The other morning I was haphazardly listening to a motivational vlog while preparing for my day when a discussion of “the plateau” came up in reference to the process of pursuing one’s goals. This caught my attention and led me to listen more intently. As the discussion progressed, I found myself identifying with this concept of the plateau more and more. I think I was able to identify with this discussion so well as I have not only experienced it myself in pursuit of my own goals, but because I observe it so often in those around me that are also pushing forward one day at a time in order to achieve their own goals.
When we subscribe ourselves to a challenging goal, we embark on a journey that is laden with peaks, valleys and plateaus. The valleys, or lows, come more often than we would like and often manifest themselves after losses, injuries, illnesses, or realizations that the journey we are on may have to be adjusted in order to realize success. The peaks, which are very rare, are those moments in which our discipline, investment, and hard work pay off, culminating in achievement and success. The peaks are the moments that we all strive for and are what seemingly make the journey worth it. The plateau, on the other hand, is the place where much of our time is spent. This is the place that we have to learn to be comfortable with if we are ever going to achieve our goals.
The plateau is a place of struggle and conflict, a place of daily grinding for progress. Some days feel as if we aren’t moving any closer to our goals, whereas others may feel as if we are inching forward ever so slowly. The plateau is often not an enjoyable place to be as sometimes it can feel as if all of our discipline, consistency, and commitment isn’t paying off. The plateau is the place where dreams are either conquered or left to be conquered by someone else more willing to push through the daily struggles that come with the process. Don’t let the roller coaster ride of the plateau fool you, however, as it is a completely necessary aspect of the journey that every high achieving person has encountered on their road to success.
I have found that success often comes to those that can tolerate the plateaus of their journey just a little bit longer than most everyone else. Success comes after days, weeks, months, and sometimes years of mastering our craft. No matter what your “craft” is, be it a college degree, an athletic pursuit, building a successful business, or excelling in your professional life, success comes after we have invested in ourselves daily without an immediate return on that investment. Sometimes, however, it’s hard to keep investing when we have no guarantee of when progress will occur or when success will be realized.
As cliché as the phrase, “It’s about the journey as opposed to the destination” is, it couldn’t be more true for anyone that is pursuing their dreams. Although the final destination is going to be incredible, the journey that you will embark on to get there will be more than you could have ever planned for. Embrace the plateaus and valleys you encounter as much as you aspire to be on the highest peaks of your journey.