I work with a lot of plateaued high achievers. You may be one as well. Let’s check…
For most, there isn’t a single event that plateau’s your life/career. Instead, it is a slow, gradual creep. In fact, if you experience something harsh (e.g., get fired, divorced, serious illness,etc.) the opposite tends to happen. You actually become more deliberate and inspired to change. The jolt creates action.
The danger is when major change is avoided. That’s when the slow, subtle transition tends to occur. At first it feels comfortable, but it can lull you into a default existence.
Think of the parable of the frog. If you drop a frog into very hot water – they immediately jump to safety. Conversely, if you put a frog in a pot of cold water they sit contentedly. Even when you slowly increase the heat – they don’t react. The change is so subtle they don’t recognize the danger. Allegedly, they sit in the slowly increasing heat to the point of no return – a dangerous (and in the frog’s case) life ending moment.
Don’t be that frog. Don’t allow your seemingly “comfortable” existence to lull you onto a plateau. Remember, there isn’t always the jolt of hot water to snap you out of your default day. Instead, the years slip by and the increasing “warmth” slows you down until it feels too late to jump to something bigger and better.
Are you the frog? Take the Test…
Review the following set of questions and score yourself. Check to see if your answers reflect a default life (the frog) or a deliberate journey.
- Can you identify 3 times this month when you did something clearly out of your comfort zone?
- Have you made a new friend in the last 6 months?
- Do you know your next desired career move (and can you tell me what you’re doing to achieve it)?
- For a bonus point – do you know the next two moves?
- Can you confidently identify new skills/abilities acquired over the last 6 months?
- Do you have at least 3 things you are really excited about over the next 6 months?
- Are you engaging in more “numbing” activities than before (e.g., television watching, alcohol drinking, avoidance, etc)?
- Do you find yourself looking with envy/desire at others? Do their lives look more enticing than your own?
- Have you made a significant mistake lately? Do you push the envelop and occasionally fall short?
- Does the thought of 5 more years in your current job fill you with dread?
- Has the spark left your intimate relationship? Do you try to get it back or let it fade further?
- Do you talk/think more about the “good ol’ days” or the future?
- Are you experiencing the emotion “Joy” on a weekly basis?
So how’d you do? Are you the frog? Is the water getting hotter and you hadn’t noticed?
The 1st step is awareness. If you don’t like your answers – do something about it.
You don’t need to throw everything away and start over. That’s not the point. However, if the plateau bothers you – look for ways to re-engage. Pick the question above that bothers you the most and get deliberate.
If the frog can figure it out – so can you!