Hitting a plateau is a natural occurrence for every person.
Hitting a plateau is not “peaking out”. Peaking out means you have hit a high spot that you are not likely to hit again. Hitting a plateau is not failure. A failure means you have hit the end of any motion, forward or backward. Failure means you are finished in this area, it’s over.
Hitting a plateau is more like hitting the end of forward progression. You had a growth spurt and now it seems no matter what you try, you can’t seem to get it going again. You are just kind of, well, stuck.
Hitting a plateau means that the challenge you initiated has now turned the tables and is challenging you, and now there is a good old fashioned stand-off. You are not moving forward and it doesn’t seem to be yielding ground to you any longer. Unfortunately, sometimes this leads to giving up, frustration or reverting back to bad or old habits.
The opposite way to responding to hitting a plateau is to feel challenged and respond accordingly. You can decide you have been prodded into re-evaluating your perspective and your goals.
What you can do:
Check your perspective. Hitting a plateau should be a temporary phase, not a permanent state.
Don’t stick your head in the sand. Check on your process and the key variables which can create challenges and/or opportunities for you to make progress.
See things for what they are. A delay in progress is not the end. Run toward your current challenge, not away from it.
Go back to your vision. Check your direction. Have you gotten side-tracked or mis-directed in some way rather than they way you initially started?
Correctly identify the blockage. Have you stopped being promoted? Has your competition become better? Have you simply stopped winning? Have you stopped learning?
Correctly examine your recent behavior. Have you continued with the same focus? Have you continued with the same resolve? Or did you take your eye off the ball? Did you start coasting?
Remember, as far as employment in an organization, if 100 people are hired, only 10 will reach middle management, and 1 will reach executive level. It gets tougher the higher your go and requires more attention to plateauing.
If your plateau is occurring in something other than employment, the same points I outlined apply to many different situations. Diets, sales, businesses, sports, etc. Closely examine why you may have hit a plateau, but don’t jump off the cliff. Stay focused, get renewed and go forward.
For additional reading on this, see my post on 3 Possible Reasons Why You Are Stuck.