say thank you for doing it. I really appreciate it bud! Cheers!
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Craig McBreen May 4, 2012 at 11:57 pm

Hi Deeone,

Thank you! “swift-kick-in-the-get-yo-ass-back-to-work!” –Ha ha. Love it! Love it!

“The give up bug.” Man, I like that one too. How do you come up with this stuff?

The dip is an unrelenting monster, isn’t it? But I feel the same way you do about it. “Watch out, sucker, I’m pushing through!” :)

Glad you got something out of this. I get energy from great comments … like yours!


Jason "J-Ryze" Fonceca May 5, 2012 at 12:15 am

Deeone, lol, I agree with Craig, lovin’ your energy — as for wanting it bad, you may enjoy (or have already seen) the video I posted here:
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Craig McBreen May 5, 2012 at 12:21 am

The guy has tons of positive energy … and so do you! As I said, I truly get amped from the comments!


Lori Gosselin May 4, 2012 at 8:07 pm

Hey Craig,
This is a powerful post! Discouragement is part of the journey. I’m sure I get discouraged at least once a week but what gets me back on track is remembering WHY I’m doing what I’m doing and reminding myself to do it my way and never mind the rest. Works every time I remember to do it!
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Craig McBreen May 5, 2012 at 12:00 am

Hi Lori,

Thanks and great to see you here!

We all sure have those moments. The big “Dip” is a monster, but those little moments pop up and try to bring us down all the time too. Sounds like you have a great system to beat it! So good!!

Thanks for popping in!


Jason "J-Ryze" Fonceca May 4, 2012 at 11:48 pm

A few things are guaranteed in life.

Birth, death, change, and bullsh-t.

Everyone experiences all these things, and trying to avoid them is both funny and painful.

Appreciate every bit of ‘em.


Craig McBreen May 5, 2012 at 12:02 am

Hi Jason,

I don’t know if I should call you Jason or “J-Ryze” ? I know you have a few other nicknames, so let me know what you prefer.

You are so right. There is no avoiding life, and sometimes pushing through is the hardest part.

Likeing the new look at your place too, Sir.

Thanks for stopping by and hope you have a great weekend in T-town.


Jason "J-Ryze" Fonceca May 5, 2012 at 12:14 am

So far I prefer the ambiguity, but if you want something solid I think it’d be really cool if J-Ryze solidified and spread through the blog scene :D

Glad you’re feelin’ the new look, I poured a lot of love into it and I feel it’s ryzing vibe

What you said about pushing through relates to something I just posted — one of my main tools to “stay positive”, you and your peeps’ll love it :D


Craig McBreen May 5, 2012 at 12:19 am

J-Ryze “sticks!”

Cool … love the title and will check it out.


Jeevanjacobjohn May 11, 2012 at 12:57 am

Anyone can give up.

Some people can succeed.

Only a few can succeed the way they want it to be.

I believe that failure is alright (it is awesome!). Failure is what that teaches us. Failures are like those baby steps we make before walking around. I have done several mistakes with blogging, and those mistakes are the ones that encouraged me to start a new blog and do more.

The best way to avoid the negative effects of failures, like you mentioned, is changing our perspective. Think about it from a positive way. We failed, and we found another way not to succeed.

We should also stop worrying about things. Caring is important, but worrying never is. Forget worrying. Be happy. Take breaks (refreshed mind and more ideas to work with). Do it. Accept failures. Do it all over again.

Awesome post, Craig. I like your writing style. Hope to read and learn more from you :)

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Craig McBreen May 11, 2012 at 11:16 pm

Hi Jeevan,

“Only a few can succeed the way they want it to be.”
–I believe this is true.

I agree with you on failure too. Don’t let it get you down. Re-tool, come up with a new plan and hit it again! I like your thinking, Jeevan!

You do have the power to change your perspective each and every day.

And yes, taking breaks is an absolute necessity for creativity, for that’s when we have those Ah-ha! moments.

Thank you for the kind words! Loving your comments so far!


Rudee January 30, 2013 at 3:22 am

God I love the dog. Your statement you alone have the power to change your outlook from negative to positive. Today I am a breast cancer survivor and I can’t afford to waste time being in a funk. Live is wonderful and you need to grab every opportunity. Our minds are very powerful. I remember a slogan when I lived in California that Smokey the Bear would advertise on TV. “Only You Can Prevent Forest Fires”. It applies to what we do in life, it is in our control. Good article


Craig McBreen February 3, 2013 at 4:08 am

Hi Rudee,

That is one cool dog, huh? ;)

“Live is wonderful and you need to grab every opportunity”
– Yes indeed. So true and of course you realize attitude is everything.

Thanks for stopping by.


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