Application of Seth Godin’s “The Dip” within a Hypnosis Practice

Hypnotist Steve Roh

by Steve Roh

Hello, my name is Steve Roh, and I’m happy to offer my latest article for the Banyan Hypnosis E-Zine. This series is intended to help hypnosis professionals by briefly summarizing helpful books from sources outside of the field, and describing how the information can be applied within a hypnosis practice.

In this issue, Seth Godin’s “The Dip” is the subject. This book is subtitled “A Little Book That Teaches You When To Quit (And When To Stick)”. Seth Godin is a very influential marketing guru. He is also one of the very few people who I think truly deserves that moniker “guru”.

This book is about learning how to quit successfully. “Never quit” is bad advice and meaningless motivational dribble. Learning to quit fast, quit often and quit without guilt, can be used as an advantage.

The key is “strategic quitting”. The problem is, most people quit at the wrong time. They quit when times get tough (“the Dip”), instead of recognizing that it is part of what makes the goal worthwhile and valuable. Or, they never quit at all, even when they are on a dead-end path. Strategic quitting incorporates and plans ahead for the inevitable hard times, plateaus and dead-ends that arise during any venture.

Fundamental to applying the principles of the Dip is the idea that you need to first have a goal which is worth the struggle of getting through the Dip. How do you identify an objective that is worth pursuing?

  1. Accept that every worthwhile goal has a Dip. Your goal should be to be “the best [whatever] in the world”. The key is to define “the world” from the point of the view of the customer.

  2. Example: “the best Swahili-speaking hypnotist in town.” In the U.S. at least, the Swahili-speaking population is probably too small to matter from a marketing perspective. No Dip there. Set a realistic, but difficult goal like “Best Spanish-speaking hypnotist in the state”, that is achievable and has potential for a Dip.

  3. If you do not set a goal like this, you will be average and according to Godin, “average is for losers” – time, energy and life are too valuable to squander on just being average. Why bother?

I think this can be related to how many hypnotists fail to communicate the value they bring to the table, often because they do not know it themselves! Hypnotists often seem to think that simply claiming that they specialize in “Smoking, Weight Loss and Stress Management” is enough of a compelling value statement, without providing any convincing evidence that they are the best at anything or the best for anyone.

After all, if a hypnotist has not even got their unique value proposition clear in their own mind, then there is little chance that the market will see that, since it doesn’t exist!


The Dip is the barrier that exists in any system, that is there to separate the wheat from the chaff, the committed from the dilettantes. The Dip can be your greatest ally, and makes the journey worthwhile. Because extraordinary benefits accrue to the tiny minority that gets thru the Dip (rewards are not linear).

Benefits also accrue to the people who quit dead-ends and refocus on something else, because they stop paying the opportunity cost and cut their losses.

A cul-de-sac, a noncyclical dead-end, is worst place to stay (and that is where majority of population gets stuck). Quit these ASAP, no matter how safe or comfortable you are. “Working harder” or “plugging away” when you’re in a cul-de-sac is waste of life and energy.

In order to objectively determine whether or not you are in a Dip or a cul-de-sac, define what will make you quit, before you start. The decision to quit or not should be made when things are going well (not during low point or panic).

If, before starting, you determine that you can’t make it thru the Dip, or that the rewards are not compelling enough for you, then DON’T START. And if you realize that you’re in a dead-end, forget all that “winners never quit” nonsense and QUIT.

(Can you imagine if companies such as McDonald’s or Coca-Cola followed that childish “never quit” motto? They would still be spending resources on trying to sell the “Arch Deluxe” or “New Coke” instead of giving people what they want.)

As long as you plan ahead for the Dip, you can get thru the hard times easier because you know that the hard times are what will cause most of the uncommitted competitors to quit. That is good for the market because it weeds out those who were not really serious about what they were doing.

When I first started out in this field, I watched a Don Mottin video where he explained that this business has many ups and downs. Often times a height of success can be reached, leaving you feeling cocky and invincible, and then suddenly the next month the phones stop ringing and emails stop arriving, or you have a string of less-than-spectacular session results. Don Mottin urged practitioners to maintain an “even keel”.

It is easier to keep that unemotional, even-keel attitude if you study the parts of the system that encourage quitting, so you can beat them while keeping your focus on your ultimate goal. The point at which most people quit, is the point that adds value/scarcity to your objective.

Seth Godin’s “The Dip” is an excellent book for people who are interested in more than just a rah-rah motivational exercise. It is not really suited for people who are content to just “get along” and “get by” in life, but I assume that people reading this ezine are not usually in that category.

Well, I hope these perspectives are of use to you in your practice. Some of the opinions may be harsh, but I’m sure you can handle it. Scripts