Welcome friends to Episode #105 of the Own Your Best Life Podcast. What if you could continually grow in the amount of satisfaction and happiness that you felt? When we have goals, we get excited and start doing the work to get there. At some point, however, we hit those goals and then we wonder, “is this it?” In today’s podcast, I want to offer you a new way to think about success, plateaus and what happens after you hit a goal, milestone or finally make that big decision – and what to do to surpass your plateaus.
The other day I was doing some math on my coaching business, doing math in my sales training and leadership development work, math in my personal finances and saw some patterns. I noticed that things I had once thought were big milestones, goals and achievements were no longer very exciting. They were just facts and numbers. There was no emotion tied to them.
Don’t get me wrong, at one point there was an emotion tied to them when they seemed impossible, but now that it was done – there wasn’t. It was like staring at a calculator. Here are the numbers. Make it mean what you will. Is this a lot or a little? Yes and no. It depends.
The most interesting thing is that at that point, I got really excited. I started noticing once again that I can literally make things mean something. I can increase or decrease what I feel in my life. I get to create goals without attachment and hit them without attachment. What that means is that anything is possible if I can feel that plateau after the achievement. Anything is possible if I can feel all the emotions.
But before we get to the next climb, let’s talk about what happens when we plateau.
The climb and the stretch of making progress, improving our levels of well-being, satisfaction and our experience of life is life-giving. We literally feel energized by days where we are exhausted but victorious. We don’t mind the work when we know there is meaning. Once we plateau, however, the meaning starts to drop off.
It’s not that it’s not an accomplishment or a big milestone. It’s not that it isn’t important to you to have done this thing in your life. It’s not even that you need people to notice. It’s that you’ve gotten used to it. There is no longer the contrast between what you want and what you have with the gap decreasing for you to see that you’re making progress. In fact, it begins to look like lack of progress. You start to go back to the way you were before the climb. Automatic behaviors may start to creep in and if you haven’t firmly established your mindset in this new space and how you want to act – you will start to regress.
Before you regress or surpass your plateau
Before this happens, however – what I want to offer is a new way to think about plateaus. What if the plateau is now new ground that you get to stand upon? What if you get to walk on your plateau, noticing that it’s both a big deal and not a big deal at the same time. What if you are at a resting point for you to strategize about where you want to go next and how you can experience life without the stress and worry of having to make things happen a certain way – and with that mindset, keep hitting your goals.
If you want to surpass plateaus, you have to be willing to stand in them. You have to study the path you took.
You have to understand that the habits that got you through the tough moments and the failures are those worth sustaining.
This is where most people falter. They give up on the things that helped them get to this place. The good habits, the help, the counsel, the support and the discipline. They think, “I’ve got this!” It’s so easy now. The ease, however, came with diligence, practice and patience.
The ease is what it looks like to the outside world. The ease is not what it looks like on the climb up.
Look at all the things that helped you become successful in this area. Whether it was your decisions to leave a job or a relationship. Whether it was your decisions to take a job or start a relationship. Perhaps it was coaching and the accountability to yourself for what you wanted to achieve. As soon as we think we’re too good for the fundamentals is when we falter.
I often do the same practices over and over again for years. I don’t keep changing them constantly. I keep doing them. I remember that it was because I exercised every day that I feel good today. I remember that it was because I let myself fail and be terrible at things that I eventually got better at them. I remember that as much as we see the plateau, the beautiful view from this place we now stand upon, that there was a lot of trekking and one-foot-in-front-of-the-other action. A lot of deep breaths, indecision and corralling of the mind.
When I want to surpass my plateaus, I go back to the fundamentals. I don’t let myself off the hook for simple things like enjoying my life so I can sustain the work, moving and fueling my body, managing my mind and connecting with myself, others and my spirituality.
I look at small actions that I’m not taking and work on those, not because they aren’t big but it’s because small actions look the least sexy. Yet, small actions like keeping your word, being on time and forgiving yourself or others add up to monumental changes later in life. If you want to surpass your plateau, find your next big goal and start to take the steps to orient yourself towards that goal in small and big ways every single day.
I’m setting some big goals for this year again as I’ve already seen what’s been accomplished. I challenge you to do the same. What is your next plateau? What habits, behaviors or decisions will you look back on and say to yourself, “that was it!”? You might not know right now but that’s not the point. The point is to figure it out.
If you want to join in on this process of defining your new goals and your definition of success over the next 5 years, I’m doing it with my clients and we start in a couple weeks. You’ll learn what that most genuine, authentic and powerful version of you looks like 5 years from now.
You can join at www.mayempson.com/yournext5years.
Is it time to reinvent your life? Do you want to figure out what’s next?
No matter what success means to you, coaching will help you get there faster and more sustainably. We work towards results in every area of your life. Time management – spending more time on what’s most important. Creating a mix of work and personal life that is sustainable. Career and Business – deciding what you want next and how to achieve it – whether it is more flexibility, purpose or deciding to start your own business. Energy management – improving your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health so you build confidence in designing your own life. If you’ve got some changes you want support in thinking through, book your free consultation at www.mayempson.com/contact today.