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  • Writer's pictureThe Yacht Crew Coach

The Importance of Being #1

The old saying is wrong—winners do quit, and quitters do win.

I am reading Seth Godin's book The Dip and found it to be a fascinating look at when you should quit a pursuit and when you should steam ahead. Yachting has two significant dips that separate the mice from men (or the boys from the bosuns).

What is The Dip?

In most industries, there is a barrier to entry that stops people from pursuing a career, a task, a goal. The reason there are so few doctors, is because it is costly to go to Med School and difficult not only to get in but also to successfully graduate.

"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," says Seth. In other words, The Dip is the tough bit after you start a new project or career. When you begin something new, it is fun and exciting. There is a steep learning curve, and you get a lot of enjoyment out of extending your brain, honing your skills and challenging yourself.

As the law of diminishing returns kicks in you receive less and less enjoyment from this pursuit after a while, and then it starts not returning the rewards that you had hoped for (whether they be financial or otherwise). Winners know when to bail out and quit or push through The Dip.

The First Dip

When new crew embark on their yachting career they have a bunch of fun(ish) courses to do, they meet a lot of new people, and for some, they travel abroad for the first time in their lives. It is exciting, and the thought of making all that money (tax-free for some) makes them feel giddy (I know, I have been there).

After settling into the crew house, applying for some jobs online and facing the prospect of having to haul their ass out of bed exceptionally early to dockwalk (some of my 2019 clients were clocking over 15 km a day of walking), the reality starts to sink in that it is actually challenging to land your first yacht job. You might get some daywork straight away and feel like you are winning, but then the work dries up, your feet start aching from constantly being on them and walking so far each day, and your funds start dwindling.

Many people don't ever manage to crack the yachting industry and end up returning home with a depleted bank account (and maybe some fond memories). The ones that do land a job make it over the first Dip. I know a lot of veteran crew complain about how regimented yachting has become and with all the new training protocols it means that yachting is more of a career choice than a summer temp job, which I feel is a GOOD thing. Can you imagine how many more people would be flocking to the South of France if this was not the case?