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Early Exit #10: The Stall
What does barbecue brisket and your career have in common?
You’re reading Early Exit Club — a newsletter about leaving the 9-5 workforce to build a $20k/month solo business by Nick Lafferty.
Good barbecue is something of a religious experience.
Here in Austin there’s no shortage of places to worship.
They’re often found in food trucks in unassuming parking lots, on the edges of town, or 45 minutes down the road in a town officially named the Barbecue Capitol of Texas.
The best thing to order is often the brisket and really good brisket is smoked for hours.
We’re talking like ten, twelve, or fourteen hours spent smoking this gigantic cut of meat.
People stay up all night tending these precious cuts and the end result is a product so divine it’s labeled on the menu as moist and it’s every bit as tender as it sounds.
But about 2/3 of the way through the process, the brisket starts to stall.
I’m not making this phrase up. This is the common term for when a brisket reaches a temperature between 150°F and 170°F where the temperature stops rising.
This can last anywhere from 2-6 hours.
Why does a brisket stall and how do you push through?
I’ve encountered my version of The Stall many times in my life.
I stalled as I approached my five year anniversary at my first company and decided it was time leave an industry I wasn’t passionate about to get a job in software.
Then I stalled in my career when I repeatedly failed to get promoted to a Director level role despite doing everything in my power to get there.
And even now my newsletter growth is stalling (partially because LinkedIn changed their algorithm and despite having 6,500 followers my average post gets like 1,000 views now. Seriously wtf?).
But your stall is probably different.
Maybe you were laid off and having a hell of a time finding your next job (you’re not alone!)
Maybe you’re struggling to balance the desire to continue doing good work with wanting to start a family.
Or maybe you’re freelancing right now with only one client and you’re struggling to get traction with anyone else as you watch your bank account slowly dwindle every month.
My point is this: we all hit the stall.
What matters is how you push through.
Time and time again you will come across obstacles in your life.
And the determining factor in pushing through those obstacles is how you react to them.
Building the ability to see your situation differently — to cut through the fear, worries, and anxieties — you can stop seeing these things as problems and instead as opportunities.
Facing obstacles is the one thing we all have in common with each other.
Any successful person has at one point faced an obstacle and turned it into fuel for their ambition.
Every obstacle is an advantage you can capitalize on.
I’m taking this opportunity to capitalize on my slowing newsletter growth to write about it and fantasize about eating brisket at the same time.
This section is largely inspired from Ryan Holiday’s book The Obstacle is The Way.
In it he teaches techniques to transform situations from This Isn’t So Bad into I Can Make This Good.
It’s absolutely worth reading if you’re finding yourself in the beginning, middle, or even the end of a stall.
If you’re struggling to find your next job, try emailing a former boss and see if they know anyone who needs your help (who else knows your experience better than a former boss?).
If you’re trying to balance starting a family with still doing good work, think about down-shifting your career to start consulting to regain ownership of your time while still doing what you’re really good at.
And if your newsletter growth is slowing down keep fucking going anyway.
Solopreneur of the Week: Danielle Silvestro
Danielle runs The People Vault where she helps startup founders build and retain effective teams.
She’s on a mission to help companies build A-teams (not A-players).
If you’re a startup founder that needs help growing your teams, reach out to her!
Want to be featured? Submit yourself to my Solopreneur Directory and I’ll be in touch!
Thank you for being here
Honestly this wasn’t the newsletter I intended to send this week.
This was a spur of the moment idea I had on Monday night while reading a completely unrelated book to anything I wrote about here.
But how often do you get to write about brisket in a newsletter focused about quitting your job?
I mean, maybe if you quit your job to literally start a food truck.
Anyway, thank you for being here. It truly means a lot to me.
Did you like this? Did it suck? Reply and let me know.
Give me your honest feedback.
See you all next week,
p.s. Did someone send this to you? First, tell them thanks. Second, maybe you should subscribe too?
p.p.s We’re officially in the double digits! I’ve sent 10 of these bad boys and I’m only getting started.