When Should You Shift?

July 31, 2012 2 Comments by Anthony

So, just when should you shift? There are times in life we need to take things up a notch, and other times when we need to drop into neutral and coast for a bit. Shifting is all a part of life.

We shift jobs, we shift relationships, we shift companies, we shift weight, we shift…a lot.

How do you know when you should shift?
This is a great question and one I hear from all facets of people within my sphere of influence. While I don’t have the cut and dry answer, I can offer some insight that may be of value to you, as much of it has been valuable to me over the years.

The Dip
The internationally famous marketing guru Seth Godin wrote a book a few years ago called The Dip. The Dip is about the art of understanding when it’s time to stop what you are doing, or press through it to the other side.

Seth raises two main questions in this book:

1. Are you working hard because you are striving for greatness and it takes time to make something that is truly remarkable?


2. Are you working hard and not feeling any progress because you are pressing deeper into a dead end?

In the early stages it can be incredibly difficult to know when you are onto something great or wasting your time. Seth warns us to either fully commit or quit. There really isn’t any honor in working tirelessly on a venture that is doomed to fail. Get out before you’ve invested too much and move onto something worth sinking your teeth in!

The fine line between working hard and letting go
In blogging circles Michael Hyatt is a guru, most in the mainstream have never heard of him however. I’ve been reading his blog for the past year and a half and can tell you it’s worth a skim at the very least. He wrote a popular blog post a while back called The Fine Line Between Working Hard and Letting Go.

Michael recalls a story of building a model airplane and trying to “jam” two pieces together that didn’t seem to fit. After taking his dad’s advice and stepping away from the project, he tried a few hours later and the pieces just “snapped” into place. I know I’m guilty of trying to force things in life from time to time, and have had to learn the lesson of “stepping away” again and again.

Pivoting and picnicking
Thompson Aderinkomi is a local entrepreneur whom I’ve recently made the acquaintance of. Thompson is seeking out to change the world of healthcare as we know it through his company Retrace Health. He is a very smart guy and a great strategic thinker, but even the bets laid plans need to shift or pivot. Plan as we may, the best information available to us is the information closest to the decision we’re trying to make. It took me many moons to realize this as I’m an avid planner myself.

Another way to think about planning and shifting is through the example of a summer picnic. Would you plan the date of a picnic in the middle of winter? You could, but how would you know what the weather would be like 6 months down the road? However, a few days out you will have a much better “forecast” of the weather that day.

The same is true with many parts of life, it is good to plan, but life changes and is a constant balancing act of “planning” and being ready to pivot and shift as information and circumstances change.

New sunglasses
After taking some unannounced time off from this blog, I am back on the horse. I’ve enjoyed writing, reading your comments, and sharing a slice of life with all of you over the past several months. However, when I set out to write each week the idea was to make the stories organic; not forced. To be honest, I feel like the last few posts were a fight to the finish line and I knew I had better in me!

In an odd twist of fate, I actually lost the infamous “sunglasses” this site is named after. I’m not really sweating it though, this site was never about sunglasses. It is about shifting your perspective and seeing things in a new way – shifting gears to adapt as the road winds.

Others can advise you when to shift gears, but the only one who can press the clutch an move up or down is you.

To be true to myself and my readers, I’m pressing the clutch and making a shift. Sometimes it will be up, and sometimes it will be down. This means that I will not be posting each Wednesday, but then again I might! I will post when the time is right to post, it might be once a week, it might be once a month, it might be twice a week! I’m not really sure. What I am sure of is that the posts will be organic and of value, and I welcome you to join in the discussion.

There you have it, I just shifted. And it feels right.

Is it time to shift? Up or down? How do you know when it’s time to shift?

Cover photo by smemon


  1. Ron Liter
    10 years ago

    Hey Anthony I.ve decided to shift talking with Soma tomorrow about shifting gears and taking some marketing and sales classes for the fall quarter I still want to pursue graphic arts So I might do both ? Look forward to your next post when ever that might be.

    • Anthony
      10 years ago

      Hey Ron, that’s great to hear, I think you will enjoy those classes. I’ve got a few new posts bubbling, we’ll see when they land! Hope you are enjoying the summer, don’t to forget to wear your sunglasses 😉

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